Less well-known for being herself than for the many memorable personages she "becomes" during her performances, comedienne Lily Tomlin has long been a supporter of gay and lesbian rights, but only recently came out herself.
Representations of transsexuality in films range from freak-show exploitation, to dramatic and documentary depictions, to the use of transsexuality as a metaphor for exploring the crossing of all kinds of borders.
Too often cinematic drag is reduced to a mere joke, a harmless tease that tacitly reassures us that people can change their clothes but not their sexual identities.
German filmmaker Monika Treut consistently explores challenging and controversial issues surrounding minority sexual and gender identities.
Film director Rose Troche has helped to make lesbians more visible onscreen, not as women tortured by their sexuality, but as individuals for whom female homosexuality is comfortable and, indeed, normal.
The most important producer in the history of queer cinema, Christine Vachon has become a driving force in independent film.
The androgynous persona, at once assertively virile and gracefully sensitive, of Rudolph Valentino, the most popular of silent-screen stars, threatened traditional images of American masculinity in a crucial period of cultural change.
One of the most idiosyncratic talents to have emerged from the independent cinema over the past decade and a half, Gus Van Sant is not only matter-of-fact about his sexual orientation, but in his work he also represents homosexuality matter-of-factly.
Comedy writer and performer Bruce Vilanch has appeared on stage, television, and film and is a tireless proponent of glbtq causes.
The arc of the film career of Luchino Visconti, the most contradictory and varied of the major Italian filmmakers, mirrors his increasing openness about his homosexuality.
In her work, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel has tackled difficult topics, including AIDS, incest, and prostitution.
Although Andy Warhol is generally remembered either for a single film--Sleep (1963)--or for works that he did not actually direct, his contribution to gay cinema is incalculable.
Perhaps best remembered for her award-winning performances as an actress, Ethel Waters was also a renowned Blues singer, known to have sexual relationships with other women.
A director, writer, producer, and photographer, John Waters became well known in the early 1970s through his filmic collaboration with actor--and drag queen--Divine.
American actor Clifton Webb rescued the film sissy from secondary status, then moved on to a variety of comic and dramatic roles.
One of the world's most popular commercial photographers, Bruce Weber has re-envisioned male beauty through his erotic, yet nostalgic take on American adolescence.
Flamboyant figure skater Johnny Weir won three United States Championships and twice represented his country as an Olympian; although there had been widespread speculation that he was gay for several years, he did not come out publicly until 2011.
Award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker Andrea Weiss has produced innovative work that embodies her commitment both to art and to political action.
Out, proud, pretty, and funny, stand-up comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer is also an outspoken supporter of glbtq and feminist causes.
A distinctive American narrative genre that has developed over more than two centuries, the Western is now consumed worldwide; characteristically depicting homosocial relationships, it is also frequently suffused with homoeroticism.
Director James Whale is best remembered for his stylish horror films and for being one of the few openly gay Hollywood figures of the 1930s.
Christopher Wheeldon is one of the most innovative and acclaimed classical ballet choreographers working in the dance world today.
Mel White spent over thirty years serving the Evangelical Christian community; after struggling with his homosexuality for many years, he broke his ties with anti-gay religious leaders and became a glbtq activist.
Actor, raconteur, and writer Kenneth Williams was beloved by the British public as much for his outrageously camp persona as for his comedic skills.
Screenwriter-producer-director Kevin Williamson is best known as the writer of clever, self-referential horror films and as the creator of the groundbreaking television series Dawson's Creek.