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.
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.
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.
Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
The greatest dancer of his time, Rudolf Nureyev also gave the world a new and glamorous image of a sexually active gay man.
While nude depictions of women appear in most cultures, on both sides of the equator, and in rich variety, lesbian artists have been particularly resourceful in their use of the female nude.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
In an nine-minute segment of his new ESPN show on September 9, 2013, the inimitable Keith Olbermann slammed Russian homophobia and asserted that the threat to boycott the Sochi Winter Games is having a tangible effect. Olbermann, who began his career as a sports commentator, pointed out that the recent appeal to the International Olympic Committee by the Russian chief of the Sochi games to "stop this campaign and speculation" about the "gay propaganda" law indicates how successful the protests have been.
The background to Olbermann's powerful rant is the news that at a September 8 meeting of the IOC, the head of the Sochi Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko, asked the organization to help stop the campaign against the anti-gay law that has been overshadowing preparations for next year's Winter Games in Russia. Or, as blogger John Aravosis put it here, Chernyshenko pleaded to the IOC, "Please make the mean gays stop."
At the meeting, senior IOC member, marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heibert, said sponsors are "afraid" of the fallout of possible demonstrations in Sochi. "I think this could ruin a lot for all of us," he said.
Russia's law prohibiting promotion of "nontraditional" sexual relations has been denounced by activists and criticized by President Obama. Harvey Fierstein and Stephen Fry, among others, have called for a boycott of the Sochi Games.
As Olbermann points out, corporations such as Coca Cola and McDonald's are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with being linked to Russian homophobia as a result of their sponsorship of the Olympics and are making their concerns known to the bureaucrats who run the Games.
Olbermann, who frequently expressed his support for glbtq rights on his MSNBC news program Countdown with Keith Olbermann, left MSNBC in 2011. After a stint on Current TV, he returned to ESPN and sports journalism in August 2013.