Influential The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time  

LGBT
267 votes 48 voters 50 items

List Rules Vote up the LGBTQ+ individuals who made the biggest mark on the world.

From writers to philosophers to activists, there are plenty of LGBTQ+ thinkers whose thoughts and ideas have shaped the world over the years. These individuals were hugely influential in terms of opening up minds and encouraging bolder critical thought. Who is the most important LGBT+ thinker out there? Vote below to help decide! 

Some LGTB leaders in history were open and honest about their sexual orientation or gender identity, which helped change minds and make the public more open and accepting. Harvey Milk, for example, amplified public awareness of gay rights during his time in the San Francisco political scene. LGBT writers, like Virginia Woolf and James Baldwin, often tackled topical issues in their work and their contributions still impact how we think today. There are plenty of other influential LGBT people who work in an array of fields from science to philosophy to medicine to music. Vote up the most important LGBT thinkers of all time below and feel free to add anyone you think is missing. 

list ordered by

1
13 0
Alan Turing is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Mathematician, Logician, Computer scientist
Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS was a British pioneering computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner. He ...more

2
15 1
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Novelist, Author, Writer
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society ...more

3
11 1
James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Activist, Poet, Novelist
James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of ...more

4
11 2
Michel Foucault is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Sociologist, Writer, Philosopher
Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, philologist and literary critic. His theories addressed the relationship between power and knowledge, and how they ...more

5
9 1
Oliver Sacks is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Neurologist, Author, Physician
Oliver Sacks is a film story contributor.

6
7 1
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Poet, Journalist, Writer
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish author, playwright and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the ...more

7
9 4
Michelangelo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Sculptor, Painter, Poet
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled ...more

8
9 4
Walt Whitman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Poet, Nurse, Journalist
Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his ...more

9
8 4
John Maynard Keynes is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Politician, Investor, Economist
John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, CB, FBA, was a British economist whose ideas have fundamentally affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics and informed the economic ...more

10
7 3
Allen Ginsberg is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Film Score Composer, Poet, Screenwriter
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the counterculture that soon would follow. He vigorously opposed economic ...more

11
6 2
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Novelist, Screenwriter, Actor
Truman Streckfus Persons, known as Truman Capote, was an American author, screenwriter, playwright, actor, many of whose short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction are recognized literary ...more

12
6 2
Harvey Milk is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Businessperson, Politician
Harvey Bernard Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. ...more

13
7 4
Susan Sontag is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Cultural critic, Novelist, Screenwriter
Susan Sontag was an American writer and filmmaker, teacher and political activist, publishing her first major work, the essay "Notes on 'Camp'", in 1964. Her best known works include ...more

14
4 1
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Poet, Librettist, Screenwriter
Wystan Hugh Auden was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, an American citizen, and regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its ...more

15
3 0
Adrienne Rich is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Poet, Essayist, Writer
Adrienne Cecile Rich was an American poet, essayist and feminist. She was called "one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century", and was ...more

16
3 0
Gore Vidal is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Politician, Journalist, Novelist
Gore Vidal was an American writer and a public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished style of writing. As Eugene Louis Vidal, he was born to a political ...more

17
6 4
Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Librarian, Novelist, Essayist
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu, published in seven parts ...more

18
5 3
Bayard Rustin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania, where his family was involved in civil ...more

19
5 3
Audre Lorde is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Activist, Librarian, Poet
Audre Lorde was a Caribbean-American writer, radical feminist, womanist, lesbian, and civil rights activist. Lorde served as an inspiration to women worldwide, one of her most notable efforts ...more

20
4 2
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Writer
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was a German writer who is seen today as the pioneer of the modern gay rights movement.

21
4 2
Chelsea Manning is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Soldier
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning is a United States Army soldier who was convicted in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after releasing the largest set of confidential ...more

22
2 0
Tammy Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Politician, Lawyer
Tammy Suzanne Green Baldwin is the junior United States Senator from Wisconsin and a member of the Democratic Party. She previously served as the U.S. Representative from Wisconsin's 2nd ...more

23
2 0
Roland Barthes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Writer, Philosopher
Roland Gérard Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher, linguist, critic, and semiotician. Barthes' ideas explored a diverse range of fields and he influenced the development ...more

24
2 0
Dan Savage is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Editor, Commentator, Theatre Director
Daniel Keenan "Dan" Savage is an American gay activist, author, media pundit, and journalist. Savage writes the internationally syndicated relationship and column Savage Love. In 2010, ...more

25
2 0
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time
Musician, Singer-songwriter, Singer
Tracy Chapman is an American singer-songwriter, known for her hits "Fast Car" and "Give Me One Reason", along with other singles "Talkin' 'bout a Revolution", ...more