FROM INDIE QUEER CINEMA TO THE HOLLYWOOD MAINSTREAM, THE PINK LENS PUTS THE DEPICTION OF LGBT+ PEOPLE IN CINEMA IN THE UK UNDER THE MICROSCOPE.
THE PINK LIST - ACTORS
For decades, coming out of the closet was considered career suicide for the stars of the silver screen. Now, fifty years on from Stonewall, the list of LGBT+ actors and actresses appearing in cinema is growing bigger and bigger, as performers no longer feel the need to keep their sexuality behind closed doors. These stars have public visibility, which has given LGBT+ people the icons they need, seeing themselves reflected on screen, just as straight people do in most films since the dawn of cinema.
From classic Hollywood to the present day, The Pink Lens has compiled this list of the actors and actresses who have come out, or whose sexuality has been confirmed posthumously. From international megastars to European indie performers... get ready for THE PINK LIST!
“I am not generous about telling people who I am and what I like to do because it's my life and it only belongs to me and my friends and family.”
Anaya’s sexuality became common knowledge in 2011 following the publication of photos of her kissing a woman in a Spanish tabloid. She is now in a relationship with costume designer Tina Afugu Cordero, with whom she has a son.
Credits include: Room In Rome, The Skin I Live In, Wonder Woman, Van Helsing, Mesrine
“People are kinda still a bit puritanical, perhaps. People don't expect a woman to feel so open about her sexuality on screen. I think more actors are doing it and being open to that and not being afraid of it, so it's becoming less of a thing."
Bello came out as bisexual in 2013 proudly introducing the world to her same-sex partner, Clare Munn. She later wrote a book championing LGBT Rights entitled 'Whatever... Love Is Love: Questioning The Labels We Give Ourselves'.
Credits include: A History Of Violence, Prisoners, Coyote Ugly, Thank You For Smoking, The Mummy 3
Despite never officially coming out, Bogarde is known to have spent most of his life living with his partner, Gareth Forwood. Despite starring in some of the earliest LGBT films, the British star would not come out as he felt this would limit his career. But his refusal to enter into a marriage of convenience to mask his sexual preference to the public is believed to be the reason his stardom waned in Hollywood. He died in 1999.
Credits include: Death In Venice, Accident, Our Mother's House, Darling, The Servant, Victim
“The media has desexualized Asian men in a way that really did affect the way I viewed myself and my own sort of sexual empowerment growing up.”
Booster publicly acknowledged his sexuality in his very first stand-up set and has been open about it ever since. He has stated that as a child he understood he is gay before he understood he is Asian. He has also shared his struggle with bipolar disorder.
Credits include: Fire Island, Loot, Big Mouth
“Homosexuality is now so much in fashion it no longer makes news. Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homosexual experiences, and I am not ashamed. I have never paid much attention to what people think about me.”
Brando was unusually outspoken about his experiences with other men and this list of those he supposedly had affairs with includes some of Hollywood's biggest names. Openly bisexual, he also had a long-standing intimate childhood friend, Wally Cox.
Credits include: A Streetcar Named Desire, The Godfather, On The Waterfront, Apocalypse Now, Superman, Last Tango In Paris
“The power of visibility can never be underestimated. Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone else's life forever.”
Comedienne Cho describes herself as pansexual, having had relationships with people from many genders, including director Quentin Tarantino. She has said that she spends her summers at Fire Island, where she loves to party with LGBT+ people.
Credits include: Face/Off, All American Girl, Fire Island, Drop Dead Diva, 30 Rock, It’s My Party
One of Hollywood's most tragic stars, Clift was involved in countless relationships with both men and women in the early days of his career. After a serious car accident, Clift fell heavily into substance abuse which, eventually, would kill him ten years later. Though he never officially came out publicly, biographers have confirmed his often suspected bisexuality.
Credits include: From Here To Eternity, The Search, A Place In The Sun, The Young Lions, Suddenly Last Summer
“I always think about a little gay boy in Wisconsin or a little lesbian in Arkansas seeing someone like me, and if I cannot be open in my life, how on earth can they?"
British actor Cumming has been open about his bisexuality for most of his career and has been in a civil partnership with a man, artist Grant Shaffer, since 2006. He is also heavily involved with LGBT Rights organisations worldwide.
