When you are a prominent celebrity in society, it’s not shocking to realize that the general public is often going to be talking about your every move. This is especially true when it comes to who you decide to date. Particularly if who you decide to date just happens to be a member of the same sex. There’s no shortage of talented and amazing members of the LGBTQ community in Hollywood, and this is a list to try and highlight 20 amazing LGBTQ members that just happen to also be outstanding musicians.
While there are definitely going to be names on this list that you recognize, I also guarantee that there will be some you don’t. Ranging from several members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to newcomers that are just breaking into the industry, there’s even a rock and roll legend that admitted he wanted to **** Mick Jagger (and spoiler, it wasn’t a woman who said it!) and another who was known by his friends for his numerous orgy parties.
We even have one incredibly prominent musician who not only is getting her own reality show next year (yuck!), but has admitted that she lied in the past about being bisexual in order to get attention.
You may be thinking “oh great, we’ll hear about Elton John, everyone knows he’s gay,” but did you know one of the biggest metal bands of all time was fronted by a gay man? And speaking of Elton, did you know his original stance was against gay marriage? There’s even a prominent musician who has come out and said she’s received constant death threats since coming out of the closet. On top of learning about their sexual orientation, you may also get some insight into who these artists are, the impact they’ve had on the world and what their next step is.
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22. David Bowie
There is no doubt that David Bowie is one of the most influential musicians of all time. There is also no doubting that Bowie had an incredibly fluid definition of sexuality, and as a result, often found himself sleeping with people of both genders. In a biography written about his life, it talks about how he and his first wife Angie “used to have the most amazing orgies at Oakley St. Everybody f—– everybody in the pit. Mick Jagger used to come there and be involved with sexual things.”
Proving that he could woo both genders, Bowie also had an affair with Susan Sarandon, who was dating Italian director Franco Amurri at the time. It was also reported that due to his addiction to cocaine, his sex drive was increased dramatically.
As a fun twist, Bowie met his wife because they were both sleeping with the same man (who was having an affair). Bowie and Angie divorced in 1980. Bowie fell in love and married Iman (a female model) in 1992, and the two were married until his unfortunate passing in 2016.
21. Joan Jett
Joan Jett is one of the biggest female rockstars of all time and is well deserving of her nickname of the Godmother of Punk and her spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. When talking about her sexuality though, Jett didn’t put a label on it, saying in an interview “I think I’m being pretty blatant. I think anybody who wants to know who I am, all they have to do is listen to the music.” She also sported a DYKE sticker on her guitar.
In 2006, Jett came out again saying that she has “never made any kind of statement about my personal life on any level. I never made any proclamations. So I don’t know where people are getting that from.”
One of the former members of The Runaways (Jett’s band) claims that there were several reasons for why she left the band, but one of them was because of the rampant lesbian sex. “It was wild. They were gay and I wasn’t. My parents had never explained to me that people are gay, I didn’t want to be around it.”
20. Rob Halford
Rob Halford has one of the most iconic voices in heavy metal history. His band Judas Priest started in 1969 and has sold over 45 million albums. Yet as prominent as his music may be, it may have been even more prominent that Halford came out of the closet in 1998. At the time, he was the first openly gay singer in the heavy metal music genre. During his public revelation, Halford said “I think that most people know that I’ve been a gay man all of my life, and it’s only been in recent times it’s an issue that I feel comfortable to address … something that I feel has a moment, and this is the moment to discuss it.”
In an interview later that date, Halford said “It’s a wonderful moment when you walk out of the closet. Now I’ve done that and I’ve freed myself.”
Halford has admitted in the past that he suffered from isolation and depression while hiding in the closet, which caused him to abuse both alcohol and drugs. Thankfully Halford has been sober since 1986 after going to rehab following an overdose on painkillers.
19. Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean worked for John Legend, Justin Bieber, and other prominent artists as a ghostwriter before he decided to start recording music under his own name. Starting out in 2010, Ocean has a fantastic career that is just getting started, and earlier this year he hinted at his second album being released in July.
Ocean came out on his Tumblr blog in 2012 stating that he first loved a man when he was 19, and continued “I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore…I feel like a free man.”
Thankfully Ocean had numerous prominent celebrities like Jay-Z reach out and support him for having the courage to come forward.
One of the biggest names in music, Russell Simmons, came out saying “today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we? […] Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear.”
18. Angel Haze
Angel Haze has been releasing mix-tapes on the internet since 2009 and in 2013 released her first album Dirty Gold. The album also included a track that was written by Sia.
Haze has identified as pansexual and as agender, stating “Love is boundary-less. If you can make me feel, if you can make me laugh – and that’s hard – then I can be with you. I don’t care if you have a vagina or if you’re a hermaphrodite or whatever” as well as that she doesn’t base all of [her] relationships off of sex, to kind of identify as pansexual, to [her], means to just want love.”
