As in most other countries, many of Portugal's greatest artists and historical figures were known or were suspected to be gay. Both Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan are believed to have had homosexual relationships during their voyages at sea, while the country's greatest modern poet Fernando Pessoa, wrote some homoerotic verse in English (especially in the long poem "Antinous"), never married and was known to have close friendships with openly gay writers.

Other prominent gay Portuguese include: Mario Cesariny, Portugal's top surrealist painter who spoke about his sexual encounters with Portuguese sailors in the semi-biographical documentary film "Autografia;" António Variações, Portugal's most popular pop singer in the 1980s, and Mario Viegas, a renowned 20th century playwright and actor.

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