An American gay publication has taken the controversial step of naming a series of Hollywood stars it claims are gay, and urging them to come out of the closet.

Out magazine’s May edition features two models holding masks of actress Jodie Foster and American TV news anchor Anderson Cooper in front of their faces, with the headline “The Glass Closet: Why Stars Won’t Come Out And Play.”

The feature article names David Hyde Pearce, of Frasier fame and Will and Grace star Sean Hayes as famous actors who refuse to come out and publicly state they are gay.

Perhaps the most controversial name is that of Jodie Foster.

The Academy-award winning actress has been in a 14-year relationship with her long-term partner Cydney Bernard but has always refused to answer questions about her personal life.

In the last year some younger Hollywood actors, such as Grey’s Anatomy star TR Knight and Doogie Howser MD star Neil Patrick Harris, have found themselves effectively outed by gossip websites, among them Perez Hilton.

Out magazine also lists the 50 most powerful out gay and lesbian people in Hollywood, among them Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry and this year’s Oscars ceremony host Ellen Degeneres.

Village Voice columnist Michael Musto’s ‘outing’ article comments:

“Gay is inching toward becoming more OK in the entertainment world.

“In an increasingly gay-tolerant environment, these stars can enjoy actual relationships, they don’t have to constantly dredge up opposite-sex dates, and after a day of pretending for the cameras they can go back to almost being themselves.

“Even at their most controlling, straight stars never seem to leave out the fact that they’re straight in interviews. Whenever a subject tells me, ‘I won’t discuss who I’m dating’ or ‘I resent labels,’ I generally know not so much that they’re passionate about privacy but that they’re gay gay, gay.”

The controversial article follows yesterday’s comments by British actor Sir Ian Mc Kellen, who slammed Hollywood producers for encouraging gay actors and actresses to hide their sexuality.

“With all that liberal attitude (in Hollywood), you have a local industry which is saying to local people who live in the area, ‘When you come to work, you are not gay.'” Sir Ian told FemaleFirst.co.uk.

“And I think to myself, ‘Can people whose minds work like that make good films? And if at the heart of Hollywood there is that lie, how many other lies are there?”