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Reader’s Poll: The 25 Most Important LGBT Musicians

Reader's Poll: The 25 Most Important LGBT Musicians

June is Pride Month, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall riots and asking all of us to remember how we got where we are today. So we thought it might be fun to start up an annual Pride Month poll here at /bent, asking our readers to tell us the films, television shows, songs and people (both fictional and real) that have been important to them in the past 45 years. 

Check out all the results for every poll here.

Seventy-two people responded, and we’ll be sharing the results over the next few weeks, with the fifth poll up today: The most important LGBT musicians or bands of the last 45 years. 

Now, before we get to the results: We do realize doing this kind of thing is highly subjective, which is why we’re going with “most important” and not “best.” We hoped that what resulted was eclectic mix of musicians that have helped shape the queer cultural landscape. And we think it really is. But here are some interesting things to note before you go through the list: 

  • The “points” listed next to each film refers to the way we tabulated things. People voted in top 10 lists, so if the person was #1, it got 10 points, #2 got 9 points, etc. 
  • Men made up for the majority with 16, with 9 women represented.
  • Just over half of the list was made up by Americans, with 13. Canada and the UK split the rest, with 4 from the former and 8 from the latter. Notably, the top 10 was 5 from the UK, 3 Americans and 2 Canadians. 
  • The genres represented were all of the place, from pop to folk to hip hop to rock to electronic to jazz.
  • Newer artists did represent, with Frank Ocean, Tegan & Sara, Lady Gaga and Beth Ditto all in the top 16. Though that said, we were pleasantly surprised to see the list generally dominated by older acts. 14 of the 25 began their careers in the 1980s or earlier.
  • And in case you’re curious, the 10 runner-ups, in order of votes, were: Indigo Girls, Ricky Martin, The B52s, Owen Palllett, Alison Goldfrapp, Jonsi, Jamie Stewart, Azis, Sia and The Hidden Cameras (which frankly is a pretty amazing 10 in itself).

So without further ado, we present the 25 most important LGBT musicians, according to you. Definitely use the comments section to discuss your thoughts and/or your own choices, but remember – these were your picks – do don’t blame us if your offended about their quality or lack of diversity through the LGBT spectrum. And watch the clips!

24 (tie). Tracy Chapman – 41 points

24 (tie). Scissor Sisters – 41
23. RuPaul – 43

21 (tie). Peaches – 44

21 (tie). Bob Mould – 44

Check out all the results for every poll here.

20. Ani diFranco – 46

19. Boy George – 50

18. Meshell Ndegeocello – 52

16 (tie). Pet Shop Boys – 55
16 (tie). Beth Ditto – 55

15. Sylvester – 58

14. Tegan & Sara – 71

13. Antony Hegarty – 72

12. Lady Gaga – 75

11. Jobriath – 78

Check out all the results for every poll here.

10. George Michael – 86

9. Michael Stipe – 89

8. Frank Ocean – 96

7. Rufus Wainwright – 102

6. Morrissey – 108
5. kd lang – 116

4. David Bowie – 137
3. Melissa Etheridge – 140
2. Freddie Mercury – 164
1. Elton John – 180

This Article is related to: Lists



What hipster asshole put this list together where all these small time acts are higher on the list than RuPaul? I really don't get it. You need some text to back this selection up. And reading this list a few months later, now that we know Lady Gaga has come out as "straight" just makes this more of an affront. And def the absence of Madonna felt on this bullshit list. But what do I expect from people who put Blue as the Warmest color before Hedwig and the Angry Inch and don't include Velvet Goldmine (too indie for you?).


Kind of flabbergasted that Madonna isn't on this list. Obviously bisexual and done more for gay rights and AIDS visibility than any of the non-mainstream artists on there combined (and most of the mainstream ones, to boot). This is self-ghettoization at its most obvious.


I miss Placebo on this list. They are truly amazing, Brian Molko is bisexual, Steven Olsdal is gay and the other Steven is straight. It's a remarkable group of people

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