Credits include: GoldenEye, X-Men 2, The Good Wife, Any Day Now
“It took me a long time to accept the idea, until I first fell in love with a girl at 20 and recognised that I had to accept it. Women are what completely inspire me, and they have also been my downfall."
British supermodel turned actress Delevingne's bisexuality has been the subject of much tabloid speculation, but the British star has been in same-sex relationships with musician St. Vincent and actress Ashley Benson. She also came out as genderfluid in 2018 and uses she/her pronouns.
Credits include: Suicide Squad, Paper Towns, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, Pan
A very early LGBT+ icon, bisexual German actress Dietrich enjoyed the openness of Weimar Berlin in the 1920s and early 30s, engaging in numerous affairs with both men and women. Dressed as a man in Morocco, her androgynous image made her a lesbian icon, although she was famously discrete about her personal life despite her numerous affairs with some of the biggest stars of Hollywood. She was also renowned for her rivalry with Greta Garbo, though there is now speculation that this resulted from a reported affair between the two. She died in 1992, aged 90.
Credits include: Morocco, The Blue Angel, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress, The Devil Is A Woman, Stage Fright
“There are young kids thinking: 'I'll never come out because it's too hard in our communities.' But I'm saying maybe your story can be similar to mine.”
Tony and Emmy Award winner Domingo has been openly gay throughout his career as an actor, director and playwright. He married his husband Raúl Domingo in 2014.
Credits include: Lincoln, Selma, If Beale Street Could Talk, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Euphoria, Fear Of The Walking Dead
“The way that I live my life, around the people that I live my life around, I am public about it. I am very clear about being bisexual.”
Oscar-nominated actress Ellis has had a long career and a slow rise to fame, so when she came out publicly it was only a result of the latter that she wasn’t “out” before.
Credits include: King Richard, When They See Us, Lovecraft Country, Birth Of A Nation, The Help, The Taking Of Pelham 123, Men Of Honor
“Everybody knew me as a gay man, and in my life in London I never tried to hide it."
Officially, Evans came out in 2002, but after followed a lengthy period during which his publicists attempted to conceal his sexuality. Early in his career, Evans was known as a gay theatre star, but upon breaking into cinema, he quickly went back into the closet. With articles that mentioned his sexuality suddenly unavailable, it appeared for a long time that the star's previous openness was being swept under the carpet. However, he has since come out officially, with him publicly acknowledging that he is gay in 2014.
Credits include: The Fast And Furious Series, The Hobbit Series, Beauty And The Beast, The Girl On The Train, Immortals, Robin Hood, High-Rise
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself."
A juggernaut of American Theatre, Fierstein made the transition to film with the adaptation of his landmark gay play, Torch Song Trilogy. An ex-drag queen and outspoken advocate for LGBT Rights, he was outbin Hollywood at a time when very few others were.
Credits include: Torch Song Trilogy, Mrs Doubtfire, Bullets Over Broadway, Independence Day, The Times Of Harvey Milk, Death To Smoochy
“You think homosexuality is disgusting? Then, it follows as the night the day, that you find sex disgusting, for there is nothing done between two men or two women that is, by any objective standard, different from that which is done between a man and a woman."
British national treasure Fry rose to fame with comedy partner, Hugh Laurie. Outspoken about his sexuality his whole career, he spent sixteen years celibate but is now married to comedian Elliott Spencer. An international advocate for LGBT Rights he is one of the UK's most beloved media figures.
Credits include: The Hobbit Series, Sherlock Holmes 2, Alice In Wonderland, V For Vendetta, Gosford Park, Wilde, Blackadder, Jeeves And Wooster, Gormenghast
“I'm okay with myself. I had times when I was 15 about 'Who I am?' and 'What am I?' and where I want to go, and that's behind me.”
Since exploding into Francophone cinema in a role that won him a Jutra Award, the Québécois actor has won a César and remained at the forefront of Canadian cinema while maintaining full openness about his sexuality.
