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.
As the debate on marriage equality heats up across the world, a number of new videos have been released. Video activism is by no means new, but in the age of YouTube gay videographers have seized upon the medium as a means of reaching a large audience with a simple and heartfelt message about the joy of commitment, one that is made poignant and urgent through drama, image, and music.
Perhaps the gold standard of marriage equality videos is the Australian release entitled "It's Time." Telling a straightforward but richly detailed story about the universality of emotions, the video, produced by GetUp, an independent, grass-roots community advocacy organization that has adopted marriage equality as a cause, immediately went viral upon its release in November 2011.
A recent video produced for the Italian gay rights groups Arcigay, Agedo, and Bologna Pride also tells a simple story that equates homosexual and heterosexual love.
Eliot London's film "The Wedding Dance" tells the same simple story, but from a slightly different perspective.
The socially conscious band Bye June (Gil Kline, Gunner Sledgeski, and Daniel McGreal) recently collaborated with shadowgrapher Sati Achath to create a video based on their song "Shades of Purple" from their recent cd My Life Is an Independent Film. The band has dedicated the video to the cause of marriage equality, particularly in Maryland, where a bill legalizing same-sex marriage is currently before the state legislature.
Bye June has established a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/swanpride. The page is open to comments from 'swans' who have joined the movement; it contains many touching stories shared by young people.
More lighthearted is this delightful video posted by a Connecticut couple who made the video to be played before their wedding reception in late 2011. Although studiedly avoiding the political, the video beautifully captures the mundanity of gay domestic life, as well as the pleasing personalities of the two men.
Finally, the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to fighting homophobia and racism and to empowering black glbtq people, has released excerpts from a documentary, Black Love: The Quest for Marriage Equality. Although more overtly political than the other videos, the film, by following four gay and lesbian couples on their quest to marry, demonstrates in very personal ways how a commitment to love impacts people's lives regardless of sexual orientation.