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The Greatest Gay Icons in Film

Updated September 23, 2021 24.5k votes 3.2k voters 286.5k views40 items

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.

  • Video: YouTube

    Tom Hanks became a prominent gay icon for his Academy Award-winning performance in Philadelphia (1993), where he played Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer inflicted with AIDS who sues his former employers for discrimination. Among the people he thanked in his acceptance speech were his high school drama teacher Rawley Farnsworth and former classmate John Gilkerson, both of whom were gay. He is also an outspoken supporter of gay rights, campaigning against California's Proposition 8 (2008), which eliminated the right for same-sex couples to marry. 

    Video clip via: Youtube

    • Age: 65
    • Birthplace: Concord, CA
    Are they the greatest?
  • Photo: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Magic Mike actor Matthew Bomer publicly acknowledged that he was gay in 2012. He and his partner, Simon Halls, have three children. 

    Photo Via: Shutterstock

    • Age: 43
    • Birthplace: Spring, Texas, United States of America
    Are they the greatest?
  • Jodie Foster publicly came out in 2013 during her Golden Globes acceptance speech, saying, "I already did my coming out about 1,000 years ago back in the stone age, those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers, and then gradually and proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met." 

    Photo Via: Shutterstock

    • Age: 58
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
    Are they the greatest?
  • Actor Ian McKellen is openly gay.  He is extremely active working to further gay rights all over the world. 

    Photo Via: Shutterstock

    • Age: 82
    • Birthplace: Burnley, United Kingdom
    Are they the greatest?