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.
Ricky Martin at the fifty-third annual Grammy Awards. Image courtesy rickymartin.com.
It was announced on November 4, 2011 that Spanish government ministers have agreed to extend Spanish citizenship to singer Ricky Martin. A government spokesman revealed that Martin has been granted a "letter of naturalization" issued under special circumstances because of his "personal and professional associations with Spain." Speculation is that Martin sought Spanish citizenship so that he and partner Carlos Gonzalez can wed in Spain, which in 2005 became the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
After years of ducking questions about his sexual orientation, Martin came out publicly in 2010 via a Twitter announcement: "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man."
He attributed his decision to come out to the fact that he was working on a memoir and felt the need to be candid because "to keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids were born with," alluding to the twin boys--Matteo and Valentino--he fathered via surrogacy in 2008.
Speculation is that Martin and Gonzalez, who have been together for four years and who are jointly rearing the twins, want to marry in Spain in order to secure the greater legal protections afforded non-traditional families in countries that recognize same-sex marriage.
In the six years since Spain legalized same-sex marriage, more than 20,000 gay and lesbian couples have wed there.
In a VH-1 "Behind the Music" special in August 2011, Martin discussed both his relationship with Gonzalez and his commitment to the struggle for equal rights. He described Gonzalez as follows: "My boyfriend is very sexy, very smart, very compassionate. But most importantly, he loves my children. . . . It is very beautiful. Super cool. I'm very happy."