The Greatest Gay Icons In Music

List of the Greatest Gay Icons in Music, ranked by fans. Gay icons come in all shapes and sizes. Some are fiercely bold divas, while others are openly gay and work to promote LGBT-centric issues, like gay rights and same-sex marriage. Gay music icons have had successful careers in rock, pop, disco and dance music. Several gay music icons have been making great music for decades.

Who is the most famous gay icon in music? Madonna? Elton John? Britney Spears was embraced by the gay community from the moment that she emerged as a pop star, but the „Toxic“ singer didn’t notice until her second tour. She told Advocate Magazine, „I began to realize there were a lot of gay people coming to the shows, and they were just having so much fun, laughing, and really enjoying themselves.“ Britney Spears is straight and has been married twice, although she famously shared a kiss with Madonna back in 2003. Other divas who are gay music icons include Lady Gaga and Barbra Streisand.

David Bowie was embraced by the gay community when he revealed his androgynous alter-ego Ziggy Stardust. Bowie told Playboy magazine in 1976 that he was bisexual, but he later declared that he was just a closet heterosexual. He is rumored to have had a sexual relationship with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. Elton John is arguably the most popular gay musician in the world. He first came out as bisexual in a 1976 interview with Rolling Stoneand in 1988 he announced that he was comfortable being gay.

Have a favorite gay singer? Check out the list of icons below and vote up your favorites. You can also vote any down if you don’t think they should be near the top. 

Gay Icons: 25 Divas Who Have Been Embraced by Gay Culture

Singer, performer, and one of the all-time greatest innovators in rock, music, fashion and art, David Bowie was in the thick of things throughout the ’70s and early ’80s. The man had presence, charisma, a sense of fashion and style that didn’t seem like something he’d learned from his mum, and an ability to make his lyrics and music seem both smart and relevant. Bowie’s influence is still felt today, particularly by people who grew up in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and will likely continue to do so for decades to come.

4. George Harrison.

George Harrison was the quiet Beatle for nearly all of his time in the band. He released one solo album, released a handful of Beatles records after the band’s break-up, and was a major player in the progressive rock scene. He was also a true humanitarian, donating his royalties from the sales of ‚All Things Must Pass‘ to Amnesty International.

3. Paul McCartney.

From the moment his voice first broke, McCartney (a Beatle for a little over two years) never stopped delivering. He released a whopping 18 solo albums (not including his contributions with Wings and The Beatles), produced a bunch of hits and was, quite simply, one of the best songwriters ever. He had a knack for writing a great hook and a perfect melody, and had a unique way of expressing just how cool the songs sounded on record. There will be someone who always loves what he did, and there will be someone who feels he got cheated, but regardless, McCartney’s voice will always be part of the fabric of pop music.

2. Ringo Starr.

From the beginning, Ringo was in the thick of things, as evidenced by his drumming ability on ‚Twist And Shout,‘ his singing voice on ‚Can’t Buy Me Love‘ and his drumming on a couple of Beatles singles.

Top 20 Gay British icons of all time!

Although we come from different countries, London is the city that brought us together. It is always going to have a special place in our hearts for that reason. However, we would be lying if we said there weren’t other reasons we adore the entirety of Great Britain!

The United Kingdom as a whole rings of freedom for the LGBTQ community, which naturally means we gays flock to the country like moths to a flame, especially to the gay meccas in London, Brighton and Manchester. It has been estimated that roughly 5-7% of the population identifies as either lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Transgender individuals, too, have received plenty of recognition and protection in more recent years, which just makes our hearts soar!

Now, with so many queer folks living in and around Britain, it only makes sense that there would be more than a few icons floating about the crowd. Honestly, slimming down our list to only twenty people was a challenge! When it came time to begin brainstorming and researching all those , we probably had about fifty names to choose from, all spread across various careers and lifestyles. We hope you have as much fun discovering these gay British icons as we did writing about them. Cheers!

Barbra StreisandShe’s a spunky, sassy superstar with a voice from the gods and a sense of humor so pungent it could only have come from an outcast who found herself center stage. Babs has long been the one we listen to, watch, admire, and imitate. There was that large road bump when she failed to get star, Carol Channing. Gays have always loved Carol’s saucer-eyed way of playing golddiggers and yentas. Before her parade passes by, no one should rain on it. Big kiss to Ethel Merman too—and to Liz Taylor, for her fabled career, staggering love life, and groundbreaking AIDS work.]

“Bathhouse Bette” wowed toweled men at the Continental Baths and went on to a gigantic career as a star capable of both raunchy hilarity and heartbreaking pathos. She’s gone through periods of not being our favorite due to her varying moods and utterances, but overall, the breadth of the lady’s genius keeps her in the pantheon. You’ve got to have friends, and through the sheer force of her talent, Bette is still one of mine. [Another good Bette:Joan Rivers! When she asks, “Can we talk?” the gay answer is always “Can we listen?”]

The smile, the saucer eyes, the vocal all adds up to a diva gays love for the relentlessness of her sparkle. Add one great movie performance ( parade.

Gays love a pop diva with full-throttle sexuality and great moves, and Beyoncé remains the queen, cementing that when she played Diana—sorry, Deena—in . But I have to give a special shout out to Kylie Minogue, who’s more cerebral than sexual, and who is a long-running gay bar favorite, whether in videos or in the flesh.

Judy’s daughter has a lot of the same pipes, vulnerability, and love of gays as mama, though she’s carved her own niche of “truly terrific, absolutely true” musical sjmphotography.info them bells for Liza. Gays cotton to her festive spirit (“Cabaret”), her undrenchable sense of hope (“Maybe This Time”), her big-town mania (“New York, New York”; “City Lights”), and her lashes.

A straight man’s fantasy as the Material Girl, she was also a gay man’s dream, seeing as she appreciated her rainbow-inclusive fan base, indulged in “voguing,” and had some closerthanthis lesbian gal pals. The anti-Judy Garland, Madonna appeals to gays because she’s vulnerable and can’t be tackled. She’s tough, self-possessed, and radioactively in the game at all times. I’m scared a huh.

More than a Madonna mini-me, Gaga has taken advantage of the social networking skills and overall frankness of her generation to not only sing about gay rights, but to speak about them and really make a difference in the process. Her concerts are like gay pep rallies anchored by Gaga serving as a motivational speaker for LGBTs in training. For such a Little Monster, the woman is really quite adorable.

A bisexual temptress who ignited the screen (often in man’s—or gorilla’s—garb), Marlene had refreshing political leanings to go with her iconoclastic glow and bowler hat. Falling in love with Marlene again…always wanted to.

