Can you be gay in hip-hop? A new book is about to name names.

There's been much speculation over the years about rumored gay (Puffy, Kanye West, Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Ja Rule) and lesbian (Queen Latifah, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Ciara, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys) people in hip-hop. On May 13, gay MTV music exec Terrance Dean is prepared to out them all in his new book, "Hiding in Hip Hop."

Unlike Hollywood where being gay almost comes with the territory, it seems the rap industry is still fearful that being openly gay could jeopardize an artist's career for good. Think about the difference between rumors of Tom Cruise being gay versus, say, 50 Cent. To not be able to name one gay rapper-it's crazy! Sure at this point there would a great risk involved, but what a statement it would make if someone like Kanye (who just split with his fiancee) was gay and came out. Someone confident, successful, admired and in a great position to open people's minds wouldn't necessarily have his career completely suffer.

Unfortunately, as of now, it feels like the only way this rampant homophobia can come to an end is if people have a face they know and respect to positively associate with being gay in the industry. Either way, it will be interesting to see what happens when this book reveals some top secret information (if there's anything with any substance even in there).

Would your opinion on celebrities change if they came out of the closet? [Gawker]