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  • Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 - 1989)
    Robert Mapplethorpe was an American photographer, known for his sensitive yet blunt treatment of controversial subject-matter in the large-scale, highly stylized black and white medium of photography. ...
  • Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985)
    Rock Hudson was an American actor. Hudson is generally known for his turns as a leading man in the 1950s and 1960s and is viewed as a prominent actor and 'heartthrob' of the Hollywood Golden Age. He ac...
  • Erik Bruhn (1928 - 1986)
    Erik Bruhn was a Danish danseur, choreographer, artistic director, actor, and author. During his career, he was an international phenomenon and regarded by many as the finest dancer in the world. He ...
  • Rudolf Nureyev (1938 - 1993)
    Rudolf Xämät ulı Nuriev, también conocido como Rudolf Jamétovich Nuréyev (nótese que su nombre es Rudólf, no Rúdolf) (en cirílico &...
  • Tori Amos
    Tori Amos is an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. She is the daughter of Mary Ellen (Copeland) and The Rev. Dr. Edison McKinley Amos. She has English ancestry, along with smaller amou...

A gay icon is a public figure (historical or current) who is embraced by many within lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.


Gay icons often include glamour, flamboyance, strength through adversity, and androgyny in presentation.

Such icons may be of any sexuality or gender; they may also be closeted or open with their sexual orientation and gender identity. Although most gay icons have given their support to LGBT social movements, some have expressed opposition – advocating against a perceived "homosexual agenda".

Historical icons

Icons are typically elevated to such status because their sexual orientation remains a topic of great debate among historians.

Modern gay icons, who are predominantly female entertainers, commonly garner a large following within LGBT communities over the course of their careers. The majority of gay icons fall into one of two categories: the tragic, sometimes martyred figure or the prominent pop culture idol.

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