As an Andy Warhol superstar, Candy exuded the breathy sexuality and wit to sear her into the LGBT legend forever. Her work was relatively obscure yet monumental. As she explained it, “I’ve had small parts in big pictures and big parts in small pictures.” The wispy blonde died of cancer at 29 and hordes came to the funeral, among them Gloria Swanson, saluting the coffin with her gloved hand (says her chronicler, Jeremiah Newton.) A nod also goes to Edie Beale, the riveting eccentric who summed up revolutionary costuming for all time in the classic 1975 documentary She was staunch.

After the apocalypse, there will only be Cher and a “roach” someone handed her in the ‘70s. The headdressed diva, who’s had chart hits in every decade starting in Cleopatra’s time, is a real-life fantasy figure with all kinds of talents, plus a fascinating life you couldn’t make up. Her lesbian daughter is now her son, and her fans include so many LGBTs that, if you’re at a Cher concert and the people to either side of you are straight, then you’re definitely gay.

I recently wrote about how gay men and lesbians don’t seek each other’s opinions enough, but when it comes to the above icons, the gay guys notice and bow down. Let me add to that rapture. Brava, divas.

“The play is hilarious and says some profound things about contemporary Broadway,” declared Lane at a press event last week at Joe Allen (the theater hangout which itself is a character in the show). Having seen the original, I can assure you it was a hoot and deliciously studded with behind-the-scenes namedropping. I can only hope there are new references to McNally’s and Lane’s bumpy friendship (I guess they’ve buried the hatchet again. I wonder in whom?) and Mullally scuttling a different McNally revival four years ago when she quit, reportedly because she thought her male costar’s stage chops were woefully inadequate and the director wasn’t reacting ferociously enough to this crisis. This time, no one’s quitting, for any reason.

At the event, McNally said he and Lane “have gotten older and wiser together,” while another F. Murray Abraham, usually the engine.” [Laughs all around.]

At the same get-together, Stockard Channing said the play involves real teamwork, like dribbling and passing—“but no holding!” (Except maybe each other for support.) “Are you a diva?” asked the Tony-winning star in a provocative conversational gambit at our table. “I’m the anti diva,” replied Channing, blithely. “Ask anyone who knows me. I do my own makeup. I have no entourage. And I do windows!”

I happen to boast a similar sense of undying humility, so I kept probing about this play, asking director about the work they’re doing on it. Said he, “A lot of names are dropped in that way that we do. If you’re in this room for dinner, even if you don’t work in the theater, five or six names will be tossed. But it’s the process that the play’s really about—what’s happened to Broadway, and how it’s changed.”

As for the surprisingly egalitarian alphabetical billing of the cast, “It’s sort of worked out OK—particularly for Murray,” O’Brien laughed. [Abraham is the first one listed because he’s “A” list.] “But you sort of expect ‘Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick’ to be featured in a big box on top of the marquee,” I noted. “Yeah, you do,” replied O’Brien, “and we’re not doing that. We’re not feeding that.”

As I left, O’Brien was remarking that he always likes to have at least three posters on Joe Allen’s walls (which are covered with images from Broadway’s biggest disasters). It gives him a healthy sense of perspective. I sincerely doubt does windows, lol.

The Greatest Gay Icons in Film

Gay icons from the world of film come in all shapes and sizes. Some are film actors who work to promote gay rights. Gay icons of the movies have had successful careers acting, directing, or writing. There are even several Academy Award winners on this list of the greatest gay icons in film. 

Jessica Alba has been embraced by the gay community for supporting gay rights and same-sex marriage. Many other famous actresses who have become gay film icons include Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, and Barbra Streisand. Several great film directors are gay icons as well. Precious director Lee Daniels is openly gay, as are Hairspray director John Waters, and Milk director Gus Van Sant.

Who do you think are the greatest gay icons in film? Cast your votes below.

Who has been an inspiration in your life and why?

Barbara Streisand What is it about Barbara Streisand that drew me to her as a young boy of 12 or 13 living in Newcastle? Before I even knew what ‘gay‘ was I was listening to Barbara’s records and loving her movies. Strong, sassy, loud, larger than life, amazing looking and that voice. There will always be a place in my heart for her- my first gay icon!

My son Because he fights heroin and a rare blood disease called Porpyria. He is one of the smartest and most talented artists I have ever met. He inspires me to think about being gay, about his life, about my own. He lets me know that every second counts. Thank you James.

Alasdair Cameron Academic, raconteur, gossiper and bon viveur. Alasdair teased and loved and encouraged his students, unashamedly gay- he showed that you could come out, make art, change the world and still go for tea and cakes. Anon

Ellen Degeneres ran a feature on her talk show. It was about a primary school boy who had tried to give another boy a Valentine. He was killed because of this. Ellen’s words were blunt, and she looked into the perpetrator’s eyes when she said, ‚[He] is not a second-class citizen I am not a second-class citizen.‘ Those words made me stronger.

Ian Roberts Being tough and great at his profession in Australian Rugby League showed gay men could be at home in rugged, antipodean masculinity as much as any straight man. His openness about being gay makes him even tougher.

Martin Luther King Risked death knowingly, to speak for freedom

Stephen Fry For showing people that intelligence and knowledge should be shared, not used to put up barriers between people- and for his campaigning to de-stigmatise mental illness.

Christopher Isherwood His ‚third person‘ autobiography Christopher and his kind was an inspiration to me when I encountered it as an adolescent, coming to terms with my own feelings and experiences. I have loved his novels and short stories ever since.

Audrey Hepburn Because she changes my life in every aspect. Her class, her beauty, her sweetness, her way to treat people are a big inspiration. She watches the world with love’s eyes for everything and every creature. Thanks to her and her movies, the world seems a little bit better and more colourful. Walk with the knowledge that you’re never alone! She taught me this.

Author and artist Tove Jansson (the creator of the Moomin characters etc) for her love for freedom, wisdom and understanding the fragile components that define us all.

My teacher Susan Clark- her ‚Speaking with confidence‘ class (a local authority class in Wolverhampton) Susan has introduced me to so many different poets- encouraged me to stand up in class and recite. Something I haven’t done since I left school! Also to enter poetry festivals where I have had some success- winning 2 cups on different occasions. I am 78 years old. Thank you, Susan.

My family Supporting and encouraging my decision to move to the UK, for being as loving and supportive of me after I came out and encouraging me to pursue my dreams.?

Stephen Fry Who, according to my father, proves that if you are too intelligent you become gay! But to me, he showed that a gay person could make it to the top and be respected for their own talents!

Queen Victoria She was strong, she was powerful, she was the boss, she did what she wanted to do. Move over Elizabeth I, Victoria ruled for so much longer, through so much change, and for most of it on her own.