Haze has had a relationship with Ireland Baldwin in the past who is a model, and the daughter of Alec Baldwin.
17. Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera has shown that she is not afraid to lock lips with a female. Just take one look at her making out with Madonna at the VMA’s and it should be clear that her sexuality is more fluid. Back in 2004, Aguilera said “two women are way sexier than two men in bed. We have a better feel for our bodies. I love experimenting with my sexuality. Sex is a beautiful thing. I like having sex. It’s fun.”
Later on in her career, Aguilera said “If I want to be sexual, it’s for my own appreciation and enjoyment! That’s why I like to talk about the fact that sometimes I am attracted to women. I appreciate their femininity and beauty.”
16. Brooke Candy
There are a few artists on this list that have worked with Sia, and you can add Candy to the list. Brooke Candy’s debut album Daddy Issues was executively produced by Sia who was also a prominent songwriter on the album, which has yet to be released. That being said, there are 3 singles out there from the album that you can track down and you can imagine once it drops, it will be played absolutely everywhere. Prior to trying to make it as a musician, Candy spent 8 months working in a strip club where she may have been doing a bit more partying than now.
In an interview with HungerTV, Candy said she first identified as being gay, but later understood it more as being pansexual. While she has not had a prominent relationship, Candy Is still only 26 years old and you can imagine her image is only going to increase.
15. Elton John
You aren’t going to be able to write a list about gay musicians and not include Elton John. The accolades for John go on and on, but on top of his numerous awards, in 2014 he was considered to be the most successful male solo artist of all time by the Billboard top 100. Elton John has also started the Elton John AIDS Foundation and helped to raise over $200 million.
In 1976, John came out as being bisexual and came out as gay in 1988. The revelation came after his marriage with Renate Blauel came to an end, a marriage that many people speculated was a cover for Elton John being gay.
Elton John started dating David Furnish in 1993 and the two got officially married in 2014. They have two children together. While at one point Elton John was a supporter of civil partnerships over marriage for gay people, he later changed his stance and was a huge supporter of same-sex marriage. In 2012, John said “there is a world of difference between calling someone your ‘partner’ and calling them your ‘husband.’ ‘Partner’ is a word that should be preserved for people you play tennis with, or work alongside in business. It doesn’t come close to describing the love that I have for David, and he for me. In contrast, ‘husband’ does.”
14. Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin’s documentary that was released in 2015 was incredibly well received by critics, but one of the biggest knocks on the film was that it downplayed the role of women in Joplin’s sexuality. Joplin had a relationship with several women, including Peggy Caserta who had an on-again, off-again relationship for years with Joplin and Jae Whitaker. When Amy Berg, who wrote and directed the documentary, was asked about Joplin’s sexuality, she said “I feel like Janis loved everybody and she loved feeling loved. And it wasn’t gender-based. It was based on being in the moment.”
Joplin passed away at the age of 27 after suffering an overdose of heroin that was allegedly far more potent than normal. In fact, several other people who bought from Joplin’s dealer had also overdosed that week. To make things all the sadder, Jimi Hendrix, who was also only 27, had died 16 days before that after choking on his own vomit while under the influence of barbiturates.
13. Azealia Banks
Banks is only 25 years old but has a bright future ahead of her. Her first album was released in 2014 and was generally well-received. Her most recent mix-tape, Slay-Z, features a nude Banks on the cover, was released in March 2016, and also has a track that features Rick Ross.
Banks has openly identified herself as bisexual but has also openly discussed her disdain for labels. “I’m not trying to be, like, the bisexual, lesbian rapper. I don’t live on other people’s terms,” she says, but she has not engaged in any public relationships with another woman.
12. Pete Townshend
The Who is one of the greatest bands of all time, so if you don’t know who Pete Townshend is, I just feel sorry for you. Townshend has been rocking out since 1962, and as someone who saw The Who earlier this year, I can assure you they still know how to command a stage. Townshend has opened up in the past about his bisexuality and in 1989, pointed out in an interview that his 1980 song, “Rough Boys” was his “coming out, an acknowledgment of the fact that I’d had a gay life, and that I understood what gay sex was about.”
While that definitely makes you think he’s bisexual, Townshend said in 1994 that when he said “gay life” he was referring to the fact that he had friends that were gay. That being said, in his 2012 memoir, Who I Am, Townshend admitted that Mick Jagger was “the only man I’ve ever seriously wanted to ****.” He also admitted to having an affair with Danny Fields who was a British journalist.
