24 Most Famous Gay People of All Time

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Some are lesbians, and some are gay. Some are bisexual, and even more are transgender or queer. Many individuals from the LGBTQ+ community have paved the way in different industries by challenging the social norm and fighting against prejudices around same-sex couples, gay marriage, transgender people, and more. They’ve touched our lives with their music, acting skills, and all-around talent.

Let’s explore these courageous people who have made their mark in this list of the 24 most famous gay people of all time. 

1. Elton John

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Sir Elton John remains a prominent figure in the music industry, known for his fantastic showmanship and love for the art of music. 

The British singer came out as bisexual in a Rolling Stone cover story in 1976, only a few years after his career emerged.

When asked about it, John responded: “There’s nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex. I think everybody’s bisexual to a certain degree. I don’t think it’s just me. It’s not a bad thing to be. I think you’re bisexual. I think everybody is.”

Related: 30 Crazy Facts About Elton John

2. RuPaul

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Referred to as the Most Famous Drag Queen in the World, RuPaul has been a trailblazer in the LGBTQ community and as a gay rights activist. 

In 1993, RuPaul released Supermodel of the World, featuring the single “Supermodel (You Better Work),” which became an instant hit. His career picked up momentum, and RuPaul has since become an unstoppable success. 

In 2009, he created RuPaul’s Drag Race, a television competition for drag queens “to showcase their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent,” all while exposing drag to a broader audience. 

3. Lil Nas X

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One of today’s most famous artists, Lil Nas X, expresses his sexuality in bold and unapologetic music and performances. His claim to fame was his hit “Old Town Road,” released in March 2019. 

The rapper has been open about the struggles of being a black gay artist, specifically in the hip-hop and rap industry, which can be known to have some stigma around it. 

In an interview with Out Magazinehe opened up about it. “Mentally, it’s really draining and straining sometimes,” he said. “The pressure of living your entire life knowing the identity of what a rapper is supposed to be, what rappers [are supposed to] do, and going out there in front of all these people, it’s terrifying.”

Related: 44 Interesting Facts about Lil Nas X

4. Freddie Mercury

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Freddie Mercury has become a household name as the lead singer of one of the most well-known British rock bands worldwide: Queen. Through his timeless charm and flamboyant style, Mercury was a character that was hard to miss, pushing boundaries on stage. 

Due to the closeted culture he grew up in, Mercury never officially declared his sexuality, and he continued hiding it from his family until his death in November 1991. The charming frontman may be long gone, but his legacy lives forever. 

Related: How Did Freddie Mercury Die? 

5. George Takei

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Best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in Star Trek, George Takei is a Japanese-American actor and activist who is outspoken about his passion for and support for social justice and human rights issues. Previously, he was the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign “Coming Out Project” and was the Cultural Affairs chairman of the Japanese American Citizens League.

Takei came out publicly in 2005 at the age of 68. During this time, he had already been in an 18-year relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, whom he later married in 2008. 

6. Sam Smith

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Sam became well known with the debut album, “In the Lonely Hour,” released in 2014. Smith’s ability to convey the song’s message directly through Smith’s outstanding and dynamic voice got us all doing something unholy. 

Smith openly discusses sexuality while raising awareness of gay and equal rights and the importance of understanding one’s gender identity. Smith identifies as non-binary and uses the they/them pronouns.

Related: Sam Smith Gilds Entire Xcel Energy Center

7. Frank Ocean

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Frank Ocean’s innovative approach to music is evident in his discography, with his fantastic work on NostalgiaUltra, and Channel Orange. In a statement on the popular social networking site Tumblr, Breaux admitted that his first love was a man. He was one of the first Black artists who opened up and discussed their sexuality in public in 2016, a time when the subject of sexuality wasn’t widely talked about and stereotypes were at an all-time high. 

Related: Frank Ocean’s Net Worth & Biography:

8. Boy George

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Boy George gained popularity in the 1980s pop music scene as the lead vocalist for Culture Club. Their hit songs “KarmaChameleon” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” gained international attention, and he earned a growing following that was magnetized by his unique style, which challenged the social norm. Boy George greatly credits David Bowie for inspiring him to embrace his identity. 

9. Jonathan Bennett

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Jonathan Bennett is a well-known actor and host, most known for his role as Aaron Samuels in the cult classic Mean Girls. He has also appeared in various television shows and movies, such as Veronica Mars and Cheaper by the Dozen 2. Bennett expressed being worried about what fans would think but received overwhelming support when he came out as a gay man in 2017. He married television host Jaymes Vaughan in 2022. 

10. Little Richard

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Little Richard was an American singer, pianist, and songwriter. He is one of the most influential people in rock and roll, paving the way for what the genre is today. He rose to fame in the 1950s with his hits “Tutti Frutti “and “Long Tall Sally.” 

In his teenage years, Little Richard was openly bisexual, which eventually led to his father kicking him out at the young age of 15. This didn’t stop him from pursuing his music career and eventually earning the moniker “Architect of Rock and Roll.” 

Related: Little Richard

11. Pete Burns

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This LGBTQ+ music icon is greatly remembered for his powerful voice, enigmatic personality, and style that got everyone spinning. 

In a 2012 interview with Retro Pop Magazine, English singer, songwriter, and television personality Pete Burns spoke on the impact of the LGBTQ+ community on pop culture. “The gay community is the absolute inventors of taste and style – everything starts there, right down to Voguing. Look what it did for Madonna. And, I took that sound mainstream.”