A friend of mine, who lives in Morocco. I’ve never met him, but I owe him so much! I remember the day we chatted together. It was a month before Christmas, and I was dazed with my hidden sexuality. He was the first person with whom I came out. And at that moment, he told me the same! But his life is harder than mine. I’m free and openly gay, whereas his parents sent him to an asylum but he keeps on smiling and struggles every day for his own freedom.

Christopher Isherwood His magical writing, in such novels as Down there on a visit and Berlin stories offer an intimate inside look at gay life in the wild and free pre-Nazi Berlin and German scene.

Barack Obama For re-igniting my belief in the power of humanity, to break down its barriers and re-define its identity. The tears of joy on the faces of black-Americans who for generations had experienced subjugation was a powerful image that I will never forget. He is a constant reminder to stay true to yourself and your heritage, and always believe in who you are and what you can offer the world no matter what anyone might tell you!

My mother and family Not famous, not rich, and certainly not gay! However, through everything that being/becoming gay throws at you in modern society, they have supported my every move without failure. To my mother and family- my heroes/icons!

Alexander the Great and Hephaestian When I read what he and his young lover did- as a young man I knew I could conquer the world in my own way too! Albeit a work in progress…

Vivienne Westwood Crude, lude and perfectly rude, she embodies Britain as far as I’m concerned. Unashamedly avant-garde and ridiculous she is my inspiration for ‚Bugger it- why NOT?!‘ She makes me proud of my so-called embarrassments, they make me who I am!

My ‚dads‘ Because they’ve been there for me in the good and bad times. My gay dad adopted me from Ukraine in 1999 and changed me and will still change me. 🙂

Ivri Lider Israeli pop star, openly gay, inspired the young to come out and not fear society pressure. Recently appeared in a mass rally in Tel Aviv following a shooting in a gay youth centre where two died and ten were injured.

Lisa Edelstein An icon of mine not only because of her acting abilities but also because of her fight to get HIV/Aids talked about. Her musical Positive Me which she wrote to get the word out about Aids, because so many of her friends were dying, is a huge inspiration to me.

Dana International The woman who took us (Israel) to win the Eurovision and show the whole world that transsexuals can be gorgeous. By becoming a mainstream pop icon in Israel in the 90’s, she did what campaigns, petitions and hesitant cinema couldn’t- make ‘gay‘ a non-insulting word in Hebrew.

Bette Davis For personifying an indomitable strength of will and character that transcended her gender and the expectations of the society she lived in.

John Dugdal American photographer, originally worked for Martha Stewart, suffered near blindness through Aids-related illness. Went on to create serene, haunting photos of friends, lovers, landscapes and still lives, with only a fraction of his eye sight left- And using only turn of the century techniques. Photos are in the permanent collection of the MoMA, NYC.

David Bowie At a time in my youth when any notion of femininity was not one frowned upon, but open to ridicule and school bullying, along came David Bowie. He was both masculine and camp at the same time, was not afraid to wear makeup and extravagant clothing, even posing in a dress for The man who sold the world. Yet at school he was an icon, admired and cool to the ‘macho‘ boys. The same boys that teased and hurt me because of my sexuality. David Bowie gave me some strength and power and most importantly made me feel good about myself and proud of who I am.

My son- Michael Able to cope with adolescence, sexual confusion, uncertainty and genetic susceptibility to depression, followed by academic success! His parents had it easy!

Peter, in Canada An HIV positive man, who shared this with the media and thus made himself a target in a small Canadian city. A brave leader, who has worked on behalf of gay and for HIV positive people for many years despite a conservative government, significant stigma and increased criminalization of HIV positive people.

Matthew Shephard has been an inspiration to me because he was such a strong boy and wasn’t afraid of what people could do to him because of how he was gay. When he died, murdered for being gay, he re-opened lots of doors for LGBT people to take a stand for what they believe in. Rest in peace.

David Bowie in who’s songs and creativity I found a window into another world, that turned the one I was growing up in on its head, and confirmed what I suspected, that it was one big lie, that soon I could be away from it, somehow.

My brother Patrick Who taught me…without saying one word… that another person’s sexuality is frankly none of my business!

Oscar Wilde Courageous, fallible, stylish, and a wonderful wit.

President Barack Obama He continues to inspire me and make me proud to be an African-American. Period.

My mother A woman who reared six children, and migrated from South America to the UK. She dealt with prejudice and racism and afforded me to be the man which I am today.

Ludwig van Beethoven He is a great composer, his wild and compassionate music helps me over difficult moments and brings joy to my life.

Freddy Mercury Now there was a guy who could do camp. Amazing ability to get people to accept him for what he was. Died so young. Sadly missed.

Chris is my inspiration, my lover, my soul-mate, my Civil Partner. He showed me that you don’t have to be a queen to be gay. He showed me what love really means. He nursed me through cancer. He loves me for me- warts and all.

Archbishop Reverend Tutu Like Gene Robinson, he showed that underlying all religion should be love and acceptance for all people regardless of race, sexuality, sex, colour etc. A true inspiration to all.

Christopher Isherwood A man who wrote and lived as if it were the easiest thing in the world, when actually for most of the time, it was the most difficult.

Matt Bellamy (Muse) For me, he was the first person who dragged me into the world of art. When I started to listen to his band, instantly all the most important things in my life came up to light. I started to discover my own soul, my own gift. He taught me how to think, how to create. Now I’m growing up a singer and songwriter, and hopefully someday an artist. And the best thing about him- he’s not afraid to choose what he wants, to think, to doubt rules, opinions and customs. He’s not ideal. But he shows us that people should develop. And we do.

Barbara – my grandmother Coming out was the hardest thing and most honest action I have undertaken. Coming out- being myself- made the world a more vivid world. My grandmother’s response was ‚She’s still my granddaughter.‘ She showed me that the most conservative generations can be the most accepting. She taught me that the world can still be a surprising and supportive place. She was a real inspiration, a hardy farmer’s daughter with an uncompromising love for her family, no matter who you love. I miss her.

Bishop Gene Robinson He has shown that faith and homosexuality can be reconciled and echoes the theme of the entire Bible where God chooses those rejected by the world to be an example of love.

Oscar Wilde and Edmund White Wilde was the first gay icon I had ever heard of, let alone read. From the age of mid teens I admired his courage and was saddened by the way the world treated him. White’s The Boys Own Story filled me with the strength to be who I am and not fear my sexuality. Both authors have made me cry. Both have helped me to be who I am honestly.

