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.
Jane Clementi, Tyler Clementi's mother, addresses the court during Ravi's sentencing hearing.
Middlesex Country, New Jersey Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced on May 22, 2012 that his office will appeal the sentence handed down on May 21 against Dharun Ravi, the ex-Rutgers University student convicted of invading the privacy of his dormmate by taping a sexual encounter with a man.
Ravi was also convicted of numerous counts involving the destruction of evidence, lying to authorities, witness tampering, and bias intimidation. Despite the convictions on 24 charges, Judge Berman handed down a sentence so lenient as to be a miscarriage of justice.
Kaplan said Ravi's crimes warranted "more than a 30-day jail term" and called Superior Judge Glenn Berman's sentence "insufficient under the sentencing laws of this state, the facts that were determined by a jury and long-standing appellate precedent."
CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffry Toobin said that the appeal was unlikely to succeed. He noted that under New Jersey law, the judge had the right to sentence Ravi to anything from zero to ten years in prison. He said the appeal was mainly "a registering of outrage."
On CNN, Toobin observed, "The heart of this case was a paradox: Was this a prank that just got out of control after the fact, or was it a hate crime? He was convicted of a hate crime, but the judge really treated this like a prank."
However, legal experts interviewed by the New Jersey Star-Ledger differed on the likely success of the prosecution's appeal. Some saw potential because the judge sentenced Ravi to jail on the lesser charges of hindering apprehension and tampering with witnesses, while he gave him probation for the three bias counts, which carry a presumption of prison time.
Despite the slim chance of the appeal's success, I applaud the prosecutor's initiative. Outrage needs to be expressed at this miscarriage of justice. The sentence is an affront to the suffering of Clementi's family and to the memory of a sensitive young man who faced ridicule and harassment at the hands of a "colossally insensitive" individual whose acts were not only repugnant but also criminal.
The video below reports on the sentencing of Ravi.