Related: 22 Musicians Who Got Plastic Surgery

12. Troye Sivan

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His magnetic energy and charisma got us feeling the rush! Troye Sivan got his start during his teenage years on one of the biggest video-sharing platforms in the world, YouTube. The Australian singer-songwriter’s vlogs and music covers gained a significant following, supporting him as his music career emerged. 

Sivan has been an inspiring figure for the youth due to his openness to his sexuality and how he uses his platform to advocate for equal rights of the LGBTQ+ community as well as to maintain freedom of their identities.

Related: Troye Sivan’s Net Worth & Biography

13. Billy Porter

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Billy Porter’s breakthrough moment was being cast as Lola in the 2013 Broadway musical Kinky Boots, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical the same year. He also appeared on numerous television shows and films, most notably Pose, which earned him the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Porter is the first openly gay Black man to be nominated and win a lead acting category at the famed event. 

14. Adam Lambert

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With his amazing voice and dynamic stage presence, the powerhouse Adam Lambert continues to leave a mark since his run on the eighth season of American Idol. In 2011, Lambert became the lead vocalist for Queen + Adam Lambert and is currently on tour with one of the world’s most well-known British rock bands. 

Lambert is also known for his philanthropy and active contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. In January 2020, he launched the Feel Something Foundation, a non-profit advocacy group that aims to support “LGBTQ+ organizations that are moving the needle for communities of all ages and backgrounds.”

Related: 21 Best Famous Gay Singers of All Time

15. Jim Parsons

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The Big Bang Theory star charmed his audiences with his role as Sheldon Cooper, but Jim Parsons’ career went beyond the super genius character. Parsons has also made valuable contributions to theatre, proving his versatility and passion for his craft. 

It was in an interview with the New York Times in 2012 that Parsons came out of the closet by casually mentioning he was gay and in a long-term relationship. He was already seeing art director Todd Spiewak, whom he married in 2017. 

16. Anderson Cooper

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Known for his in-depth and objective approach to current affairs, Anderson Cooper quickly became one of the most trusted broadcast journalists and political commentators today. Beginning his career as a correspondent for ABC News, he eventually went up the ranks, and through his determination and advocacy in broadcasting, Anderson Cooper 360° was created. 

Cooper came out as gay in 2012 and is considered to be one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ figures today. 

17. Bowen Yang

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Bowen Yang has made remarkable contributions to the comedy world with his quick wit and impeccable timing. He started writing for Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 2018 and became included in the cast a year later. He has also made history as the first person featured in SNL to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2021. 

Being openly gay, Yang has used his platform to amplify the underrepresented voices in the comedy industry with gay pride and activism. 

18. George Michael

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George Michael became a household name as a member of the band Wham! His solo career is also a known success, with his 1984 first solo hit, “Careless Whisper,” gaining international popularity. 

Michael publicly came out as gay in 1998. “I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I’m in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost 10 years.”

Related: How Did George Michael Die?

19. Barry Manilow

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NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 19: Barry Manilow and Clive Davis attend ‘Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives’ World Premiere at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in NYC. Image from Shutterstock.

The outstanding pop icon’s career has spanned a few decades because of his timeless flair for music and brilliant mind. Up until today, Barry Manilow got us grooving and wanting to go to the Copacabana with his 1980s hit. The added charm to his music is the excellent mix of different genres, such as pop and soft rock, which is why he has become an internationally known artist in no time. 

Manilow’s coming out story was less uplifting than others on our list of the most famous gay people of all time. He waited to reveal his sexual orientation in 2017 because he feared that his sexual orientation would not be well received, but fans have been nothing but supportive of him. 

Related: 25 Oldest Singers

20. Ricky Martin

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Dubbed the King of Latin Pop, Ricky Martin is “Living la Vida Loca” and has amassed international fame. The release of his most famous hit has caused a shift in the Latin pop genre, earning him sudden popularity in the 1990s. Aside from his musical prowess, Martin is also well-known for his philanthropic initiatives, mostly on children’s rights and disaster relief.  

Related: The 15 Best Spanish Singers

21. Noah Schnapp

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In his breakthrough role as Will Byers in the hit television series Stranger Things, Noah Schnapp has shown his acting skills and dedication, which continues to gain supporters. He started his career as Roger in the 2015 movie Bridge of Spies

Schanpp came out as gay in January 2023 through a video posted on TikTok, expressing his gratitude as his family and friends were accepting and supportive of his sexual identity.

22. Olly Alexander

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The lead singer of Years & Years has been blazing a trail in the music industry, and, at the same time, Olly Alexander is using that platform to ensure continuous conversations surrounding pressing LGBTQ+ issues, such as mental health, awareness of those living with HIV and AIDS, and other LGBT health crises. 

23. Lance Bass

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From the late ’90s to the early 2000s, Lance Bass gained fame as the bass singer for the pop boy band *NSYNC, contributing to the group’s overall success with their numerous hits. 

Aside from being a musician, Bass is also an actor and has appeared in television shows and films such as On the Line and How I Met Your Father. He officially came out as gay in 2010 and later talked of how he was scared to say anything as a child and tried to “pray the gay away.”

24. Mika

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The British-Lebanese singer-songwriter earned recognition for his debut album in 2007, Life in Cartoon Motion, which captivated listeners by the songs’ catchy beats and energetic rhythm. 

Aside from his music, Mika is also well-recognized for his humanitarian initiatives through working with international organizations such as Oxfam and UNHCR and having his events, such as the fundraising concert he held in 2020, to raise funds for the victims of the Beirut blast. 

He has continued to be a vocalist against homophobia and other anti-lgbt practices.  

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Written by Maurine Teaño


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