Portia de Rossi Defied the stereotype that lesbians are masculine, ugly and unsuccessful. Hearing that she came out when I was 12 inspired me to accept my own sexuality, and acknowledge that the stereotypes I have been surrounded with in my conservative town are false.

Jake Shears (vocalist of the Scissor Sisters) He never let others or the music industry run his life, love or experiences. He challenged the views of others and never stopped doing what he loved the most: to sing, to dance, to love. He helped me know that you should never be stopped because of who you are and what you do, it can all be achieved and I strive for it every day.

Jonathan Larson Jonathan who wrote the musical RENT has remained an inspiration to me. The show so unabashedly telling the varying stories of several gay characters was the first exposure I and many people I know, had to a loving, accepting celebratory depiction of gay characters- but more importantly- all kinds of love. Gay or straight, the resounding messages of love and acceptance in No day but today are universally inspiring. In so many situations throughout my life I have found hope in Larson’s words and songs. Sadly he never lived to see the impact his masterpiece would have.

Dusty Springfield Music is my passion. Knowing that such a fantastic singer was gay made my world a little easier.

Lilian 1919-2002. From a very early age I realised that she was always going to be important in my life. Her capacity for hard work and fair treatment of others was unfailing. A sense of humour and wicked ‘wink‘ always raised a smile. A devoted mother, wife, sister, Grandmother and Great Grandmother to my children. She inspired me to pull my children in close and nurture them dearly. She would have been so very proud to see our achievements and I believe she made a huge difference to our lives. They were richer for having her.

Sir Michael Caine As a boy I grew up watching his films, loving his characters, for the ordinary yet complex people they were. Growing older I read more about him and learning the history of his childhood love of cinema and the constant pursuit he made to live his dream of starring in the pictures he loved so much. I love his down to earth nature and his compassion. He is the epitome of the working class boy made good; a man not afraid to chase his dream; a legend and an icon of his time; and an actor that always lights up my world whenever I watch one of his films (old or new). To Michael Caine- long may he live and act!

Harvey Milk For being a fighter and opening the doors of freedom for LGTB people!!

My mother, Kim She is simply the strongest and most inspirational woman I know. I grew up watching my mom work 14+ hour days, just to give us the best life possible- as she was a single parent. She was always supportive, in my brother and my decisions. In 2000, she came out of the closet, much to our Baptist family’s dismay. The backlash she received was astonishing and disturbing. But she kept trucking along, finding her niche as a medical intuitive and finding an amazing life partner, Cindy. But I believe it is her supportiveness and love that tops all. She is the first one with open arms, the first to wipe away your tears and tell you it will be all right. I am blessed to be her daughter and know that without her I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today.

Klaus Wowereit Because he did for gays in Germany what Harvey Milk did for those in the U.S. When he ran for Lord Mayor of the city of Berlin eight years ago, he announced publicly, ‚Ich bin schul, und das ist auch gut so.‘ (I am gay, and that’s fine/good), thus pre-empting the yellow press that were preparing for scandalous reports. He won the election, and ‚…und das ist auch gut so‘ is now a common idiomatic expression in German.

Alison Bechdel (US American comic strip artist and graphic novelist) For 20 years, her weekly comic strip Dykes to watch out for documented the trials, tribulations and joys of the ‚lesbian community‘ (whatever that is), showing us all that being gay can be smart, funny, literary, heartbreaking. And just being, full stop. Her autobiographical graphical novel Fun Home is surely the new classic coming out story for angsty, literary women the world over.

My daughter Lisa who at the age of 18 came out after years of isolation, bullying by her peers and teachers and total confusion of trying to understand why she lived in a world that rejected her! She is now 36, has a lovely partner (now married) and hopefully will live happily ever after!

Michael ‚Mouse‘ Tolliver This character from Armistead Maupin’s classic Tales of the City series is an iconic gay man. As readers watch Mouse’s often troubled relationships, they realize that open homosexuality can be healthy and happy. Also, for me Mary Ann and Mona- two straight women who are close to Mouse- are an acknowledgement of my place in the gay community.

Harvey Milk At a time when gays started demanding civil rights, Harvey was the promise of real change. His assassination underlined how far we still had to go but brought us together.

Shelly, my stepdaughter She has been openly gay for the last 20 years. She has taught me that beliefs and principles are far more important than what others may choose to think. She legally (in California) married her partner in 2008 and is a successful individual in all she attempts, always giving 100% of who she really is and doing what she believes in doing.

Grace Jones When I was coming to terms with my bisexuality, Grace was the perfect demon for me. Absolutely alien, musical, unlike anything else and undeniably queer, if not in her sexuality then in everything else. Slave To The Rhythm was my secret sacred text back when I still felt unable to leave the closet.

My icon is anyone who dares to be true to themselves- gay or straight. Those who blaze their own path despite what others may think or say, let us praise them all for their courage.

George Michael His tender and heartfelt lyrics and personal content of his songs have touched my soul and heart. Although he took his time in coming ‘out‘ we all knew he was one of us. May his timeless music live on.

My father Kind, caring, compassionate, non-judgemental, tolerant, patient, wise, unselfish and hard-working. Taught me to look for the good that is within each of us, to always show respect for others, and never to judge others harshly. He was my rock when I was a little girl, and as an adult I have tried- and failed- to be like him. Both my husbands looked up to him and his grandchildren thought he was immensely wise and knowledgeable.

Martin Luther King The strength and courage of this man is astonishing and I used to be fearful of feeling a passion like that. But this man shows how the caution towards other people’s judgement is insignificant in comparison with one’s beliefs. I am no longer scared to feel or express what I feel despite opposition from others. He is an incredible and strong man.

My Uncle Ray For defining freedom in thought and action, for me- a straight man- by coming out in the 60’s.

Virginia Woolf For being the subtle background voice to my nineteen-year-old self, newly arrived in London without money or direction, but with a fever for writing and sharing my experiences with another female. For eloquently showing my straight friends the texture of homosexual love, and for imprinting the wonder of this city at times when I had been close to forgetting.

Karen Carpenter Often overlooked as a ‘gay icon‘ when thinking of the usual pantheon of 1970s queer popular cultural stars, she continues to inspire, soothe and motivate. Despite the tragedy of her death at 32, the struggle of her life was belied by her talent, her dignity and that unique, inimitable instrument- her contralto. An icon for all!

My daughter Jenny who had her struggles when she was young and now truly knows who she is. She has quietly educated the safely marries couples of suburbia who find gay people a puzzle. We all find her inspiring as she goes for what she wants and has a lot of fun along the way. She has given a lot of people the understanding of how important it is to be yourself and that being gay is not a choice, or something to be ashamed of.

