Oh my God, Kylie Minogue is such a gay icon! Is she though? As fabulous as Kylie is, what has she actually done for the gays? Apart from release numerous pop gems to dance around your handbag to and impart the following words of wisdom; “When in doubt, add more glitter”. For all Kylie’s fabulousness, I must admit that for me she is not a gay icon. This is because my idea of a gay icon is someone who has contributed significantly to LGBT causes and issues. People who have broken down stereotypes and challenged perception are also gay icons to me. So here is my list of people who I believe are genuinely gay icons.
Okay, so this is a totally obvious one and she has long been held up as a gay icon, but the truth is that Madonna really is a gay icon. She has long stood up for gay rights and was doing so in the days when it wasn’t really cool to be doing so. Even recently Madonna turned up at a GLAAD event dressed as a boy scout in protest at the scouts in America not allowing gay people to join. Madonna also protested against Russia’s treatment of gay people whilst touring in the country. This led to a court summons for Madonna and she was branded an “ex-whore” by someone in the Russian government. What I like about Madonna is that she knows exactly what she is doing. She knows that her profile as one of the most famous people on the planet will draw attention to the issues that she chooses to highlight. Then there’s Madonna’s video for her song Justify My Love, which features man on man action and lesbian cross dressing sexual games. Nobody else was doing things like that in the early 90s. We have a lot to thank Madonna for.
Skin is the lead singer of Skunk Anansie, an absolutely brilliant rock band that I encourage everyone to check out. Skin is a bald headed black lesbian who makes heavy metal music. For me this is brilliant. At the time Skunk Anansie rose to fame, black women were put into boxes as RnB singers and the idea that a black female would make hard rock music was absurd to the music industry. But Skin stuck to who she is and carried on, eventually becoming massively successful with her band. Nearly twenty years since Skunk Anansie released their first album, Skin remains one of a kind. Never one to flaunt her sexuality or claim to be any kind of gay icon, she has simply remained true to herself throughout an amazing career. So for me Skin is not only a gay icon, but an icon for black people and more simply, an icon full stop. I have learnt more from Skin than any other famous person.
3. Stephen Fry
The reason for the inclusion of Stephen Fry in the list is because I think it’s great to see a gay man on television that isn’t a stereotype and is so knowledgeable about everything (or so it seems). The man is simply wonderful.
4. Lady Gaga
Although another obvious choice, Gaga has done a lot in terms of raising awareness of LGBT issues and speaking out against discrimination. It’s well documented what Gaga has done for LGBT people, from speaking out about the suicides of gay teens in America to marching on the White House to get the controversial Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell rule abolished. If you forget about the circus act that surrounds Lady Gaga, it’s plain to see that she is an example of an amazing human being.
So there we have it, my list of gay icons. It’s a short list, but it’s an important one. The people I’ve discussed are all significant people in LGBT culture and they are all inspiring. We can learn a lot from them.