In recent years the once-taboo subject of homosexuality has come out of the closet, for both our allies and adversaries. But even before the LGBT rights movement really gained momentum, historical figures spoke frankly about the love that dare not speak its name.

Some may be viewed as progressives, but were a product of their times when it came to sexuality. Others are perceived now as reactionaries but were surprisingly compassionate towards gay people.

Below, we look at seven transformative figures of the 20th century and their (surprising) views on homosexuality.