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The Greatest Gay Icons In Music

Updated January 22, 2021 71.9k votes 8.7k voters 387.4k views66 items

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. 

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  • Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Drag queen/actor/musician RuPaul has been a beacon of empowerment since she first emerged in the music industry with the hit "Supermodel (You Better Work)." RuPaul has since dedicated her life to promoting LGBT causes.
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    • David Bowie was embraced by the gay community when he revealed his androgynous alter-ego Ziggy Stardust. In 1976, Bowie told Playboy magazine 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. Bowie has been married to supermodel Iman since 1992.
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      • Photo: Antonio Marín Segovia / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
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        • Photo: flickr / CC0

          Cher has been a gay icon throughout her career, and her flamboyant style has been emulated by thousands of drag queens. She also starred as a lesbian in the film Silkwood, and she became even more involved with supporting gay rights after her son, Chaz, came out as transgender.

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