Credits include: C.R.A.Z.Y., Goon, Le Premier Jour du Reste de ta Vie, Mafia Inc., The Chameleon
“The difference between being in the closet and out of the closet as a gay man is such a huge shift. I feel so connected still to that 22-year-old, but the idea that I was not open with that part of my life -- which I am now so open about -- is sort of surreal."
The Broadway stat turned screen actor came out publicly in 2009 and has since become one of the most prominent out LGBT actors in the US. His role as Patrick Murray in HBO's Looking also cemented his status as a strong role model for young gay men, for which he received countless accolades.
Credits include: Looking, Frozen, Hamilton, The Normal Heart, Frozen, Glee, American Sniper, The Matrix: Resurrections, Mindhunter
“I think in cinema there is a problem with representation. We are always talking about the same person and it’s boring. OK, we get it, it’s difficult to be a middle-aged white man having an affair. Can we talk about someone else please?”
Haenel has become an outspoken proponent of the French #MeToo movement, where she walked out of the Césars following Polanski winning Best Director at the ceremony. She came out as a lesbian in 2014 in her César acceptance speech, confirming her relationship with director Céline Sciamma, which has since ended.
Credits include: Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, 120 BPM, One Nation One King, Water Lilies, House Of Tolerance, Suzanne, Love At First Fight
“We do not fall in love with the package of the person, we fall in love with the inside of a person.”
Heche was a survivor of childhood abuse, which she wrote about extensively in her autobiography. She famously dated Ellen DeGeneres between 1997-2000, the period in which her comedienne partner famously came out on primetime TV. She had several relationships with men after and also struggled with her mental health. She died following a car crash in 2022.
Credits include: Volcano, Donnie Brasco, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Six Days Seven Nights, Birth
“John Wayne treated me fine, but that macho stuff turns me off. It's not real.”
Matinee idol Hunter came out publicly in 2005 by confirming that he is gay in his autobiography, which went on to be a best seller. Rumours had circulated throughout his time in Hollywood, which he believes sabotaged his career. In a documentary about his life, it is confirmed that the Studios attempted to cover up his sexuality by linking him romantically to various actresses, even though he actually dated Anthony Perkins for over 30 years. He died in 2018.
Credits include: Battle Cry, The Girl He Left Behind, Gunman’s Walk, Damn Yankees
“Ian McKellen had a candle for me. I had no idea I was breaking his heart.”
A stage giant turned screen star, Jacobi married his partner, Richard Clifford, in 2006. Having spent most of his career open about his sexuality, it is only in recent years that he has played a gay character on screen, playing opposite Ian McKellen in ITV's sitcom about a gay couple, Vicious.
Credits include: I, Claudius, Gladiator, Little Dorrit, Breaking The Code, Dead Again, Gosford Park, The King's Speech, Vicious
“Honestly, I like everything. Boyish girls, girlish boys, the heavy and the skinny. Which is a problem when I'm walking down the street."
Hollywood megastar Jolie has been open about her bisexuality throughout her career. As well as her high-profile relationships with men, she has been open about her sexual experiences with women in the past. A crusader for women's rights, she is known for her widespread humanitarian works all around the world.
Credits include: Maleficent, Changeling, Salt, Wanted, Mr & Mrs Smith, Girl Interrupted, Tomb Raider, Hackers, Gia, A Mighty Heart
“There's not a day in my life I'm not proud of being gay, but I just wasn't ready for that attention to be placed on it. I remember being on Oprah. Well, not on Oprah. Near Oprah. She started saying, 'Now, Nathan, you got all those girlie moves going down in 'The Birdcage,' where's all that coming from? You're so good at all that girlie stuff!'"
Upon coming out, his mother responded "I would rather you were dead", to which he responded "I knew you'd understand." He came out publicly after the death of Mathew Shepard and has since been a vocal supporter of LGBT+ Rights and causes. He married theatre producer Devlin Elliott in 2015.
Credits include: The Birdcage, The Lion King, Jeffrey, MouseHunt, The Producers, Modern Family, The Good Wife
“I feel like I’m a little bit late to the game in being able to have less shame.”
Rising to fame as a child actress, Malone has gone on to forge a successful career in numerous sleeper hits from some of the biggest directors in the industry. Though she has already married, divorced and had a son, she came out in 2022 as Pansexual and polyamorous.
