Gay musicians have made a significant impact on the music industry, using their platforms to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and representation. From popstars to indie artists, these musicians have created a wide range of memorable and meaningful music that has resonated with LGBTQ+ and ally audiences around the world. Here are some gay musicians who have made their mark in the industry and continue to inspire and empower listeners:
- Sir Elton Hercules John CH CBE is an English singer, songwriter, pianist and composer. Collaborating with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967 on more than 30 albums, John has sold over 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He is openly gay and is married to Canadian filmmaker David Furnish.
- George Michael was an openly gay, British singer, songwriter and record producer. Known as a leading creative force in music production, songwriting, vocal performance and visual presentation, he is regarded as one of the greatest artists of his generation and an icon of popular culture.
- David Robert Jones OAL, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer-songwriter and actor. A leading figure in the music industry, Bowie is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. "I'm gay," declared David Bowie, "and always have been, even when I was David Jones."
- Freddie Mercury was a British singer, songwriter, record producer, and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. Regarded as one of the greatest singers in the history of rock music, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. He once stated that he was bisexual and engaged in relationships with both women and men.
- Troye Sivan Mellet is an Australian singer-songwriter, actor, and YouTuber. After gaining popularity as a singer on YouTube and in Australian talent competitions, Sivan signed with EMI Australia in 2013 and released his third extended play, TRXYE, which peaked at number five on the US Billboard 200.
- Frank Ocean is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, rapper, photographer, and visual artist. He is recognized for his idiosyncratic musical style, introspective and elliptical songwriting, and wide vocal range. Ocean came out as bisexual in a beautiful Tumblr note he posted.
Lil Nas X
- Montero Lamar Hill, known by his stage name Lil Nas X, is an American rapper and singer-songwriter. He rose to prominence with the release of his country rap single "Old Town Road". On June 30, 2019, the last day of Pride Month, Lil Nas X came out publicly as gay, tweeting: "some of y'all already know, some of y'all don't care, some of y'all not gone fwm no more.”
- Adam Mitchel Lambert is an American singer, songwriter and actor. Since 2009, he has sold over 3 million albums and 5 million singles worldwide. Lambert rose to fame in 2009 after finishing as runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol. He confirmed that he was gay in a Rolling Stone cover interview.
- George Alan O'Dowd, known professionally as Boy George, is an English singer, songwriter, DJ, fashion designer, photographer and record producer. He is the lead singer of the pop band Culture Club. In his 1995 autobiography Take It Like a Man, George stated that he was actually gay, not bisexual, and that he had secret relationships with punk rock singer Kirk Brandon and Culture Club drummer, Jon Moss.
- Enrique Martín Morales, better known as Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, actor, author, record producer, and humanitarian who is known as the "King of Latin Pop" and the "Latin Music King". He began his career at age 12 with the all-boy pop group Menudo. He has openly struggled with his sexuality as a gay man but is now happily raising a family with his husband.
- Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright is an American-Canadian singer, songwriter, and composer. He has recorded nine albums of original music and numerous tracks on compilations and film soundtracks. He has also written two classical operas and set Shakespeare's sonnets to music for a theater piece by Robert Wilson. Wainwright identified as gay while a teenager. In 1999, he told Rolling Stone that his father recognized his homosexuality early on.
- Jason Thomas Mraz is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. In 2002 he released his debut studio album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, which contained the single "The Remedy" that reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, his first top-40 hit in the US. He came out as bisexual in 2018.
- Samuel Frederick Smith is an English singer and songwriter. They rose to prominence in October 2012 after being featured on Disclosure's breakthrough single "Latch", which peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart. In May 2014, Smith came out to the public as gay.
- RuPaul Andre Charles, known as RuPaul, is an American drag queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter, television personality, and author. In 2017, he married his husband, painter Georges LeBar. They have an open marriage, with RuPaul stating he would not want to "put restraints" on the person he loves.