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Reader’s Poll: The 25 Most Important LGBT Fictional Characters

Reader's Poll: The 25 Most Important LGBT Fictional Characters

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 seventh poll up today: The most important LGBT characters 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 fictional characters 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. 
  • Two characters would have made the list but were disqualified: George Falconer from “A Single Man,” because he originated in Christopher Isherwood’s pre-Stonewall book, and Brandon Teena from “Boys Don’t Cry” – because he is not fictional.
  • We paired characters on 4 occasions, so there’s actually 29 listed below.
  • As expected, fictional men made up for the vast majority with 18, while 11 were women. 
  • 16 of the 29 identify as gay, while 6 are lesbians, 2 bisexuals and 4 trans folk.
  • Seven of the characters originated on television, 6 on film, 4 on stage and 3 in books.
  • A whopping 14 of the characters on this list originated in the gay ’90s, the most represented decade. Six came out of the 2000s, 3 from the 1980s, 2 from the 2010s, and one from the 1970s (though the latter was your #1).
  • And in case you’re curious, the 10 runner-ups, in order of votes, were: Billy Elliot (Billy Elliot); Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter); Nick Guest (The Line of Beauty); Jodie Dallas (Soap); Bette Porter (The L Word); Hal Fields (Beginners); Maurice Hall (Maurice); Adele (Blue is the Warmest Color); Ian Gallagher (Shamless); Joe Pitt (Angels in America)

So without further ado, we present the 25 most important LGBT fictional characters, 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. 

      25. Megan Bloomfield – 52

    From: “But I’m a Cheerleader” (1999, film)
    Played By: Natasha Lyonne

    24. Mikey Waters – 54
    From: “My Own Private Idaho” (1991, film)
    Played By: River Phoenix

    22 (tie). Willow Rosenberg – 59
    From: “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003, TV series)
    Played By: Alyson Hannigan 

    22 (tie). Ned Weeks – 59

    From: “The Normal Heart” (1985, play; 2014, TV movie)
    Played By: Brad Davis (original production); Mark Ruffalo (TV movie)

    21. Lisbeth Salander – 63

    From: “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” (2005, book; 2009 Swedish film; 2011 US film)
    Played By: Noomi Rapace (Swedish film); Rooney Mara (US film)


    20. Brian Kinney Stuart Allan Jones – 68 (total)
    From: “Queer as Folk” (1999-2000 UK; 2000-05 US, TV series)
    Played By: Gale Harold & Aiden Gillen
    Note: We combined these two because it seemed like the characters of both incarnations of “Queer as Folk” were splitting their vote despite getting nearly 200 votes between them all. Kinney got 41 and Jones got 27, while Justin Taylor (24), Michael Novotny (21) Nathan Maloney (19), Emmett Honeycutt (18), Vince Tyler (15), Lindsay Peterson (10) and Melanie Marcus (6) all got votes as well.
    19. Jack McFarland – 70
    From: “Will & Grace” (1998-2006, TV series)
    Played By: Sean Hayes

    18. Bernadette Bassinger – 71
    From: “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (1994, film; 2011 Broadway musical)
    Played By: Terence Stamp (film); Tony Sheldon (Broadway)

    17. Kurt Hummell – 74
    From: “Glee” (2009-present, TV series)
    Played By: Chris Colfer


    16. Mitchell & Cam – 78

    From: “Modern Family” (2009-present, TV series)
    Played By: Jesse Tyler Ferguson & Eric Stonestreet
    Note: Another pairing, with 72 of the 78 votes coming paired (Cam got 5 of his own votes, Mitchell got 1).

    Check out all the results for every poll here.

    15. Nancy Bartlett – 79
    From: “Roseanne” (1991-97, TV series)
    Played By: Sandra Bernhard

    13 (tie). Patrick – 82
    From: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (1999, book; 2012, film)
    Played By: Ezra Miller (film)

    13 (tie). Nic & Jules – 82
    From: “The Kids Are All Right”(2010, film)
    Played By: Annette Bening & Julianne Moore
    Note: Like Ennis & Jack from “Brokeback,” we paired these two together, though 75 of those 82 votes actually came from voters doing the same.

    12. Sophia Burset  – 85
    From: “Orange Is The New Black” (2013-present, TV series)
    Played By: Laverne Cox

    11. Steven Carrington – 86
    From: “Dynasty” (1981-89, TV series)
    Played By: Al Corley

    Check out all the results for every poll here.

    10. Andrew Beckett – 90

    From: “Philadelphia” (1993, film)
    Played By: Tom Hanks

    9. Celie – 93
    From: “The Color Purple” (1982 book; 1985 film; 2005 musical)
    Played By: Whoopi Goldberg (film); LaChanze (musical)

    8. Prior Walter – 99
    From: “Angels in America” (1993 play; 2003 TV miniseries)
    Played By: Stephen Spinella (original Broadway production); Justin Kirk (TV miniseries)

    7. Will Truman – 112
    From: “Will & Grace” (1998-2006, TV series)
    Played By: Eric McCormack

    6. David Fisher – 115

    From: “Six Feet Under” (2001-2005, TV series)
    Played By: Michael C. Hall

    5. Enrique “Rickie” Vasquez – 122
    From: “My So-Called Life” (1994-95, TV series)
    Played By: Wilson Cruz


    4. Ellen Morgan – 140
    From: “Ellen” (1994-98, TV series)
    Played By: Ellen DeGeneres

    3. Ennis Del Mar & Jack Twist – 152 
    From: “Brokeback Mountain” (2005, film)
    Played By: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal

    Note: We paired these two together as many of the voters did as well. Ennis got 76 votes solo, Jack 39, and coupled 37.

    2. Hedwig – 159
    From: “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (1998, stage musical; 2001, film)
    Played By: John Cameron Mitchell (both original stage and film versions); Neil Patrick Harris (2014 Broadway revival)

    1. Dr. Frank N. Furter – 171
    From: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1973, stage musical; 1975, film)
    Played By: Tim Curry (both original stage and film versions)

    Check out all the results for every poll here.

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