Credits include: The Hunger Games franchise, Nocturnal Animals, The Neon Demon, Inherent Vice, Sucker Punch, Into The Wild, Pride & Prejudice, Donnie Darko, Stepmom
“I don’t care about being gay. The problem is, in France, they can’t imagine you otherwise. I don’t want to be a gay character all my life because I’m gay already. If the movie is good, I don’t care if they’re straight, gay or bisexual.”
French actor Maritaud is being hailed as the French prince of LGBT+ cinema, having appeared in some of the most successful gay films of recent years. He is refreshingly open about his sexuality, unafraid to tackle difficult and exposing roles.
Credits include: Sauvage, 120 BPM, Jonas, Knife+Heart, Lux Æterna
“There is a fantasy as old as the modern gay rights movement that if all our skins turned lavender overnight, the majority, confounded by our numbers and our diversity, and recognising a few of our faces, would at once let go of prejudice forevermore."
Probably the most high profile LGBT person in the world, Sir Ian is a stage juggernaut turned screen actor with a plethora of awards to his name. Coming out in 1988 as a protest against the introduction of Section 28, he has been a champion of LGBT Rights ever since, using his international fame to speak out for these causes. Famously, he once had an audience with Michael Howard to lobby against Section 28. Howard refused but then asked for an autograph for his children, to which McKellen responded "Fuck off, I'm gay!"
Credits include: The Lord Of The Rings Series, The Hobbit Series, The X-Men Series, Gods And Monsters, Bent, Richard III, The Da Vinci Code, Mr Holmes, Beauty And The Beast
Mineo described himself as bisexual due to his four year marriage with a woman, but since his death, many have claimed this marriage existed just to cover up his homosexuality. Whichever, he had been in a relationship with male actor Courtney Burr III for six years when he was murdered in a random attack on the street in LA. He reportedly had relationships with several high profile male stars of the 60s and 70s, though these have never been confirmed.
Credits include: Rebel Without A Cause, Exodus, Giant, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Escape From The Planet Of The Apes
“In terms of sexual orientation I don't really feel I've changed. I don't feel there was a hidden part of my sexuality that I wasn't aware of. I'd been with men all my life, and I'd never fallen in love with a woman. But when I did, it didn't seem so strange."
Sex And The City actress Nixon is a fashion and lifestyle icon for an entire generation of women and gay men. In a relationship with a woman, she describes herself as "bisexual, but in a gay relationship". Dating since 2004, they were married in 2012 and they now have a son.
Credits include: Sex And The City, Amadeus, Addams Family Values, Igbo Goes Down, The Big C
A juggernaut of film, stage and TV, Oscar-winning British Olivier is one of the most renowned actors in history. Married to Vivien Leigh, he was reported to have had numerous affairs with a string of Hollywood's biggest male stars, including (reportedly) Danny Kaye, Marlon Brando, James Dean and Noel Coward.
Credits include: Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, Hamlet, Henry V, Richard III, Sleuth, Marathon Man, Spartacus, The Boys From Brazil
“I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationships suffered. And I'm standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain."
Oscar-nominated actor Page came out as a lesbian in 2014 during a speech at a Human Rights event, then as trans in 2020 and has always been an outspoken proponent of LGBT+ causes. Lauded as a role model for young LGBT+ people, he became the first trans man to feature on the cover of Time Magazine in 2021.
Credits include: Inception, Juno, Whip It, Hard Candy, Umbrella Academy, The X-Men Series, Freeheld, An American Crime
“I was scared. I wasn't scared about losing my job. And I wasn't scared to the point of denying my sexuality. But I was scared enough to make it my mission not to talk about it.”
A multiple Emmy Award-winning actor, Parsons' coming out story was wholly unsensational. In an article publicising his role in The Normal Heart, he was referred to as gay and in a ten year relationship with a man. He has since been lauded for his casual coming out, marking a change from the usual press fanfare that accompanies a star's disclosure of their sexuality.
Credits include: The Big Bang Theory, The Normal Heart, The Boys In The Band, Hidden Figures, Garden State, Hollywood
The Psycho star was notoriously shy about his personal life and is known to have engaged in only homosexual relationships until he was 39. At 41 he married a woman, though was reportedly in a relationship with Tab Hunter for up to 30 years. He succumbed to AIDS in 1992.
