It’s no secret that this world doesn’t function properly without the help of gay talent and personalities. And in honor of International Women’s Day, we’re taking a look at some iconic divas that not only recognize – but share this very same sentiment. Here’s a list of Pop Culture Icons who just so happen to be huge fans and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community.
Elizabeth Taylor – The star of the Golden Age of Hollywood and a two time Oscar winning actress, it’s no surprise that Taylor’s last public sighting was in 2008 at the infamous “The Abbey” in West Hollywood, CA. Taylor was adored by millions of gay people for her pioneering career (filled with fashion, diamonds and men… plenty of men) but it was her selfless work and millions of dollars raised for the Fight Against AIDS that helped to solidify her gay icon status.Taylor was one of the first public figures to bring awareness to the AIDS epidemic, long before any other celebrity or political figure thought to show empathy to those who contracted the then deadly virus.
Beyoncé – A cultural monolith, Beyoncé has long urged for people to protect their friends, family, children and to love them in their “truest form”. She received the GLAAD Vanguard award in 2019 for her support to the community. The Grammy goddess joined President Obama’s “Dear Class of 2020” congratulatory livestream to tell the youth to “never stop being yourself” and to let them know that their “queerness is beautiful”.
Mariah Carey – Legendary. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Tantalizing. Quality. Yes, all terms that can be used to describe the female diva with the most Billboard #1 hit songs – but it’s also how the five time Grammy award winner chose to describe her friends and supporters in the LGBTQ community. Carey receive the “Ally Award” from GLAAD in 2016, wishing everyone in the community “love, peace and harmony”. Mariah has a legion of gay supporters, globally, that has catapulted her to Gay Icon status. Mariah also has #1 hits that the gay community heavily resonates its, like “Through the Rain” or “I Am Free”.
Queen Latifah – The Oscar nominated and Grammy winning entertainer has not only been a powerhouse act in Hollywood but her support to the LGBTQ+ community has been equally as impressive. From portraying the iconic butch lesbian mastermind “Cleo” in the cult classic Set it Off, to the bisexual Blues legend “Bessie Smith” or maybe her Oscar nominated performance in Chicago, Latifah has cemented her status as a Hollywood heavyweight and as an ally to the community. Her most public lending of support could possibly have been at the 56th annual Grammy awards, where Latifah helped to marry several gay couples during a live televised performance of “Same Love”. Not to mention Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y’ Grammy winning song is on heavy repeat during Pride celebrations throughout the world.
Madonna – Christopher Flynn, Madonna’s gay ballet teacher was the first person to tell her that she was a star and had something to offer the world. He encouraged her to move from Detroit to New York City to pursue a career in entertainment and well… the rest is history. Madonna’s unconditional love and support for the LGBTQ+ community never wavered. She is considered by many to be the greatest gay icon of all time. When Flynn was diagnosed with AIDS in the late 1980’s, Madonna used her global fame to bring awareness and to raise money for HIV/AIDS related charities. Madonna has had many historic moments that lends her support, like the iconic “Vogue” song/video. She even helped another gay icon, Ellen DeGeneres in feeling comfortable to come out.
Naomi Campbell – Being one of the original Supermodels is worthy of a mention on any diva or gay icon list, but the ever youthful Naomi Campbell has so many reasons off of the runway which qualifies her for a shoutout on this list. Not only has she acknowledged that without gay men, she would not have the career that she has had but she also fights for gay rights in regions of this world where homophobia is still a punishable offense. Naomi attended a GLAAD event and on the red carpet alluded to the fact that not only her career (but the industry) wouldn’t move without the talents of gay people – from hair stylists, make up artists, designers, photographers and beauty technicians. Naomi was very close with the late Andre Leon Talley and is dear friends with British Vogue editor Edward Enninful.
Cher – This legend has long been a gay icon. Cher recalls being introduced to the gay community at just 9 years old, after realizing that both she and the gay community never felt like they “fit in”. Cher’s son, Chaz Bono, came out as trans in 2009. A pioneer in every sense of the word, Cher earned a record breaking $300,000 a week for her Las Vegas residency from 1979 to 1982. And her 1998 hit song “Believe” has become a global gay anthem.
TS Madison – Certainly the “rookie” on this list of divas and women that have contributed to the advancement of the LGBTQ+ community, TS Madison has still had an impact in her short career. While she has been grinding for years, the former sex worker has made the leap from her self produced YouTube show to being the first black trans woman with her own cable network reality show, The TS Madison Experience – and now her own talk show, Turnt Out with TS Madison on Fox Soul. A loud and proud advocate for her community, TS Madison will proudly let you know that while she was not born female, she is a woman. And she’s black first and trans second.
Diana Ross – She certainly has paid the cost to be the Boss. Miss Ross, a luminary in the music industry, is easily one of the most popular drag impersonations globally. The sparkle, the feathers, the hair. She has been worshipped by gay men throughout her legendary decades long career. She championed for gay love long before it was popular to do so, telling The Advocate in 1999 that “love is love and maybe you don’t need it to be legal. It seems like guys, girls, whatever should be able to live together without a legal contract”, encouraging people to be with their soulmates, no matter the gender and despite what the court or law may think. Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” is a global gay anthem.
Kim Cattrall – Let’s be honest, what gay man doesn’t have a little bit of Sam Jones in them? Cattrall’s iconic portrayal of “Samantha Jones” in Sex and the City easily made her popular amongst the gays. But it was her actual support of the community that solidified her status as a gay icon. She was honored at the GLAAD awards for “using her platform to speak out for equality”. She has also joined the cast of the highly anticipated “Queer as Folk” reboot.
Jennifer Lopez – I mean if sparkly outfits, fierce dance moves and several #1 pop songs aren’t enough to grab the gays’ attention, than certainly advocating and raising money for the LGBTQ+ community will do it. J’Lo has been a long time ally of the community, first realizing how difficult the journey for a lot of gay people can be after witnessing how lonely her gay Aunt Myrna felt. Since, Lopez has received the GLAAD Vanguard award, has publicly been in support of gay marriage and has raised money for the victims of the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting.
Tina Turner – Simply the Best. Tina had to know that she was talking about herself when she penned this hit. Resilience, style and passion – all things that the gay community resonates with. And they are certainly qualities that have catapulted Tina Turner to both a global and gay icon. Tina is heavily portrayed by fierce drag performers – from Las Vegas shows to small town local venues. Recently, a musical based on Turner’s legendary career and life was adapted for Broadway. The community looks to Turner’s strength and will to survive as fierce inspiration. Her hit singles like “What’s love got to do with it” and “Private dancer” have become cherished melodies in the LGBTQ+ community.
There are obviously a plethora of iconic women that weren’t included on this short list. In honor of International Women’s Day, who would you have mentioned as a woman who happens to be a gay icon in support of the LGBTQ+ community?