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.
On March 26, 2013, renowned litigator Theodore Olson, in his sixtieth appearance before the Supreme Court of the United States, will argue that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. The Prop 8 case, he remarked recently, has been transformative for him: "it has changed my life a lot."
In a revealing profile in the Los Angeles Times by Timothy Phelps, Olson discusses how he has been changed by the case.
Phelps writes of Olson, "He speaks with passion, and sometimes a tear, about the gay men and women, including Republicans, who reach out to thank him."
"Oh, there's some people who are not very happy about it," he said. But the case "has changed my life a lot because I think this is so enormously important to so many people. When I talk about it I get very emotional. . . . I found out that some people I never guessed were gay. Lawyers came up to me and disclosed that about themselves."
The profile also credits Olson's second wife, Lady Booth Olson, with influencing Olson. She says that what changed her husband was the case itself. He did not change to handle the case, she explained, rather, the case changed him.
"When you look discrimination in the face--these people who got up and testified for hours about what it's like to be denied the right to marry--it's transformative, really," she said. "I think he's starting to open his mind and heart a little bit more than he used to."
As recounted in our glbtq.com entry on Chad Griffin, Olson was recruited to lead a challenge to Proposition 8 by Griffin and his friends Rob and Michele Reiner after its passage in November 2008.
After the devastating loss at the polls, the Reiners and Griffin decided to try a different approach: to go to federal court and argue that marriage is a fundamental right and that denying it to same-sex couples violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.
To her surprise, Michele Reiner learned from a friend that Olson, a Republican who had represented George W. Bush in the Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 Presidential election, Bush v. Gore, was a supporter of same-sex marriage.
Fearful that gay groups might be suspicious of him because he had been the personal attorney of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush's Solicitor General, Olson suggested bringing in Democratic attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore.
To support the lawsuit Griffin and the Reiners launched the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and the journey toward the Supreme Court began.
In the video below, from February 2012, Olson talks with Rachel Maddow about the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.