Credits include: The Psycho Series, Friendly Persuasion, The Trial, Phaedra, Fear Strikes Out, Murder On The Orient Express
“It’s time to remind the world who we are. So don’t be scared. Don’t be terrified. Don’t wait till the battle is over; fight now. Because love always wins.”
The break-out star of iconic TV drama Pose, Porter has become one of the strongest and most recognisable Queer voices in cinema. His loud challenge toward gender norms both on and off screen has been both celebrated and hotly debated, with Hollywood sitting up and taking notice of this new and challenging voice.
Credits include: Pose, Cinderella, The Boss, The Broken Hearts Club, American Horror Story, Anything’s Possible
“Surround yourself with people who are going to support you regardless of what your sexual orientation is, and you can have a beautiful life filled with love.”
Rannells came out aged 18 and has been open about his sexuality ever since, both personally and professionally. He has been in a relationship with actor Tuc Watkins since 2019. The actor has been a major success, both on screen and on Broadway.
Credits Include: The Boys In The Band, The Prom, A Simple Favor, Girls, The New Normal
“I’ve gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too fucking curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks.”
American action star Rodriguez opened up about her sexuality in 2013, describing herself as bisexual. She has since publicly dated Cara Delevingne and has previously dated actors Vin Diesel, Olivier Martinez and, reportedly, Zac Efron.
Credits include: Avatar, The Fast And Furious Series, Resident Evil Series, Machete, Machete Kills, Lost, The Assignment
“I think ‘coming out’ is a very traditional, old-style word, and in the society I’m living I want ‘coming out’ to be a term that doesn’t exist anymore.”
The young German actor was - unsurprisingly - the break-out star of gay coming-of-age flick Centre Of My World and has become one of the biggest young stars in German cinema. He came out as gay in 2020 and is a member of Act Out, an initiative to achieve visibility and diversity on screen.
Credits include: Monster Hunter, Sisi, Centre Of My World, Barbara, The Aftermath
“I am a gay, Muslim, Arab-American man. Not only am I gay, but I’m also a bottom.”
Emirati-born Lebanese actor Sleiman came out as gay in 2017. In an interview with CBN, the actor said he is Muslim, Jewish and Christian too, while his social media posts about his sexuality have been very candid indeed.
Credits include: Breaking Fast, The Visitor, Nurse Jackie, Eternals, Jack Ryan
“I've been really open with it with my friends, but that's my personal experience; it's mine. The whole point of where we should be heading, which is toward accepting everybody and being more open, is that it doesn't matter, and it's about not having to label everything, not having to clarify what boxes you're checking.”
The British popstar-turned-actor is famously ambiguous about his sexuality. His transition into cinema is in full swing currently, but accusations of “queer baiting” are easily counteracted with how mainstream his experimentation with gender expression has been. However, he continues to claim that the idea he should label who he is and how he identifies is “outdated”.
Credits include: My Policeman, Dunkirk, Eternals, Don’t Worry Darling, Faster Better Cheaper, The X Factor
“I [have] a vibrant following among LGBT fans who have come to embrace my message of combatting idiocy with humor. It’s really hard to hate someone for being different when you’re too busy laughing together. So my early fans were also comprised of equality-minded activists ready to do battle against the ‘douchebags’ and bullies of the world.”
Star Trek icon Takei rose to fame as the Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman id the USS Enterprise. With a strong following amongst LGBT fans amongst whom his sexuality had long been an open secret, he came out publicly in 2005, prompted by Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto of same-sex marriage legislation. Since then, he has become one of the most high profile LGBT celebrities in the US, especially due to his outspoken social media presence. In 2008, he and his partner Brad Altman were the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in West Hollywood. They married soon after. Now a cult figure, his fame now is probably larger now than it ever was in the days he appeared on Star Trek.
Credits include: Star Trek, To Be Takei, Mulan, Larry Crowne
“I certainly never called a press conference or anything like that. [Back in the '70s,] people didn't write about it. Even if they knew, they would [refer to Jane as] "Lily's collaborator".”
