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.
peers by Steve Locke. © Steve Locke, courtesy Platform Gallery and Steve Locke.
The Platform Gallery in Seattle's current exhibition entitled "One more kiss and we're history" includes work by five leading glbtq artists, Cobi Moules, Kelli Connell, Molly Landreth, Steve Locke, and Steven Frost. The range of sexual orientations, gender identities, and artistic styles makes the exhibition an exceptionally interesting survey of contemporary glbtq visual culture.
Cobi Moules' work explores his transition from female to male. His self portraits navigate his complex individual experience through the subtle re-imagining of his physicality and the creation of fantasy worlds. His work reveals both his fears and his excitement about the possibilities his transition created.
Untitled (bath) by Cobi Moules (2009). © Cobi Moules, courtesy Platform Gallery and Cobi Moules.
Artist Kelli Connell creates images that appear to be photographic portraits of female couples, but does so with a twist. In fact, Connell digitally combines separate photographs of the same model to create her "couples."
The Valley by Kelli Connell. © Kelli Connell, courtesy Platform Gallery and Kelli Connell.
Connell says that "For the most part, I'm not actually thinking so much about representing two females in a relationship. I'm more so thinking about the multiple sides of the self in the overall human experience."
The images the show features by figurative artist Steve Locke are deliberately vague and invite viewer interpretation. Each painting features two men relating to each other in an ambiguous way. The paintings can be understood as gay, but Locke sees them as depicting the way males relate to each other in general. As he puts it, "It's just a male thing."
cleanse by Steve Locke. © Steve Locke, courtesy Platform Gallery and Steve Locke.
Documentary photographs by Molly Landreth, who has spent more than five years traveling around the United States photographing gay and transgendered people for her on-going project, Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America and mixed media works by Steven Frost, who is fascinated by the spectacle and the often extreme masculinity exhibited in professional wrestling, complete the show and add to the exhibition's diversity.
For more images and information about the exhibition and the artists, visit Platform Gallery's website.