11. Nicki Minaj
There are many people out there who are huge fans of Minaj, but they may not be quite as vocal as the fans that cannot stand her. One of the biggest reasons why she gets some hate is because the star always seems to be doing something that just makes it look like she’s screaming for attention. Like, oh I don’t know, lying about your sexual preferences? In an interview with Rolling Stone, Minaj admitted that earlier in her career she had claimed that she was bisexual because she wanted to try and attract some media attention and get some headlines. She later said “I think girls are sexy. But I’m not going to lie and say that I date girls.”
I guess what she means is, I’m not going to lie anymore now that I’m already famous. Minaj’s next project is going to be working on a television series that is to be based around her childhood in Queens, New York. The series, Nicki, is hoping to air in 2016.
10. Ricky Martin
I’m going to apologize right now if the song “Livin’ la Vida Loca” is going to be stuck in your head for the rest of today. Ricky Martin is one of the most successful Latin artists of all time, having released 10 albums as a solo artist. Martin was in an on-off relationship with Rebecca de Alba for over 14 years, but he is currently dating Jwan Yosef who is a Swedish painter.
Martin’s sexuality was first called into question after his popular song (LLVL) was a huge hit in the gay community. In 2000, during an interview with The Mirror, Martin said “I don’t think I should have to tell anyone if I am gay or not, or who I’ve slept with or not.”
Nobody can fault him for wanting his privacy. But later in his career, in 2010, Martin opened up to the world as a gay man, saying “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am, these years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.”
9. Melissa Etheridge
Melissa Etheridge first came out as being a lesbian in January 1993. She was a huge supporter of Bill Clinton’s run for president, largely because of his stance on gay rights. As a multiple Grammy award winning artist, Etheridge is one of the most respected names in the music industry. In fact, she even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Shortly after coming out, Etheridge was asked her opinion on whether homosexual partners should be able to raise children. She responded, “I think one of the many fears people have about homosexuality is around children. I think that the more gay parents raise good, strong, compassionate people, the better the world will be.”
Etheridge dated Julie Cypher for several years, and the two had two children together. After Cypher started to question her own sexuality, the relationship ended. Shortly after, Etheridge started dating Tammy Lynn Michaels.
They dated for several years, but unfortunately, they also separated. The two also had two children together. Etheridge finally was able to get it right for the long haul, getting married to Linda Wallem back in 2014. Let’s hope she won’t be writing a breakup song anytime soon.
8. Tegan and Sara
When it comes to being gay, one of the toughest things that you may have to experience is coming out to your family. To make things even more unusual, how about if your twin sister (who’s also your musical other-half) also turns out to be gay as well? Tegan admitted in interviews that she first realized she was gay around the age of 12, which was also around the time that Sara started to also feel she was a lesbian. The duo was awarded the Outstanding Musical Artist award at the GLAAD Media Awards in 2014, and when asked about it, Tegan said “I think this year, because we were able to reach so many more people, and we were getting on to pop radio and talking openly about who we are and our sexuality, I think a lot of people in the gay community took notice.”
While they have admitted in the past that they had fears about being labelled, Tegan has said “I don’t know of other gay bands that are being celebrated in the mainstream right now on pop radio in the United States. And that was our goal.”
7. Clay Aiken
Clay Aiken being gay may not be the biggest shocker in the world, but it definitely became one of the biggest stories. Especially when you consider that prior to coming out, Aiken would deny in interviews (or simply ignore the question) when he was asked about his sexuality. Aiken decided to come out of the closet in 2008 to People magazine in an article titled “No More Secrets.”
Aiken came out after it was revealed that he was going to have a son via in-vitro fertilization, saying in an interview, “It was the first decision I made as a father, I cannot raise a child to lie or hide things. I wasn’t raised that way.”
Aiken admitted in the interview that he had realized he was gay in college, but was worried that this admission could still impact his fan-base (as could having a child out of wedlock). When talking about his this has impacted his relationship with his mother, Aiken said she was “very supportive and very comforting. It’s not been a very easy thing for her—without question—at all. And she still struggles with things quite a bit, but she’s come a long way.”
Mika is a British songwriter who last released an album, No Place In Heaven in 2015 and has also worked with Pharrell Williams on his song, “Celebrate.” His latest (and 4th album) is described by MIKA as being “direct, low-down, open, candid, playful, yet a mature pop album which takes its inspiration from ’60s pop music, very much the way my first album did.”
When first talking about his sexuality in 2009, “I’ve never ever labelled myself. But having said that; I’ve never limited my life, I’ve never limited who I sleep with… Call me whatever you want. Call me bisexual, if you need a term for me.” And in another interview, said “I consider myself label-less because I could fall in love with anybody – literally – any type, any body. I’m not picky.”