17 Queer Fashion Icons Throughout History That Deserve All The Hype

The decline of societal gender norms when it comes to fashion has been a long time coming—and we’re still not all the way there. The progress we have made in embracing personal style regardless of identity has definitely been thanks to gay and queer fashion icons who have pushed—and continue to push— the boundaries. Although celebrations for queer fashion trailblazers are often reserved for Pride, we should celebrate these style icons every single day. Considering many of their looks are part of historyoften worn in updated ways even decades later, it only makes sense to carve out a part of our everyday lives to pay a bit of homage to how far we’ve come. Let’s take a trip down the rainbow-paved memory lane, shall we?

From Freddie Mercury and his jaw-dropping stage ensembles to Laverne Cox and her ethereal red carpet looks, there’s certainly no shortage of incredible fashion from queer icons. As the LGBTQ+ community becomes more mainstream—in a good way!—and queer celebrities continue to defy gender norms, we no longer have to search high and low for fashion inspiration of all kinds. Masculine and feminine? Don’t know them! Fashion and style know no gender or sexual orientation—and the 17 queer style icons below are proof.

Take a few moments to feast your eyes on some of the most incredibly well-dressed members of the LGBTQ+ community throughout history. Whether it’s Kristen Stewart and her impeccable sense of style (and constantly-changing hairstyles) or Billy Porter’s effortless ability to one-up himself with each and every ensemble, you’re sure to gain some serious inspiration from these stars. Just don’t blame us if suddenly everything in your closet looks subpar in comparison! Remember, these queer celebrities were blessed with good taste, but they also have access to stylists and high-end designers, too. So be kind to yourself (and your wardrobe), and enjoy these 17 swoon-worthy looks in no particular order.

‚The UK’s black gay icons are worthy of recognition‘

There’s been much discussion in our pop-cultural discourse about that very question lately.

Who and what burns brightly enough to single themselves out as worthy of this highest praise?

And perhaps no figure is more litigated than the gay icon.

Stans plant their avis as flags in the ground on Twitter, they spam self-made fancams to the world and they fiercely, viciously argue over their most beloved divas and camp fixtures. It’s an endless debate over whose faves may or may not be set in the pantheon of the greats.

And yet, at the same time, the word „iconic“ is overused in our queer vocabulary, where everything and everyone – might be, has been, will be – „iconic“ for at least 15 minutes. Banal, boring, and brilliant alike.

It is perhaps a bitter pill to swallow, but if everyone’s an icon, no one’s an icon.

True gay icons, however, must shine and disrupt, bending the status quo and exciting the imagination. They do more than entertain: they inspire great adoration and even devotion.

Top 10 Female Gay Icons Of All Time!

I think it is fair to say that we love our divas almost as much as we love hot men. In light of the phenomenon of diva worship, we have decided to pay tribute to 10 of the greatest female gay icons of all time! Check out this list to see which diva managed to claw her way to the top of the list!

Number 10 on the list is none other than Lady Gaga! Since her debut, Lady Gaga has been a very vocal ally of the gay community and her music frequently emphasises themes of self-acceptance. ‘Born this way’ has become one of the greatest gay anthems of recent times and her bisexuality pretty much makes her a part of the LGBT community. In addition, Lady Gaga pretty much spelt out her support for the gay community with her immensely successful ‘Born this way’ album.

Strong, fierce and talented, the only reason why Lady Gaga isn’t ranked higher up on the list is because she is still relatively new and hasn’t firmly established herself yet.

With her big hair, big voice and big onstage persona, Beyonce possesses all the attributes of a female gay icon. Beyonce has been an ally to the LGBT community for decades, and together with her husband Jay-Z, have been vocal about her support for the gay community.

However, the only reason why Queen Bey isn’t higher up on the list is because she seems to be trying to appeal more to feminists as compared to the gay crowd. Beyonce has become well-known for her female-empowerment anthems like ‘Single Ladies’ and ‘Girls (Run the world)’ but she still hasn’t released any notable gay anthems yet. Since gay anthems are a fundamental element of any credible gay icon, Beyonce is our pick for the number 9 spot on this list!

Christina Aguilera possesses all the traits of a typical diva; big hair, big voice and big personality. No wonder gay men love her! Plus, the fact that the powerhouse vocalist has also identified herself as a bisexual before has made her even more relatable to her many gay fans. And if that’s not enough, her signature song ‘Beautiful’ has also become one of the greatest gay anthems of recent times!

However, her waning star power brings her down a couple of notches and explains why she is number 8 on this list.

Gay men love divas and Mariah Carey epitomises the ultimate diva. With her angelic voice, big hair and penchant for fabulous things, it is not surprising that Mariah has a huge gay fan base. Her signature tune ‘Hero’ has been embraced by the gay community as a LGBT anthem while her struggles as an outcast during her childhood years has turned her into a very relatable gay icon.

While Mariah Carey does indeed support the gay community, the reason why Mariah Carey is not very vocal with her support for the gay community could be due to the fact that she doesn’t want to alienate the hip-hop fans that her music caters to.

Britney Spears is the quintessential underdog and that is precisely what endears her to the gay community so much. Britney has been knocked down so many times throughout her career and yet, she always manages to bounce back every single time. It is this trait of her that perfectly encapsulates the saying ‘It gets better’. Thus, Britney makes it to number 6 on this list!

With her star power and immeasurable talent, Barbra Streisand has long been revered as a gay icon. Just like all the other divas on this list, Barbra Streisand has a huge gay following and has long established herself as a gay icon.

Gay men love Cher and there are so many reasons that could possibly explain why Cher enjoys such a devoted gay fan base. It could be due to the fact that Cher is a long-time advocate for LGBT rights. It might also be due to her repertoire of infectious and campy dance hits. Perhaps its due to the fact that Cher herself comes across as a very likeable drag queen. Or maybe, it might be due to the fact that Cher has a transgender child. Regardless of whatever reason it might be, there is no doubt that Cher is one of the greatest gay icons ever and as such, is number 4 on this list!

The quintessential gay icon, Judy Garland’s signature song ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ has become one of the most iconic gay anthems of all time. In addition, her struggles with men endeared her even greater to the gay community. In fact, Judy Garland is often regarded as the greatest female gay icon of all time!

Now, before her ardent fans start sending us hate mail for not recognising Judy Garland as the greatest female gay icon of all time, let us explain ourselves first. While Judy Garland has undoubtedly had a huge impact on the gay community, she attained her gay icon status largely as a result of her image as a tragic figure. Since the depiction of gay people as tragic figures is becoming increasingly unfashionable, it follows logically that the gay community is finding it harder and harder to relate with tragic figures.

