Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.
Lesbian actresses have played a significant role in Hollywood, but their contributions have rarely been recognized or spoken of openly; the "lavender marriage" is by no means a relic of the past.
Considering the unique set of problems facing lesbians who want to produce erotic art for the enjoyment of other lesbians, it is remarkable that so much lesbian erotica has been produced in so brief a time.
Olympian Brian Orser, known for both his athleticism and artistry, led a resurgence of Canada as a force to be reckoned with in men's figure skating; after being outed in a palimony suit, he has become an advocate for glbtq rights.
Although American gay film icon Brad Davis has been described as "the first heterosexual actor to die of AIDS," he was widely known as bisexual within the entertainment community.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
In nineteenth-century America men who loved other men often suffered from guilt, but artists such as Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins celebrated male camaraderie and affection, while expatriate John Singer Sargent depicted the dandy, and photographs documented male friendships.
An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
In a New York Times op-ed, playwright, actor, and beloved activist Harvey Fierstein asserts that Russian president Vladimir Putin has "declared war on homosexuals" and that so far the world has been mostly silent. He details the deplorable conditions for glbtq people in Russia, including an increase in violence directed toward people suspected of being gay, and forcefully calls for a boycott of the Winter Games scheduled for Sochi in 2014.
Fierstein's article, which should be read in its entirety, comes just as Russian authorities have arrested the first tourists under its vicious new law prohibiting "gay propaganda."
As Gay Star News reports, four Dutch citizens, including Kris van der Veen, chairman of the foundation KGBT Groningen, which campaigns for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, were arrested on July 21 in Murmansk for violating "the law of 'non-traditional sexual relations' propaganda among children,' which was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin last month."
This repugnant law is but one among many homophobic actions recently taken by Putin and his government.
Putin's motive for his campaign against glbtq rights is, Fierstein points out, to scapegoat gay people in order to solidify his base "and draw attention away from [his] failing policies": "Counting on the natural backlash against the success of marriage equality around the world and recruiting support from conservative religious organizations, Mr. Putin has sallied forth into this battle, figuring that the only opposition he will face will come from the left, his favorite boogeyman."
"Mr. Putin's campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people," Fierstein continues, "is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook."
Fierstein concludes his op-ed by calling upon American and world leaders to denounce "Putin's attacks and the violence they foster. The Olympic Committee must demand the retraction of these laws under threat of boycott."
Earlier this month openly gay Olympian Blake Skjellerup, who competed in speed skating for New Zealand in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, also spoke out against the Russian law. As Towleroad reported, Skjellerup denounced the law as a major step backwards for human rights and criticized the failure of Olympic officials to react forcefully against it. He also pledged to wear a rainbow pin if he is selected to compete in 2014.
In the video below, Skjellerup speaks about the Russian law and also about the fact that the Sochi Olympics will, unlike other recent Olympics, not have a Pride House for glbtq athletes.