5. George Michael
George Michael debuted in 1987 and has gone on to sell more than 80 million records, so I guess it’s fair to say that people tend to know who he is. Michael apparently first came out to close friends when he was 19 saying that he was bisexual, and in 1999 said in an interview, “Falling in love with a man that ended his conflict over bisexuality. I never had a moral problem with being gay, I thought I had fallen in love with a woman a couple of times. Then I fell in love with a man, and realized that none of those things had been love.”
When talking about his time with his band Wham! Michael admits that while he slept with plenty of women, that he never wanted to make a deep commitment to them. By the time Wham! was ending, Michael said he was starting to make the realization that he wasn’t just bisexual, but gay.
Michael’s sexuality became a very public matter in 1998 when he was arrested for “engaging in a lewd act” in Beverly Hills, California. When talking about the incident, Michael stated “I got followed into the restroom and then this cop—I didn’t know it was a cop, obviously—he started playing this game, which I think is called, ‘I’ll show you mine, you show me yours, and then when you show me yours, I’m going to nick you!’”
4. Chely Wright
Wright has released 7 albums and has an 8th one on the way, and given that her first one came out in 1994, you can imagine she’s not new to the music scene. Wright has admitted that she first had her same-sex relationship when she was 19 and that from 1993-2004, Wright had a relationship with another woman. Their relationship allegedly continued despite both women having heterosexual relationships but struggled towards the end because neither woman thought it would be acceptable to come out of the closet.
While she never had any sexual attraction to him, Wright had an affair with Brad Paisley in 2000. It was reported in 2010 by People magazine that Wright was coming out as gay, a decision she made to help give support to gay youth and teenagers that feel the pressure to hide themselves. Wright is currently married to Lauren Blitzer and the two have 2 children together.
When talking about coming out of the closet, Wright opened up about all the negativity that came her way, saying “It didn’t help my career. My record sales went directly in half. If it appears from the outside in that it’s helped my career, it could be because I haven’t talked about the negative. You won’t hear me bitching and moaning on my Facebook about the hate mail I’ve gotten. My life has been threatened. I get nasty letters every day, ‘I’m through with you Chely Wright, you’re going to hell’. There’s a big difference between press and advocacy and sometimes people forget that people who sing or make movies, this isn’t just a hobby for us. This is how I pay my bills. In coming out I had a feeling that it would diminish my wage earning, and that feeling was correct. And, I am fine with that.”
Deadlee started out in 2000 and in 2002 released his first album in which he openly talks about “big topic issues” such as race, sexuality and police brutality. It is known as being one of the first albums that was released during the “homo hop” movement of the early 2000s in which rappers were starting to come out.
That’s not to say he was always beloved though. In fact, he was banned from the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival, but he gained more acceptance as his career has grown. Since then, he’s performed at various LGBT events, including the West Los Angeles Pride Festival. Deadlee has opened up in the past, attacking Eminem, DMX and 50 Cent, calling them homophobic, but it did not significantly hinder his career. Deadlee also appeared in the LOGO Network documentary series, Hip Hop Homos as well as in the homo-hip hop documentary, Pick Up the Mic.
2. Lady Gaga
You want to hear some girl drama? Well how about you just get Lady Gaga in the same room as Nicki Minaj and ask her thoughts on Minaj lying about her sexuality to get sales. Gaga is a huge advocate for the LGBTQ community and songs like “Born this Way” have been influential in helping those who are struggling to come out. When talking about her sexuality back in 2013, Gaga said “It’s not a lie that I am bisexual and I like women, and anyone that wants to twist this into ‘she says she’s bisexual for marketing,’ this is a f—ing lie. This is who I am and who I have always been.”
There are also reports that Lady Gaga engaged in a threesome with her fiance Taylor Kinney and his co-star on the show Chicago Fire, Monica Raymund. Combining work with pleasure is always a dangerous game, let’s hope they’ve got some solid communication.
1. Adam Lambert
Similar to Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert did not come out about his sexuality while he was making headlines on the reality show American Idol. While Lambert did not win, he has released 3 albums since being on the show and has been working with Queen since 2011. This includes going also on a worldwide tour from 2014 to 2016 as the lead vocalist of the legendary band. Lambert was in a relationship with Finnish TV reporter, Sauli Koskinen but they split up in 2013.
When talking about his role as a celebrity, Lambert was quick to point out the opportunity he has been given. “[I] feel like with celebrity and visibility and fame, there’s a responsibility to try to give back and try to use the visibility for the greater good. It’s not all about me. It’s about trying to raise awareness and getting people to take action.”
In an interview in 2015, Lambert admitted that he’s slept with several men who are prominent celebrities but are still in the closet, saying that perhaps it is because of ‘Tinseltown’s Macho culture’ that makes some stars nervous about coming out.