Global icon 2015

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.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton, an American singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, actress, author, and philanthropist, is widely regarded as the biggest female country music star of all time. Born in Tennessee in 1946, she has had a career which spans almost six decades. Parton is the most honored female country performer of all time, with 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. Dolly has been an outspoken advocate for her gay fan base, declaring her support for equal marriage and holds an annual ‘Gay Day’ for her LGBTI fans at her theme park – Dollywood.

Sir Elton John

Sir Elton John is worldwide music icon and champion of LGBT rights. Born in England, the 67-year-old has been involved in the fight against AIDS since the 1980s. He has sold over 300 million records in a career spanning five decades so far. Elton has been bisexual since 1976, and openly gay since 1988. In 1992, he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation, a charity which has raised in excess of $200 million to preventing HIV/AIDS and supporting those living with HIV/AIDS. A year later began hosting the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party, which has since become one of the highest-profile Oscar parties in Hollywood. He married his partner, David Furnish, in 2005, and again, when gay marriage became legal in England, in 2014. Elton John is arguably one of the most prolific champions of LGBT social movements and same-sex marriage worldwide.

Joan Collins

Joan Collins is a Golden Globe Winner and Emmy nominee. As an accomplished actress, author, producer, humanitarian and entrepreneur, Joan Collins has built a career that places her in the unrivalled ranks of international superstar and icon. She has appeared in more than 60 feature films and dozens of television series, including creating the role of Alexis Carrington on Dynasty, one of the most highly rated television dramas of all time. In recognition of a lifetime of contributions to the arts, culture and charitable causes, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II honoured Joan Collins with an O.B.E title in 1997, and most recently a Damehood in the 2015 Honours List. Joan attributes her gay following to her role on Dynasty, in which she was one of the first characters on television to have a gay son.

Hillary Clinton

Chicago-born Hillary Clinton 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 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 left her post, she has made gay rights a focus, heavily promoting equal marriage and denouncing Russia’s treatment of its LGBT citizens.

Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue, is a singer-songwriter and actress. With almost 3 decades in the music industry, she’s sold more than 70 million albums worldwide. In 2008, Kylie was awarded an OBE for her services to music. In her own words, Kylie says she “didn’t become a gay icon or become popular in the gay community for doing something specific. That happened just because I was being myself”. Kylie is a supporter of equal marriage and has headlined Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the largest gay pride festival in the world. Minogue has one of the largest gay followings in the world.

Tom Daley

Tom Daley is a diver and television personality, born in Plymouth. He was the youngest competitor to participate in a final at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where he was represented Great Britain and went on to win a bronze meal in the individual competition of the 2012 Summer Olympics. In 2009, Daley reached a career best ranking of number one in the FINA World Diving Rankings for the ten-metre platform. He won two gold medals for England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Tom was a mentor on celebrity diving reality TV show Splash! in 2013. At the height of his public popularity, Tom revealed he was bisexual in a homemade video, which he released on the internet. He has inspired a young generation of LGBT people by coming out.

Tom Ford

54-year-old fashion designer and film director, Tom Ford, was the Creative Director of Gucci from 1994-2004, before founding his own fashion brand – Tom Ford – in 2004. In 2009, he directed his first film, A Single Man, starring Colin Firth. The film was nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards. Tom is openly gay and has been with his partner and husband, ex- Vogue Hommes editor, Richard Buckley, since 1986. In 2012, the couple welcomed their first child to the world.

Ellen Degeneres

Ellen Degeneres is one of the powerful women on television, and arguably one of the world’s most visible gay/lesbian role models. Born in Louisiana, 57-year-old Ellen DeGeneres was as a stand-up comedian before starring on her own internationally aired sitcom, Ellen.In 1997, both her and her character in the sitcom came out as gay, with ABC cancelling the show in 1998. A staunch advocate of LGBT rights, Ellen married girlfriend, Portia de Rossi, in 2004 (before Prop 8 came into force). She continues to use her popularity to promote gay rights and animal rights.