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.
Patricia Ewert (left) and Vernita Gray on NBC Chicago.
Illinois' marriage equality law, which was signed by Governor Quinn on November 20, 2013, will not go into effect until June 2014. However, on November 25, 2013, U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin ordered Cook County, Illinois to issue a marriage license to a lesbian couple, Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert, one of whom suffers from a serious illness. The order came in response to an emergency request from Lambda Legal and the ACLU, who are pursuing a marriage equality lawsuit in Illinois. County Clerk David Orr said that he would comply with the order.
As Mary Ann Ahern reported for NBC Chicago, Vernita Gray, who suffers from bone and brain cancer, was delighted with the news. "I was stunned, and I'm still stunned," she said, "It's like Christmas, my birthday, the tooth fairy all rolled into one."
Gary and Ewert, who have been a couple for five years, plan to marry this week.
Although Illinois' law will permit same-sex couples to get marriage licenses as of June 1, 2014, Gray has been diagnosed as terminal and may not survive until June.
"Seven months means a lot to me at this point in my life," she said. "It really does. Seven days means a lot to me right now. Every day is a gift."
Lambda Legal's Camilla Taylor said, "These two women, who have loved and cared for each other in good times and bad, through sickness and through health, will get to know what it means to be married."
Orr confirmed that his office will expedite a marriage license for Gray and Taylor. He said his office routinely provides such a service to heterosexual couples in similar situations.
NBC Chicago reports on the expedited marriage license in the video below.