Actress and comedienne Tomlin quietly came out in Hollywood, but did not allow it to be acknowledged publicly until after her mother’s death. She has since married her partner, writer Jane Wagner, whom she has been with since 1971.
Credits include: Nashville, 9 to 5, Grace And Frankie, All Of Me, The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe, Short Cuts, The Celluloid Closet, Tea With Mussolini, I ♥ Huckabees, Grandma
“The world is still very resistant to understanding the diversity of human beings. And I think every woman can be a diva, and every woman can be just a woman.”
The Chilean trans actress shot to international stardom following the unprecedented success of A Fantastic Woman at The Oscars. Following her transition in high school, she starred in a version of her own story on stage for eight years in Santiago before breaking into cinema in 2014.
Credits included: A Fanrastic Woman, Tales Of The City, The Guest, The Pack
“As an actor you have total rights to privacy and mystery, whatever your sexuality, whatever you do. I don’t see why that has to be something you discuss openly because you do something in the public eye.”
British star of stage and screen Whishaw was reluctant to speak publicly of his sexuality for a long time. He came out upon entering a civil partnership with Australian composer Mark Bradshaw in 2012 and has since described his coming out out as tense, but “everyone was surprisingly lovely”.
Credits include: The James Bond Series, Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer, The Danish Girl, Paddington, The Lobster, Mary Poppins Returns, A Very English Scandal, London Spy
“To me, love is love. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal and that we should kind of be forced to make an announcement about it. But that happened.”
Australian actress and comedienne shot to fame with her deadpan awkward sexual innuendos, rising to become one of the biggest names in comedy in Hollywood. In 2022 she was forced to come out when a journalist threatened to publish an article about her relationship with fashion designer Romana Agruma.
Credits include: Senior Year, Pitch Perfect, Jojo Rabbit, Bridesmaids, Cats, The Hustle, Isn’t It Romantic
“Holding those two identities of being gay and Asian have, I guess, made my skin a little thicker.”
SNL comedian Yang has recently successfully transitioned into cinema following his enormous success on the American comedy platform. His popularity saw him Emmy-nominated and he has become of the show’s most recent breakout stars, following in the footsteps of many of the biggest comedy stars in Hollywood.
Credits include: Fire Island, Bros, Saturday Night Live, Cicada, Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens
“Do I like women sexually? Yeah, I do. Totally. I have always considered myself bisexual. I love a woman's body. I think a woman and a woman together are beautiful, just as a man and a woman together are beautiful. Being with a woman is like exploring your own body, but through someone else. When I was younger I used to go with lots of women. Totally - I love it."
Barrymore has been married to two men, but came out as bisexual in 2003. Since then, she has been outspoken in her support of the LGBT+ Community, though guarded about her own sexuality.
Credits include: Never Been Kissed, Scream, Whip It, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Wedding Singer, Donnie Darko
“Gay pride's beautiful. If somebody needs to be expressing that, then it's a positive thing."
Bernhard played one of the first openly gay characters on television starring in Roseanne, during which she also came out as bisexual. Since then, she has been a staunch supporter of LGBT Rights.
Credits include: The King Of Comedy, Hudson Hawk, Wrongfully Accused, Without You I'm Nothing, Roseanne
“What we really have to do is stop the adjective before the job title—whether it's 'black actor,' a 'gay actor' or 'anything actor,' Everybody thinks that equality comes from identifying people, and that's not where equality comes from. Equality comes from treating everybody the same regardless of who they are. I hope the media and the press catches on to that because it's time to move out of 1992."
Bomer officially came out in an Awards acceptance speech in 2013, during which he thanked his partner, Simon, and three children.
Credits include: The Normal Heart, Magic Mike, American Horror Story, The Boys In The Band, The Magnificent Seven
“I feel like people are so eager and willing to accept the concept of females being bisexual and having it be a very natural thing, but as soon as a male proclaims himself as bisexual, we automatically dismiss it and say, 'No, he's just gay.'”
The Canadian model turned actor has struggled at the hands of internet trolls, especially following his time as judge on Canada’s Drag Race. He came out as gay in 2016.
