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.
Boxer Manny Pacquiao.
Snarky GetReligion.org blogger Mollie Hemingway has made a career out of spouting right-wing nonsense. While pretending to be concerned with journalistic practices, particularly insofar as the media allegedly misrepresents or misunderstands religion, her real interest has been in furthering right-wing politics. As pointed out by our contributor Anonymous in his "Confessions of a Blog Addict," the bloggers at GetReligion.org consistently portray conservative Christians as beleaguered victims. Hemingway is particularly adept at this meme, and on May 17, 2012, she (with unintentional comedy) attempted to transform a thuggish boxer into a Christian martyr.
As Anonymous reported in 2011, GetReligion.org is funded by Howard Ahmanson, Jr., who is a principal supporter of extreme right-wing causes in the United States and has been associated with the Christian Reconstructionist Movement, which advocates for the government's imposition of Old and New Testament biblical laws and principles, including the prescription of capital punishment for homosexual acts. He was also the single largest individual contributor to California's Proposition 8 campaign, which deprived gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. He donated $1,395,000 to the "Yes on 8" organization.
Ahmanson's fixation with same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and the Episcopal Church are mirrored in GetReligion's obsession with these topics.
Hence, it is not surprising that Hemingway would weigh in on the media flap over the incendiary comments allegedly made by Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, who was interviewed by Granville Ampong in a right-wing online journal, The National Conservative Examiner, about President Obama's endorsement of marriage equality.
Ampong wrote that "Pacquiao's directive for Obama calls societies to fear God and not to promote sin, inclusive of same-sex marriage and cohabitation, notwithstanding what Leviticus 20:13 has been pointing all along: 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.'"
In the article, Pacquiao is said to believe that "the sweeping campaign of Obama favoring the gays and lesbians to legally marry is nothing more than a direct attack on the moral society and against the creative power and will of God." Pacquiao is quoted directly as saying, "God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other. It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old."
When these sentiments were reported by USA Today, there was an immediate and understandable reaction in the gay blogosphere. Many people, gay and straight, were outraged that Pacquiao, through the Leviticus quotation and the reference to "Sodom and Gomorrah of Old," was calling for the death of homosexuals. In other words, it was reported that Pacquiao's position on homosexuality was similar to that once held by GetReligion.org's funder Howard Ahmanson, Jr.
As a result, Pacquiao was banned from a shopping mall in Los Angeles. The owner tweeted "Boxer Manny Pacquiao is not welcome at @TheGroveLA. @TheGroveLA is a gathering place for all Angelenos, not a place for intolerance."
In response, Pacquiao went into damage control mode. He issued a predictable statement saying he did not say what he was quoted as saying and that he does not hate homosexuals and that he has gay friends and relatives and apologizes if anyone was offended. In other words, he did what so many bigots do when their sentiments become public.
(It may well be that this entire incident is a publicity stunt, especially since Pacquiao's opponent in his upcoming match, Floyd Mayweather, has issued a statement saying that he supports President Obama's position on marriage equality.)
Were Hemingway a real journalism watchdog she would have criticized the hack conservative journalist who apparently misrepresented Pacquiao and she would have attempted to investigate whether the boxer actually said what he was quoted as saying. Instead, she blithely accepts without question his story that this supposedly devout Christian has never read Leviticus. (He does not deny that he referred to Sodom and Gomorrah, in any case.)
(Although Hemingway cites the original report of the unhappiness with Pacquiao in Los Angeles in the LA Weekly, she also characteristically fails to mention that the Weekly reports that her paragon of Christian sexual ethics is involved in an adulterous relationship with a Filipino actress.)
For all her indignation on behalf of Pacquiao, whether the boxer actually called for the execution of homosexuals makes no difference to Hemingway.
She is intent to spin the story as a warning against how Christians are going to suffer if same-sex marriage becomes legal across the country. One of the consequences, she claims, will be that Christians will be persecuted for their beliefs.
Indeed, she deliberately misleads in reporting the reaction against Pacquiao, making it appear that he was lambasted because he is against same-sex marriage rather than because he called for the death of homosexuals.
For her, the real cause for alarm in this media flap is not that homosexuals may have been threatened with death, but that Pacquiao was banned from a shopping mall. In being denied entrance to the Grove, Pacquiao allegedly suffered for his faith's sake.
The intolerance that makes Hemingway's blood boil is not the spiritual terrorism visited upon gay men and lesbians who are routinely bashed by cherry-picked Biblical quotations, but the fact that the owner of a shopping mall did not want a bigot on his property.
The blog perfectly illustrates Hemingway's moral bankruptcy.
In the video below, ESPN commentators discuss Pacquiao's retraction.