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.
Brendan Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens was among those arguing for marriage equality on Face the Nation.
On March 24, 2013, marriage equality was the hot topic on American television news shows. Urvashi Vaid, Dan Savage, Wilson Cruz, David Boies, Evan Wolfson, and Kamala Harris were among the many pundits discussing the broader question of glbtq rights and the more specific questions posed by the Supreme Court hearings on the marriage cases to be argued on March 26 and 27.
Activist Urvashi Vaid, former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and currently associated with Columbia University Law School, and "accidental activist" Dan Savage discussed the glbtq movement on the MSNBC show Up with Chris Hayes, while actor Wilson Cruz, who has recently accepted a leadership role with GLAAD, joined transgender activists Mel Wymore and Janet Mock to discuss transgender issues on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show.
On NBC's Meet the Press, co-counsel in the Proposition 8 case, David Boies expressed optimism that the Supreme Court will invalidate California's ban on same-sex marriage. He asserted that in the lower courts he and his colleague Theodore Olson had established that marriage is a fundamental right, that depriving gay and lesbian couples of marriage harms them and their children, and that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry hurts no one. He said that the right to marry is well established and that the only question is whether the state can prohibit gay men and lesbians from marrying the person they love.
On CBS's Face the Nation, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson, Baltimore Ravens' Brendan Ayanbadejo, and conservative Daily Beast columnist David Frum joined a roundtable that included Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and Alliance Defending Freedom's Austin Nimocks. Ayanbadejo said, "We need to protect families by allowing same-sex couples to get married and also we need to protect religious freedoms because, in this country we allow people to practice religion or not practice religion. So, you need to keep the two separate. That's why we're in a secular democracy and kids just need love. It doesn't matter if it's from two parents that are of the same sex or not and I think kids would be a lot better off if they have the love that they need and that's why we need to protect the family unit and allow same-sex couples to get married."
In the program's most direct confrontation, Wolfson told the egregious Tony Perkins that in this country "Government doesn't issue bar mitzvah licenses. It doesn't issue communion licenses, but it issues marriage licenses because marriage is not only a religious entity in which religions are free to decide for themselves who may marry. It is also a legal and civil status that the government opens through civil marriage licenses. What we're talking about here is who can get the civil marriage license from the government in order to strengthen their family under the law."
He added, "Marriage is not defined by who is denied it. When gay people share in the freedom to marry, it doesn't change your marriage. It doesn't change Tony Perkins' marriage. My marriage is my marriage, and it means I'm able to share in the same aspirations of commitment and love and support and dedication and connectedness, and that my parents are able to dance at our wedding and that our family and friends are able to support and celebrate and hold us accountable for the commitment we've made to one another. That takes nothing away from anyone else. The gay people are not going to use up all the marriage licenses when we enter marriage."
In the day's most passionate defense of marriage equality, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, in an appearance on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, explained clearly and succinctly why she is not defending Proposition 8. She told an incredulous Crowley that she opposes Proposition 8 because she pays attention not to polls but to the Constitution. Bans against same-sex marriage, she declared, are simply unconstitutional.
She said, "It gets back down to a very simple notion of fundamental rights, fundamental concepts of justice, fundamental concepts of liberty." She added pointedly, "We have 50,000 children in California right now who are asking, 'why can't my parents be married too?'"
In the video below, Harris makes the case for equality.