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Cabarets and Revues
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Garland, Judy
The fragile persona and emotion-packed voice of actress and singer Judy Garland are powerfully linked to gay culture and identity; she appealed especially to gay men, but also to lesbians.
Gold, Ari
Ari Gold, the award-winning recording artist, is unusual for his openness in an industry that has not exactly welcomed openly gay performers.
Griffin, Merv
Singer, talk show host, and a creator and producer of television shows, Merv Griffin remained in the closet even as his bisexuality was an open secret within show business communities.
Harris, Sam
Multi-talented Sam Harris is best known as a singer and actor; since coming out publicly in 1999, he has lent his voice to the cause of glbtq rights.
Heath, Gordon
African-American actor, director, and folk-singer Gordon Heath appeared in theater, film, television, and radio productions, but is best known as a Parisian cabaret performer.
Hindle, Annie
The first woman to gain significant attention as a male impersonator in the United States, vaudeville performer Annie Hindle created a stir when she married her dresser, Annie Ryan.
Hunter, Alberta
Blues singer, lyricist, and actress Alberta Hunter, one of the top recording artists in the 1920s and 1930s, experienced a dramatic comeback in her old age.
Innaurato, Albert
Playwright Albert Innaurato's plays are as remarkable for the marginalizing ethnic identity, sexual orientation, and body image of their characters as they are for the author's refusal to adopt politically correct attitudes.
Kert, Larry
Gay actor and singer Larry Kert introduced some of the most memorable songs in American musical theater.
Larson, Jonathan
Although apparently heterosexual, musical theater composer Jonathan Larson wrote sympathetically about a diverse community of artists, many of whom are glbtq.
Mann, Erika
Writer, actress, and intellectual refugee from the Third Reich, Erika Mann was one of the twentieth century's most intriguing nonconformists, noted especially for her anti-fascist cabaret satire.
Mapa, Alec
Alec Mapa has enjoyed success as an actor and on the comedy circuit. He is also an activist for glbtq rights.
Meier, Karl
Swiss actor, cabaret performer, and stage director Karl Meier was, under the pseudonym "Rolf," editor of Der Kreis, the leading European homophile publication, from 1943 until its demise in 1967.
Mercer, Mabel
One of the most respected singers of the mid-twentieth century, Mabel Mercer was a most original stylist who in her later years became a beloved icon of gay New York.
Pierce, Charles
Self-proclaimed male actress Charles Pierce took an aggressive stance against homophobia, believing that quick wit, a serious attitude, and consummate acting skill could vanquish oppression.
Ray, Johnnie
Singer Johnnie Ray caused a sensation in the 1950s with energetic concert performances of hit songs, but his career was damaged by arrests for solicitation and gossip about his sexuality.
Russell, Craig
One of the major female impersonators of the 1970s and 1980s, Craig Russell was also an accomplished actor.
Scissor Sisters
The American pop band Scissor Sisters was spawned in New York City's gay club scene; frequently addressing issues of transgressive sexuality, the band has cultivated a large glbtq fan base.
Shaiman, Marc (b. 1959), and Scott Wittman (b. 1955)
Composer Marc Shaiman and lyricist and director Scott Wittman, partners in life and collaborators in theater, film, and television projects, have a long list of credits in the entertainment industry.
Thornton, Willie Mae "Big Mama"
A powerhouse performer noted for her no-nonsense stage presence and a penchant for cross-dressing, blues singer and songwriter Big Mama Thornton not only established a signature style of her own, but also inspired mainstream rockers.
Tyler, Robin
Charismatic performer and activist Robin Tyler has spent much of her life enmeshed in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights, from planning national marches to promoting same-sex marriage.
Vargas, Chavela
Acclaimed Costa Rican-Mexican performer and singer Chavela Vargas became notorious for the eroticism of her performances and for her open expression of lesbian desire.
Variety and Vaudeville
Variety and vaudeville and related theatrical forms featured cross-dressed acts, as well as routines that challenged prevailing gender constructions.
Vilanch, Bruce
Comedy writer and performer Bruce Vilanch has appeared on stage, television, and film and is a tireless proponent of glbtq causes.
Wright, Robert (1914-2005), and George "Chet" Forrest (1915-1999)
Composers and lyricists Robert Wright and George "Chet" Forrest, partners in life and art, specialized in adapting themes from classical music into engaging tunes for movie scores and stage musicals.
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Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
 
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San Francisco visual artist Jerome Caja is known for his small, sensuous combinations of found objects, which he painted with nail polish, makeup, and glitter, as well as for his drag performances.
 
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Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.
 
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