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.
Lou Reed in 2008. Photo by Marcelo Costa (CC BY 2.0).
Bisexual singer, songwriter, and guitarist Lou Reed, whose music exerted enormous influence on rock musicians, died on October 27, 2013 at his home in Amangassett, New York. The cause of death was complications from liver disease.
As Ben Ratliff observes in the New York Times, "Reed brought dark themes and a mercurial, sometimes aggressive disposition to rock music."
Tina Gianoulis reports in her glbtq.com entry on Reed that, at his parents' insistence, he underwent electroshock treatments for his homosexuality as a teenager. However, he emerged from the mental hospital "with his antisocial impulses (and bisexuality) more or less intact."
In 1965, Reed, as part of Andy Warhol's studio, The Factory, joined fellow musicians John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker to form the Velvet Underground. Warhol managed the band, which sold few albums and disbanded after only five years, but had an impact that lasted for decades.
Reed's songs for the Velvet Underground were about drugs and junkies, hustlers and drag queens, all performed with a bare-bones intensity that made them appealingly taboo.
After the breakup of Velvet Underground, Reed continued to violate taboos as a solo artist. In 1972, Reed issued his first solo album, Transformer, which was produced by David Bowie.
As Gianoulis observes "On Transformer, Reed changed his look from urban tough to glam-rock flash. He also introduced his most famous signature song, "Walk on the Wild Side," the story of a transgendered hooker's odyssey from Los Angeles to the hard streets of New York, told with an understated, ironic affection and a catchy backbeat.
Reed continued his solo career, producing well-reviewed albums every few years and frequently touring Europe and the United States.
Reed had a long very public affair with a transgender woman known only as Rachel, who is thought to have inspired many of his songs, including "Walk on the Wild Side," Reed's only top-40 hit. In addition, he was married three times.
Reed is survived by his wife, composer and singer Laurie Anderson, as well as his mother and sister.
The clip below highlights Reed's "Walk on the Wide Side"