Few singers have intentionally catered to the gay market like Kylie has. Although Kylie is completely straight and doesn’t have the typically tragic backstory that gay men seem to love, her campy image and infectious dance hits have won her legions of gay fans.

Although Kylie’s campy image is often cited as the reason behind her failure to conquer the American market, the fact that she remains devoted to her gay fans by catering to their tastes earns her the number 2 spot in this list of the greatest female gay icons of all time!

Our choice for the greatest female gay icon of all time is none other than the Queen of Pop herself; Madonna!

Gay men love queens and so, it is no surprise that gay men would worship the Queen of Pop! An outspoken advocate for gay rights, Madonna earned the unwavering support from her gay fans with her strong personality and her provocative image. By giving the gay community numerous gay club anthems like ‘Vogue’ and ‘Music’, Madonna has transformed herself into one of the most revered gay icons of all time! The fact that her name has pretty much become synonymous with the term gay icon is the main reason why we are crowning her the number 1 female gay icon of all time!

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Gay icons

Judy is not a gay icon at all. She is somewhere far beyond that. She is a gay beacon. A gay saint. She has led the way through the darkness for some 50 years. Whether it’s the Wizard of Oz or the Judy at Carnegie Hall LP – these are brilliant touchstones for the gay experience. A kind of communion takes place between a gay listener and Judy. And of course there is the drink and drugs counter-story, which is very gay for one reason or another.

In the postwar years in Western culture, it has become somehow socially acceptable to be drunk and stoned. There is such a gay fascination to that story. Gay people understand a party, that’s for sure!

There is no level on which Judy Garland doesn’t connect with gay men. She married one, for chrissakes!

Certain intellectual gay men obsess over Stevie. She is a dinner party conversation in herself, served up as a kind of hors d’oeuvre before a conversation about the Pre-Raphaelites, or something. She separates interesting homosexuals from uninteresting ones.

Blessed with great artistry, she never let her lesbianism get in the way of it. Because she wasn’t open about it, she gave herself the right to enjoy being a lesbian in private. It didn’t diminish her. In the end, cancer claimed her; there’s an iconic price for an iconic life.

There’s a dark force at work here – she subverts everything for her own gain. I went to see her London show and it was all so dour and humourless. She surpasses even Joan Crawford in terms of megalomania. Which makes her a kind of dark gay icon in itself.

I love Kylie, she’s the anti-Madonna. Self-knowledge is a truly beautiful thing and Kylie knows herself inside out. She is what she is and there is no attempt to make quasi-intellectual statements to substantiate it. She is the gay shorthand for joy.

Whether he’s gay or not, he is the gay Elvis. He is among the greatest entertainers of our time. The banter, the dancing, the stage-craft, it all conspires and you know exactly what Morrissey is. He is heroic. He is a total package, like Dean Martin or Prince.

Ugh, Barbra! You’ve got to hand it to her. She got everything she ever damn wanted and she does manage to maintain her insanity on such a highclass level. I respect her deeply. She’s not as sinister as Madonna and she gives us some hope.

She’s slightly left-of-centre in this deeply conservative pop world. She’s not it, but you’d have more of a chance of finding it by using her as a conduit than you would if you used Britney Spears. You know, Pink is what I would call a ‚gateway drug‘.

It feels weird talking about Prince as a gay icon now but you have to applaud a black man in the American record industry who could be so playful with androgyny. Justin Timberlake wouldn’t do that. He is a marine dressed as a pop star.

She is the older sister that every gay man wants. She connects so well with a gay audience because she is so removed from the real world. She is one of the only artists who makes it appear better to be on the outside than on the inside.

· Rufus Wainwright performs the 1961 Judy Garland Carnegie Hall concert at the London Palladium on 18 February 2007

Gay Icon

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Gay Icons

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Gay Icons: Judy Who?

Imagine for a moment — you’ve gone over to meet the new neighbor and introduce yourself. He’s a handsome, masculine sort of guy, but something about him tells you that he’s not what would be considered a “ladies’ man”. Left alone for a moment in his living room while he takes a phone call, you do a quick scan of his CD collection for clues as to which “team” he plays for. Nestled between the Shawn Colvin, U2, and Greenday CDs, you find the damning evidence: copies of . Yep, he’s a queer.

It’s possible you’ve reached an inaccurate conclusion, but not probable. Ask most straight men if they’ve heard , Garland’s 1961 Grammy-winning Album of the Year, is the concert album that put the diva back on top.

And rightfully so. Today’s performers could learn from Garland’s comeback concert, a brilliant performance from a legendary entertainer. Here she is, alone on stage with her band — no pyrotechnics, back-up dancers, costume changes, dazzling lights, or mammoth sets — throwing herself without abandon into song after song after song. “I don’t ever want to go home,” she shouts to the frenzied audience. “I’ll sing ’em all, and we’ll stay all night!”

For many gay men and women, the appeal of the album is not just the artistry of a true superstar, but the fact that Garland had to overcome numerous demons just to walk out on to the stage that night. Battling her drug addictions, washed-up status, and an almost paralyzing anxiety that led her to believe she would fail miserably, Garland considered cancelling the concert until seconds before she flew onto the stage, smiling and gesturing wildly. She rose above all the obstacles, and as they say in show business, “knocked ’em dead”.

It is her perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds that has earned Garland her status as a Gay Icon. A chubby kid who was forced to take diet pills by her studio, a failure in marriage, a star whose popularity rose and fell repeatedly, an addict (thanks to the diet pills), a financial disaster who often had to sneak out of towns without paying hotel and restaurant bills — there was no reason why Garland should have enjoyed the kind of success she did, except for an adoring fan base and the sheer will to survive in the only business she knew.

Garland is hardly the only diva upon whom society has stuck the label “gay icon”. Who exactly is classified as a gay icon will vary depending on whom you ask, but the one trait that most all who are listed have in common is an ability to overcome the odds or fly in the face of conventional wisdom. Bette Davis, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand — too unattractive to be stars, at least by Hollywood standards. Cher, Dolly Parton, Carmen Miranda, and yes, Tammy Faye Baker — too over the top. Madonna, Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford — too trashy for their respective times. Yet, all have succeeded, and in their success, they have earned the admiration of homosexuals worldwide. And it doesn’t hurt that, for the most part, they have embraced their gay fans, in turn.

Why is it that older gay men are attracted to such tortured souls? Why don’t gay women share the same list of icons? And why don’t young gay men share the same attractions for these legends? The stereotypical answer would be that these women make great subjects for female impersonators to emulate, but such an answer is superficial.

