He also wrote lesbian-themed fiction under the pseudonym Laurajean Ermayne.
For example, Greek-American opera singer Maria Callas—who reached her peak in the 1950s—became a gay icon because the uniquely compelling qualities of her stage performances were allied to a tempestuous private life, a sequence of unhappy love affairs, and a lonely premature death in Paris after her voice had deserted her.
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The definition of what it means to be a "gay icon" has come under criticism in recent years for a lack of substance.
Paul Flynn of The Guardian wrote, "The concept of gay icon is a cheap ticket...[and] the idea of gay iconography itself is currently replaceable with the idea of popularity and the ability to carry a strong, identifiable, signature look." Author Michael Thomas Ford depicts a similar attitude in his work of fiction Last Summer.