Credits include: Spiral, Dirty Grandpa, The Skinny, American Horror Story, Canada’s Drag Race
“As gay people, we always think outside of the box. The irreverent is always important to a drag queen and anyone else who lives outside the box. And this is why drag’s important: remember to not take life seriously. It’s always important to see the laughter in the illusion that we pretend is real.”
The biggest and most legendary LGBT+ icon of all time has had a career for decades that has crossed all facets of the entertainment industry. RuPaul’s revolutionary TV show spawned a Queer renaissance on screen, which has had diversity at its heart.
Credits include: RuPaul’s Drag Race, AJ & The Queen, But I’m A Cheerleader, To Wong Foo
“I have personally dealt with suicide within my own family and intense bullying in high school.”
Former Disney Clayton effortlessly made the transition from child-star to gay pin-up following starring roles in some weighty dramas, including the biopic of porn star Brent Corrigan. He has been in a relationship with Blake Knight since 2011 and the couple are now engaged.
Credits include: Teen Beach Movie, King Cobra, REACH, Peel
“I think transwomen, and transpeople in general, show everyone that you can define what it means to be a man or woman on your own terms. A lot of what feminism is about is moving outside of roles and moving outside of expectations of who and what you're supposed to be to live a more authentic life."
As the first openly transgender person to be nominated for Emmys, Cox has become one of the world's biggest trans icons. An outspoken advocate for Trans Rights, she was the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine.
Credits include: Orange Is The New Black, Promising Young Woman, Disclosure, Inventing Anna
“One time I actually cleaned out my closet so good I ended up on the cover of TIME magazine."
Though known most for her talk show and sitcom, Ellen, DeGeneres has become one of the most influential LGBT stars in Hollywood. Coming out on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, her sexuality made international news and her influence has since done much to change the way the US media deals with LGBT issues. She is married to actress Portia de Rossi and is one of only two openly LGBT people to have presented The Oscars to date.
Credits include: Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Ellen, EDtv, If These Walls Could Talk 2
“My sexuality is a part of me that I really like. But it's not the totality of me."
Australian actress Portia de Rossi married US LGBT icon Ellen DeGeneres in 2008 and has lived openly as a lesbian since 2005.
Credits include: Sirens, Scream 2, Scandal, Ally McBeal, Arrested Development, Nip/Tuck
“All my life I wanted to look like Elizabeth Taylor. Now Elizabeth Taylor looks like me".
The muse of seminal Queer filmmaker John Waters, this notorious drag queen became one of LGBT Cinema's earliest (and most enduring) stars. Struggling with obesity for most of his life, he died in 1988 with heart problems. An icon of trash and kitsch, he is one of the biggest cult figures of independent cinema.
Credits include: Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Hairspray, Multiple Maniacs, Polyester, Lust In The Dust
“It's not enough for Hollywood to make a bunch of gay movies. That's obviously a big part of the equation, but then gay people have to show up for those movies.”
Eichner moved from television to film with a real focus on playing LGBT+ roles - and creating LGBT+ stories - on screen. He is extremely open about his sexuality, as well as his left-wing politics.
Credits include: Bros, The Lion King, American Horror Story, Impeachment, Parks And Recreation, Billy On The Street
“[LGBTQ+ people] still feel the need to be constantly justifying why we deserve to be treated as equal beings when really the only difference is that we love differently and we express ourselves differently.”
British actress Erivo has achieved success both on stage and screen, rising quickly to stardom following her starring role on Broadway in The Color Purple. She identifies as queer and came out in 2021, stating that even though she knew when she was younger, she didn’t know how to articulate it.
Credits include: Harriet, Widows, Chaos Walking, Pinocchio, Bad Times At The El Royale, Chewing Gum
“There's still a tremendous amount of homophobia in our culture. It's regrettable, it's stupid, it's heartless, and it's immoral, but there it is."
British star Everett was one of the only openly gay actors in Hollywood for much of his career, which he has since claimed led to severe type-casting and he feels limited his career prospects. His role as Julia Roberts' GBF in My Best Friend's Wedding was a seminal moment for gay characters on screen however, portraying the archetypal suave and sophisticated gay man that dominated depictions of gay men for the next decade.
