In alphabetical order
This category is for LGBT+ community’s favourite music artists and looked for musicians who are either LGBT+, or who have proven to be strong advocates of the LGBT+ community.
Cher is a 69-year-old singer/songwriter, actor and activist. She rose to fame as half of the folk-rock, husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher, spawning a five-decade career that continues today. As a singer, Cher has sold over 200 million records and is the only artist to have a number one single on the Billboard chart in each decade from the 1960s to the 2010s. She has received over 400 worldwide industry awards for her work in music, television and film. In 1998, she won a GLAAD Media Award and, in 2013, she received the ‘Legend’ Award from Attitude magazine. In 2014, she notably refused to perform at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Back in October 2005, the Bravo programme Great Things About Being… declared Cher “the number one greatest thing about being gay”.
Chicago-born Hillary Rodham married former US president Bill Clinton in 1975, aged 28. A woman’s rights activist, she served as first lady from 1993 to 2001 and as a U.S. senator from 2001 to 2009, making her the only American first lady to hold national office. After missing out on the 2008 presidency to Barack Obama, she was instead sworn in as secretary of state in January 2009 and served until 2013. During these four years, she made international gay rights a priority, stating that “gay rights” were “human rights” during an impassioned speech in Geneva in 2011, in which she urged countries to accept the LGBT community. In the years since, she has made gay rights a focus, promoting equal marriage and denouncing Russia’s treatment of its LGBT citizens.
Stephen Fry is a 58-year-old English comedian, actor, writer, presenter, and activist. Stephen originally rose to fame with his television performances, before taking acting roles in several films, including a Golden Globe Award-nominated lead performance in the film, Wilde. He has written and presented several documentary series and has hosted the BBC television quiz show, QI, since 2003. In October 2013, he presented a two-part documentary in which he explored attitudes to homosexuality and the lives of gay people in different parts of the globe. In 2014, Stephen was listed number four on the World Pride Power list. He is a strong advocate of gay rights and has been outspoken on matters from equal marriage and the Sochi Olympics to the boycotting of the Dorchester Hotel.
Lady Gaga is a 29-year-old American singer/songwriter. She rose to fame with her debut album, The Fame. Lady Gaga has global album and singles sales of 27 million and 125 million, respectively, making her one of the best-selling artists of all time. Her achievements include six Grammy Awards, 13 MTV Video Music Awards and 13 Guinness World Records. An outspoken advocate of LGBT rights worldwide, she works with charities including the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the Born This Way Foundation, GLSEN, the It Gets Better Project, the M.A.C AIDS Fund, and the Trevor Project, among others. She appeared at the National Equality March rally in 2009 and called it “the single most important event of her career.”
Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen CBE is a twice Oscar-nominated, 76-year-old English actor and recipient of every major theatrical award in the UK and the US. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s best actors. His most well-known roles include Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and as Magneto in the X-Men films. He was awarded a CBE in 1979 and knighted in 1991 for his services to the performing arts. Sir Ian came out in 1988 on BBC Radio and is one of the UK’s greatest advocates for LGBT rights. He was a co-founder of LGBT rights organisation, Stonewall, and is a patron of LGBT History Month, Pride London, Oxford Pride, GAY-GLOS, The Lesbian & Gay Foundation, FFLAG and the Albert Kennedy Trust.
Bette Midler is a 70-year-old American singer/songwriter, actor, comedian and film producer. She has won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, a special Tony Award and has sold over 35 million records worldwide. She began her singing career in humble beginnings, performing with Barry Manilow as her piano accompanist, at the Continental Baths – a gay bathhouse in New York, and has returned to sing many times. On human rights, she’s said: “I’ve had no problem raising my voice and will continue to do so. Of course, sometimes you get kicked in the face for it, but some people are always looking for someone to come down hard on. I say f**k ’em, because if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
Jennifer Saunders is a 57-year-old English comedian, actress and screen writer. She is most famous for her work as Edina Monsoon in cult television show Absolutely Fabulous and her comedic work with Dawn French as part of the duo, French and Saunders. Jennifer’s television series Absolutely Fabulous has a huge gay following, thanks to its inclusive nature; in one episode, Jennifer’s character Edina is devastated to discover that her daughter is straight! Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is set to be released in July 2016. Jennifer is a human rights activist and has worked with charities such as Amnesty International, Make Poverty History, Comic Relief, Live Aid and Dress for Success.
George Takei is a 78-year-old American actor, director, author, and activist. He rose to fame as the character Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the original television series of Star Trek. He has also starred in various television and theatre productions, including 8, a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. He came out as gay in 2005, during an interview with Frontiers magazine and revealed that he had been in a relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for 18 years. The couple got married in 2008. Since coming out, George has been a fierce advocate of LGBT rights and has been honoured with the Upstander Award at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Time to THRIVE conference 2015.