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.
Michelangelo Signorile. Photograph by David Shankbone (CC BY 3.0).
In a contentious interview with Frank Schubert, the strategist who specializes in anti-gay campaigns, Michelangelo Signorile exposes his distortions and demonizing of glbtq people. Signorile believes that "If you're gay, Frank Schubert is your enemy. And you should know him."
The interview, which aired on October 16, 2012 on Signorile's Sirius XM radio show, is the subject of Signorile's October 19, 2012 blog at Huffington Post, where the interview itself may be accessed.
In his blog, Signorile describes Schubert as "The most potent force pushing anti-gay bigotry in America, . . . a man who stripped his own lesbian sister and her children of their rights in exchange for big money."
As Signorile points out, "Schubert is the strategist who ran the campaign that convinced voters to pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008, using ads that, among other things, framed gay marriage as dangerous to children. He moved on from there to other states and helped in the campaign that got three judges who had ruled in favor of marriage equality removed from the Iowa Supreme Court in retention elections in 2010. He successfully beat back marriage equality in Maine at the ballot box in 2009, and he got the marriage amendment passed in the brutal battle in North Carolina last May, a battle that inspired anti-gay preachers to call for violence and even death for gays."
Schubert is also the subject of a recent profile by Erik Eckholm in the New York Times. Schubert, who has a lesbian sister who is raising two children in a California domestic partnership, told Eckholm, "It's hurtful to know that many people think I dislike gays and lesbians and wish them harm."
The tears he sheds over this pain are no doubt crocodile tears. More likely, he laughs all the way to the bank.
Schubert, a Republican public relations flack whose reputation as a political strategist was formed by campaigns that defeated ballot proposals to increase tobacco taxes and to require restaurants to offer health insurance to employees, presents his opposition to same-sex marriage as a religious calling.
However, he does not freely offer his expertise to the cause. As Eckholm reports, while Schubert has shifted from lucrative corporate work, he continues to do very well indeed, receiving monthly fees of $10,000 to $20,000 from each of the four state campaigns [he is currently working on] and earning a commission on the voluminous ads he places on radio and television."
Although Schubert is boastful of his successes in defeating efforts to achieve marriage equality, Signorile thinks that he may be starting to lose his cool.
"As he became increasingly overwhelmed by the simple facts I was presenting, unable to offer logical answers," Signorile writes, "he went from being friendly and engaging to becoming agitated and angry."
It is clear that, for all his supposed religious motivations, Schubert is simply another scam artist chiefly motivated by greed.
Signorile may well be right when he concludes that "Schubert knows he's losing. He sees where the trend lines are going. My prediction is that he's going to get really desperate, and he's going to get really ugly before he gives up."
In the video below, from 2009, Signorile interviews another opponent of marriage equality, the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown.