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.
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.
Liberace was for many the epitome of flamboyant camp, yet he was also a gay man who steadfastly refused to acknowledge publicly his sexual identity.
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.
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Many gay and lesbian artists who have defied the legal and social prohibitions against explicit or sympathetic depictions of homosexuality have seen their art censored or suppressed.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
Yvonne "Miss Dixie" Fasnacht, owner of the legendary New Orleans gay bar "Dixie's Bar of Music," died on November 13, 2011, aged 101. Although she retired in 1964, she remained a beloved figure for her support of her patrons, who were frequently harassed by police during periodic "clean up" campaigns.
In 1939 jazz musician "Miss Dixie" Fasnacht and her sister "Miss Irma" opened Dixie's Bar of Music in the downtown business district of New Orleans at 201 St. Charles Avenue. In 1949, the bar moved to 701 Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. She is thought to be the model for a character in Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar (1948).
Dixie's Bar of Music attracted a wide variety of customers, including both visiting celebrities, such as Helen Hayes, Faye Emerson, and Danny Kaye, and local lesbians and gay men who came to the bar to socialize, to cruise, and to hear Miss Dixie croon such jazz classics as "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans."
A fixture in the bar was a 35-foot mural of 66 celebrities, with their autographs, that Ms. Fasnacht donated to the Louisiana State Museum.
She was known for her loyalty to her patrons, especially during times of oppression. For example, when the first gay Mardi Gras krewe was raided by the police in neighboring Jefferson Parish in 1962, she wasted no time in opening her safe and dispatching an attorney to make bail for as many of the arrested krewe members as possible.
She was predeceased by her beloved sister Irma. Her survivors include nephews and nieces.