In the quest for gay/homosexual characters/role models is it a case of any will do and the more the better or should we be wary about celebrating the bad and the gay and as well as the good and the gay. Searching through history and media for any signs of 'ourselves' in the past is useful for creating a sense of place, history, ancestry and identity but are there limits?

Look at the case of the Birdman of Alcatraz, Robert Stroud, for example. For those familiar with the film Burt Lancaster's portrayal didn't even hint at the homo, and the biography it was based upon was falling over itself to make Stroud straight, and yet another source states that Stroud was a self-proclaimed and out homosexual, who was unashamed and unapologetic about his sexual orientation and his preference for men.

So to the crux. Do we reclaim Stroud as one of us, and shout that his straightness in the Birdman film is yet another example of heterosexist censorship and oppression (or straight blindness), or do we bring him into the brotherhood? Add in the fact that Stroud was a convicted double murderer does that change the equation?

Do we say yes to Shakespeare (old style bi by all accounts) and no to Dennis Nilsen (British gay serial killer), or yes to all? Does it matter either way?

At a time of increasing rights and positive role models and identifications, there are still many mainstream ignorant attitudes to overcome regarding same-sex couples, marriage, kids, partner rights, etc. Let's face it the number of places in the world where it is safe and comfortable to hold your lovers hand in the open are still pretty few. So do the bad and famous give fuel to our foes, or not. Is full openness and transparency the way to illustrate the true diversity of homosexuality within society and with an open hand show there's nothing to fear here.

What do you think?