LGBT 11 Gay Celebrities Who Came Out in the 1980s  

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Gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transexual individuals started to gain more public support in the 1980s. Although gay actors, writers, and musicians were winning popularity, many celebrities kept their sexuality hidden. This list of gay celebrities who came out during the 1980s has been loosely ranked by fame and popularity and includes notable gay actors, athletes, rock stars, singers, and politicians.

Who is the most famous celebrity who came out in the 1980s? Elton John tops our list. Elton John is arguably the most popular gay musician in the world. He first came out as bisexual in a 1976 interview with Rolling Stone but it wasn't until 1988 that he announced that he was comfortable being gay. John has been in a relationship with David Furnish since 1993, and the couple have two children together.

The Lord of the Rings actor Ian McKellen came out to the public in 1988 in an interview with BBC Radio 3. He is a co-founder of the LGBT rights group Stonewall. Tennis star Martina Navratilova came out publicly as gay in 1981. She is also an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights.

Do you think it would have been difficult for people to be openly gay in the eighties? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


Elton John is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 11 Gay Celebrities Who Came Out in the 1980s
Photo: via Reddit
Elton John is arguably the most popular gay musician in the world. He first came out as bisexual in a 1976 interview with Rolling Stone but it wasn't until 1988 that he announced he was comfortable being gay. John has been in a relationship with David Furnish since 1993 and the couple have two children together.

Age: 70

Birthplace: Pinner, London, United Kingdom

Profession: Record producer, Pianist, Television producer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, + more

Credits: The Lion King, American Hustle, Almost Famous, Australia

Also Ranked

#18 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#11 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#14 on The Best Singers of All Time

#91 on The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

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Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 11 Gay Celebrities Who Came Out in the 1980s
Photo: via Pinterest
The Lord of the Rings actor Ian McKellen came out to the public in 1988 in an interview with BBC Radio 3. He is a co-founder of the LGBT rights group Stonewall.

Age: 76

Birthplace: Burnley, England

Profession: Businessperson, Screenwriter, Actor, Voice acting

Credits: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Also Ranked

#20 on The Best Actors Working Today

#12 on The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps

#68 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#2 on The Best English Actors of All Time

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Rock Hudson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 11 Gay Celebrities Who Came Out in the 1980s
Photo: via Imgur
Although he was suspected of being gay for many years, Rock Hudson wasn't publicly outed until 1985 when it was revealed that he was suffering from HIV. He died later that year.

Age: Died at 60 (1925-1985)

Birthplace: Winnetka, Illinois, United States of America

Profession: Actor

Credits: Giant, Pillow Talk, Send Me No Flowers, McMillan & Wife

Also Ranked

#34 on The Best Oscar Hosts Ever

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Boy George is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 11 Gay Celebrities Who Came Out in the 1980s
Photo: via Wikimedia
Boy George was openly gay in the 1980s. He criticized fellow musician George Michael for pretending to be a "ladies man" during that time.

Age: 55

Birthplace: Bexley, London, United Kingdom

Profession: Performer, Fashion designer, Record producer, Singer-songwriter, Disc jockey, + more

Credits: Fargo, The Day After Tomorrow, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Wedding Singer

Also Ranked

#31 on The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time

#72 on New American Idol Judge Picks

#17 on The Greatest English Pop Singers

#27 on The Best Boy Bands Wink

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