For older gay men, the women they idolize represent their own personal struggles. Gay men who are in their 40s or older grew up in a time when they were judged on the basis of one thing: their homosexuality. It didn’t matter if you were a great teacher, dentist, accountant, neighbor, citizen. What mattered, and what people talked about, was that you were “that way”. Understandably, there emerged a desire to be judged for the whole package, not just for sexual inclinations — a longing to be recognized for your skills on the job and whether or not you were a good person who played by the rules, paid your taxes, and treated your neighbors with kindness and respect. Those were all a part of what made these men individuals, but they were rarely acknowledged. (While gays are still judged on their sexual preference today, it is not a factor that limits one’s ability to succeed in society as it once was.)

So too, the gay icons of yesteryear were too easily classified. Stuck with labels that presumably would have limited their potential, these stars became legends anyway. When Barbra Streisand belts out “I’m the Greatest Star” in , she is giving the world notice that she, like the comic Fanny Brice she is portraying, will not be denied; “When you’re gifted / Then you’re gifted / These are facts…Do you think beautiful girls are going to stay stars forever? I should say not! Any minute they’re going to be out – finished! Then it’ll be my turn.” And it was quickly her turn, although beautiful girls continued to get by on their looks (see Paris Hilton); despite Streisand’s large nose, crossed-eyes, and gangly body, there was no overlooking her masterful timing and impressive vocal range.

Likewise, Bette Davis was all wrong for the part, whatever part it may have been. Short-statured and stocky, with now immortalized bulging eyes, Davis came on the scene during a time when Hollywood favored the glamour of Carole Lombard, the cold beauty of Greta Garbo, and the grace of Ginger Rogers. Yet Davis succeeded in a variety of roles, from lonely spinster to alcoholic star, Southern belle, to lovesick cancer victim. Davis had a set of brass balls that could match any man’s, and her toughness allowed her to win roles that seemed more suited for the studio’s ingénues. But ultimately, it was her talent that kept her in the game.

It is easy to understand why gay men of this era idolized these women: they had been able to accomplish what gay men could not by breaking the stereotype assigned to them and being recognized for all their assets. Lesbians of the same era, unless they chose to live and dress like men, didn’t face the same level of stereotyping as gay men, so the need to find a role model was not as strong.

This is not to imply that lesbians do not have icons, but typically such icons tend to come from their own ranks or have been rumored to have dabbled in same-sex relationships. However, that is not the only characteristic that qualifies one to be a lesbian icon. You also have to be powerful. Eleanor Roosevelt certainly fills that bill; a woman trapped in a marriage to a philandering husband, she became one of the nation’s greatest First Ladies and an honored diplomat. Martina Navratilova is a force to be reckoned with both on the tennis court and off. And while one may not think of Ellen DeGeneres as a power-broker, she is a trailblazer in the fight for gay rights and one of the most influential women in show business.

So too, the gay icons of yesteryear were too easily classified. Stuck with labels that presumably would have limited their potential, these stars became legends anyway. When Barbra Streisand belts out “I’m the Greatest Star” in , she is giving the world notice that she, like the comic Fanny Brice she is portraying, will not be denied; “When you’re gifted / Then you’re gifted / These are facts…Do you think beautiful girls are going to stay stars forever? I should say not! Any minute they’re going to be out – finished! Then it’ll be my turn.” And it was quickly her turn, although beautiful girls continued to get by on their looks (see Paris Hilton); despite Streisand’s large nose, crossed-eyes, and gangly body, there was no overlooking her masterful timing and impressive vocal range.

Likewise, Bette Davis was all wrong for the part, whatever part it may have been. Short-statured and stocky, with now immortalized bulging eyes, Davis came on the scene during a time when Hollywood favored the glamour of Carole Lombard, the cold beauty of Greta Garbo, and the grace of Ginger Rogers. Yet Davis succeeded in a variety of roles, from lonely spinster to alcoholic star, Southern belle, to lovesick cancer victim. Davis had a set of brass balls that could match any man’s, and her toughness allowed her to win roles that seemed more suited for the studio’s ingénues. But ultimately, it was her talent that kept her in the game.

It is easy to understand why gay men of this era idolized these women: they had been able to accomplish what gay men could not by breaking the stereotype assigned to them and being recognized for all their assets. Lesbians of the same era, unless they chose to live and dress like men, didn’t face the same level of stereotyping as gay men, so the need to find a role model was not as strong.

This is not to imply that lesbians do not have icons, but typically such icons tend to come from their own ranks or have been rumored to have dabbled in same-sex relationships. However, that is not the only characteristic that qualifies one to be a lesbian icon. You also have to be powerful. Eleanor Roosevelt certainly fills that bill; a woman trapped in a marriage to a philandering husband, she became one of the nation’s greatest First Ladies and an honored diplomat. Martina Navratilova is a force to be reckoned with both on the tennis court and off. And while one may not think of Ellen DeGeneres as a power-broker, she is a trailblazer in the fight for gay rights and one of the most influential women in show business.

Perhaps the qualities of a lesbian icon are best represented in the character of Xena, Warrior Princess, who was must-see TV for many lesbians during her six seasons on the air. I couldn’t possibly count the number of times that the lesbian who lived next door to us called in a panic, “I have to work late. Can you go next door and set my VCR to record ?” There wasn’t a man or god whose ass Xena couldn’t kick and look good doing it. Supposedly, Xena was straight — she had more than a few male lovers — but it was her relationship with sidekick Gabrielle that endeared her to gay women. The bond between the two was one of best friends, sisterly, but there was always an underlying sexual tension present.

These lesbian icons may have been commanding women, but they were not “manly women”. Each possessed a level of femininity that makes them attractive as women; it is the strength of their character, however, that elevates them to the status of icon. Martina Navratilova, for instance, was easily pegged as a lesbian when she emerged on the tennis scene in the mid-’70s. Fleeing the oppressive culture of her native Czechoslovakia, it was obvious that she was a woman lacking confidence, often appearing in Grand Slam finals with a look of “How did I get here?” on her face and breaking down in a flood of tears when she won. As she became more acclimated to Western culture, her confidence grew, and she gained the admiration of both gay and straight women. Her self-assurance was, and still is, sexy.

Martina possesses another quality, one that endears her to a new generation of gay women and men: her tendency to speak her mind. While older homosexuals clung to images of women who overcame the odds, today’s homosexuals opt to idolize those who are controversial and confrontational. Kylie Minogue, for example, was an international pop star in the ’80s, scoring most notably with 1988’s remake of “Locomotion”. Back then, she was the cute and squeaky-clean girl-next-door. After a career slump, she blasted her way back onto the scene with 2001’s “Can’t Get You out of My Head”. But this was not the same Kylie; gone were the frilly, lacy dresses and crimped, fluffed hair. This Kylie was a slutty, gyrating sexpot. And gay men loved her, vaulting her to the same exalted status as Madonna and Cher.

