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Actors
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Little Richard (Richard Penniman)
A legendary figure in popular music, Little Richard, torn between his sternly religious upbringing and his homosexuality, denounced his rock and roll lifestyle at the height of his career.
Louganis, Greg
Widely regarded as the greatest diver in history, Olympic champion Greg Louganis has acknowledged both his homosexuality and his status as a person living with AIDS.
Ludlam, Charles
An innovator in the "Theater of the Ridiculous," actor and playwright Charles Ludlam drew on many elements of camp and farce, but never allowed them to obscure the seriousness of his themes.
Lunt, Alfred (1892-1977), and Lynn Fontanne (1887-1983)
Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were known as the first family of the American theater, but theirs was a lavender marriage and their presentation of themselves as the ideal married couple may have been their greatest performance.
Lynch, Jane
Out lesbian actress Jane Lynch has forged a successful career on television, in movies, and on the stage, including some memorable turns portraying lesbian characters.
Lynde, Paul
American comedian Paul Lynde, most famous for being the crucial "center square" on the 1970s television game show Hollywood Squares, created a campy bitch comic image but was fiercely closeted.
Mahlsdorf, Charlotte von
Preservationist and museum founder Charlotte von Mahlsdorf was admired by many for her bravery in the face of persecution and for her openness as a transgendered public figure in perilous times.
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.
Mantello, Joe
Having staged a variety of well-received and award-winning productions, actor-turned-director Joe Mantello has emerged as one of the most accomplished artists now working in the American theater.
Mapa, Alec
Alec Mapa has enjoyed success as an actor and on the comedy circuit. He is also an activist for glbtq rights.
Marais, Jean
Jean Marais became one of the most celebrated stars of French movies, theater, and television partly because of the early sponsorship of writer and film director Jean Cocteau.
Martin, Ricky
Singer Ricky Martin, whose good looks and sensuous stage performances fueled an extremely successful career in pop music, avoided answering questions related to his sexuality until 2010, when he came out publicly via a Twitter announcement.
McDowall, Roddy
British-born actor Roddy McDowall made a graceful transition from a juvenile star to a highly versatile character actor on both stage and screen.
McKellen, Sir Ian
Arguably the finest Shakespearean actor of his generation, Ian McKellen was the first British subject to be knighted after publicly revealing his homosexuality, an event that proved more controversial within the gay community than in the mainstream.
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.
Miller, Tim
Performance artist Tim Miller presents shows that are rooted in his own life experiences, but that are also a powerful form of glbtq activism.
Mineo, Sal
Although actor Sal Mineo was twice nominated for an Academy Award, and enjoyed success as a stage director and recording artist, he is remembered chiefly for his performance in Rebel without a Cause.
Mitchell, John Cameron
While he had already achieved recognition as an actor, the multiple talents of performer, writer, and filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell came to wide public notice in 2001 with the release of his prize-winning film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Moorehead, Agnes
Although she was not publicly out as a homosexual, actress Agnes Moorehead became a lesbian icon by virtue of her choice of roles during a long and distinguished career.
Nader, George
A popular leading man of the 1950s and 1960s, actor George Nader did not publicly acknowledge his sexual orientation (and his long relationship with his partner Mark Miller) until after the death of Rock Hudson in 1986.
Nixon, Cynthia
Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon recently acknowledged publicly that she is bisexual and in a loving relationship with a woman.
Norton, Graham
A smash hit on British television, comedian and talk-show host Graham Norton has been out, proud, and outrageous from the beginning of his career.
Novarro, Ramon
The romantic idol of Hollywood silent films in the 1920s, Ramon Novarro has been perceived as a distinctly effeminate performer.
Novello, Ivor
Show business renaissance man extraordinaire, Ivor Novello not only composed the scores of musical comedies, but also acted in films while dominating the London stage as a playwright and romantic leading man for three decades.
O'Donnell, Rosie
Comedian, actress, television talk show host, and openly gay mom, Rosie O'Donnell has achieved remarkable success in her relatively short career.
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Nyad, Diana Nyad, Diana
Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
 
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Indian playwright, screenwriter, dancer, director, and actor Mahesh Dattani is an important figure in South Asian gay culture by virtue of his recurrent depiction of queer characters.
 
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Entertainer Josephine Baker achieved acclaim as the twentieth century's first international black female sex symbol, but kept carefully hidden her many sexual liaisons with women, which continued from adolescence to the end of her life.
 
Cadmus, Paul Cadmus, Paul
American painter Paul Cadmus is best known for the satiric innocence of his frequently censored paintings of burly men in skin-tight clothes, but he also created works that celebrate same-sex domesticity.
 
Caja, Jerome
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.
 
Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
 
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Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
 
Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male
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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