Younger gay men turn to women who have no problems being “in your face” for their gay icons. The attitude of rejecting social conventions comes in many forms for these gay icons. Most notable is Madonna, who even in her proper English motherhood, manages to illicit controversy; her entire career has been built around the premise that what ever society expected of her, she would defy, particularly in terms of sex. Cher, Christina Aguilera, and Fergie are seen as being open about the sexuality, as well as being talented women.

Yet, for many gay men, sex isn’t all that sells. What is equally appealing is the tendency to speak one’s mind, no matter how inappropriate the comments. Two perfect examples are actually fictional characters: Suzanne Sugarbaker of . Although the series these two characters appeared on have been off the air for years, they have both enjoyed resurgence in reruns, in large part because of gay men’s adulation of the self-centered and politically incorrect Suzanne and the painfully blunt Sophia. A real-life example of such a woman comes courtesy of Tammy Faye, who has turned her back on evangelical homophobia and openly embraced gay men as “God’s children”.

This shift in the nature of what makes one a gay icon is representative of the shift in the outlook of gay men and women. No longer do homosexuals feel the need to prove themselves as worthwhile men and women with admirable qualities, as gay men and women often find their talents being recognized without reference to sexual orientation. Consequently, the tables have turned. Homosexuals want to be respected for their sexual decisions and to have the opportunity to speak openly about it without condemnation, so it is natural that their idols would be those who are open, honest, and sexual without regard to social expectations.

Displaying such qualities has allowed men to join the ranks of gay icons as well. Oscar Wilde, although dead for over a century, has emerged as such an icon. With his biting wit and mockery of stilted 19th century social rules, Wilde is a perfect representation of the type of gay man many would like to be. Late Queen front man Freddie Mercury has also achieved elevated status after death. Boy George has the potential to join the ranks, if he will stop being such a freak.

In essence, gay men and women are attracted to those individuals that most exhibit the qualities they would like to possess, regardless of the time period. As social mores change, the roles gay men and lesbians assume shift as well, bringing in new qualities for admiration. Still, the LGBT segment of the population is no different from the straight segment in its selection of heroes, idols, and icons. We look to those who exhibit the characteristics which we would like to have. Just as a pacifist would idolize Gandhi and King and a businessperson may seek to emulate Trump or Gates, gay men and lesbians put on a pedestal those individuals who represent their personalities and personal societal concerns.

Discovering Garland, Streisand, and Madonna in your new neighbor’s CD collection tells you more than whether or not he is gay. It tells you a little bit about who he is as a human being and how he feels the world views him. Our choice for icons is about more than just high camp and melodrama; it’s about who we are in a fundamental way.

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1. Alan Turing (RIP)

Throughout his career, Turing found a way to crack coded messages that would help lead to the defeat of the Nazis and designed one of the initial stored-program computers. Seriously, who knows where we would be without those big brains of his! The tragic side to his story is that his own country never truly recognized or appreciated his greatness during his lifetime. Instead, Alan Turing was arrested in 1952 because of his sexuality and accepted chemical castration treatment as an alternative to a prison sentence!

He committed suicide by cyanide poisoning in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday. It wasn’t until 2013 that he received a posthumous pardon from the Queen.

Amazingly, his acquittal in 2013 ignited a passionate flame that led to the formation of a new law nicknamed “The Alan Turing Law” that saw nearly 50,000 men pardoned for their previous convictions of practicing homosexuality. Despite the country’s historic efforts to forget him, the name Alan Turing will not soon be forgotten by the LGBTQ community.

2. Elton John

At this point in time, is it possible that there are people alive who don’t know Elton John?

Even if you aren’t the most familiar with his incredible music, then you’ve got to recognize his work on The Lion King… Or remember his eccentric suits and glasses… Or understand his impact on the queer community at large! Upon reaching the height of his success in 1976, John came out as bisexual. Years later, in 1988, he came out once more as a gay man. In 1992, he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation. In 2005, he and his husband David Furnish entered into one of the first-ever civil partnerships in all of Great Britain, then later converted this to a marriage in 2014 after gay weddings were legalized across the country.

He’s a fabulous megastar for so many outstanding reasons! And the way we see it, we could all stand to be a little more like Elton John – always willing to step up, be ourselves, and express care for others.

3. George Michael (RIP)

As a fellow gay British Greek Cypriot also born/raised in North London(!), I will always have a strong personal affinity to the late George Michael – his birth name: Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou. Growing up, I used to love listening to all his hit songs with the pop band “Wham”. Then when he went solo, he produced some of the best pop anthems like Careless Whispers, Freedom, Somebody To Love”, Fastlove, and so many more!

If it couldn’t get any sweeter, George Michael famously came out in 1998, right about the time I was starting to come out. He then proceeded to become a prominent active LGBTQ rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser. For example, he became a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, he supported the Terrence Higgins Trust and devoted his 2007 concert in Sofia, Bulgaria from his “Twenty Five Tour” to the Bulgarian nurses prosecuted in the .

4. Freddie Mercury (RIP)

For someone who seemed hesitant to be openly political with his career, Freddie Mercury certainly made a stand when he dressed in drag and sang loud and proud about wanting to break free.

But truthfully, everything Mercury did with his life felt like taking a stand. From his over-the-top stage presence to his decision to live a more reserved private life, he always kept us hanging on his every last word. Something was dazzling, almost magical about the way he conducted himself when other people would be watching him. Despite never openly admitting to being gay, Freddie Mercury has been hailed as a queer icon for his ability to inspire others to be completely and unabashedly themselves.

It’s safe to say that the world has missed him dearly since his death in November 1991. Thankfully, this rock star’s voice will live forever… Especially in our home, whenever we’re feeling up for an energetic dance party!

5. David Bowie (RIP)

Of all the men we’ve adored in our lifetime, perhaps none have tugged on our heartstrings as much as the iconic Ziggy Stardust himself, David Bowie.

Besides rocking out to his incredibly unique music and soulful voice, we have always appreciated Bowie for his lasting mark on the movement towards a general acceptance of the LGBTQ community. The man switched between labels of straight, gay, and bisexual for his entire life… And while there is a part of us that desperately wants to know the truth, we’re mostly just happy to have known him at all. Despite there being immense doubt about the true nature of his sexuality, one thing remains constant: David Bowie destroyed gender norms by embracing complete androgyny.

His death was undoubtedly a tragedy, but there is still some small comfort in knowing that a Starman is waiting for us in the sky.