Credits include: My Best Friend's Wedding, The Madness Of King George, An Ideal Husband, Shakespeare In Love, The Next Best Thing, Inspector Gadget, St. Trinians, The Happy Prince
“I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age. In those very fragile days when a fragile young girl would open up to family, coworkers, and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met."
Double Oscar-winner Foster's sexuality was often the subject of tabloid speculation. Catapulted to fame as a child, she has lived most of her life shying away from the media, preferring to keep her personal life secret. Though she has never used the words "gay" or "lesbian" to describe herself, she publicly acknowledged her relationship with a woman in 2007 and then addressed coming out in a speech at the Golden Globes in 2013. She had been married to actress Alexandra Heddison since 2014.
Credits include: The Silence Of The Lambs, The Accused, Taxi Driver, Bugsy Malone, Nell, Panic Room, Carnage
Gielgud acknowledged his male partner, Martin Hesler, in 1988, but decades prior, the most highly regarded actor in British theatre history caused a scandal when arrested in a public and convicted for persistently importuning men for immoral purposes' in 1953. Though a serious crime at the time, it did little to damage the star, but he refused to acknowledge his sexuality, saying to actor Simon Callow "I do admire people like you and Ian McKellen for coming out, but I can't be doing with that myself."
Credits include: Becket, Chimes At Midnight, The Charge Of The Light Brigade, Oh! What A Lovely War, Julius Caesar, Murder On The Orient Express, Chariots Of Fire, Gandhi, Elizabeth
“Sexuality is half poison and half liberation. What’s the line? I don’t have a line.”
Pop icon Lady Gaga is now an acclaimed actress too, but the bisexual star still maintains a fierce stance of solidarity with LGBT+ people. She has been - and remains - one of the most vocal supporters of diversity in the entertainment industry and beyond.
Credits include: A Star Is Born, House Of Gucci, Joker 2, American Horror Story, Muppets Most Wanted
In 1947, British film and theatre star Guinness was arrested for cruising in a public toilet in Liverpool. He was convicted and fined for the crime, but the matter went unreported in the press due to his giving a false name. After that, he managed to ensure that his homosexuality was a closely guarded with his relationships only becoming public knowledge after his death in 2000. However, he is said to have "begged" Ian McKellen to fight for Gay Rights.
Credits include: The Star Wars Series, Laurence Of Arabia, The Bridge On The River Kwai, Kind Hearts And Coronets, The Ladykillers, Doctor Zhivago
“Being able to live my life transparently does empower me to feel like I can be myself more. It's easier for me to flirt with girls now that girls know that I'm gay. It almost makes it a sexier encounter than if I was trying to pretend that I was straight."
A star of film, TV and theatre, Harris has become a beloved comic actor in the US and around the world. He came out publicly as gay in 2006 and married his partner, David Burtka, in 2010, with whom he has two children. Decidedly visible as a family in Hollywood, they have become the most high profile non-traditional family in the US. He also hosted the Oscars in 2015.
Credits Include: How I Met Your Mother, Gone Girl, The Matrix: Resurrections, A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Uncoupled, It’s A Sin
A heartthrob of classic Hollywood, Hudson's sexuality was a closely guarded secret throughout his career, with several tabloids and writers paid off to maintain his facade of the attainable boy next door. In his partnership with Doris Day he made scores of romantic comedies, but all the while living a riotous lifestyle that was an open secret within the confines of Hollywood. Contracting HIV in the early 80s, Hudson became the first high profile fatality of the disease, with his sexuality becoming public knowledge after his death in 1985.
Credits include: Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers, Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows, Giant, Tobruk
“I am amazed how quickly the press can turn on you. It’s especially true of the gay press at times."
A Broadway star turned screen actor, Jackson has been open about his sexuality throughout his career. Despite having struggled with addiction, his matinee idol looks and powerful voice have made him one of the biggest stage icons in the US. His recent transition to screen acting has coincided with his recent marriage to actor Jason Landau, with whom he has twin children.
Credits include: United 93, Love Is Strange, American Horror Story, Behind The Candelabra, 30 Rock
“I don’t want to be complicit, even peripherally, in the idea that being gay is a problem to be solved or hushed. I’m grateful to be gay.”
Following a sensational performance in a seminal Canadian gay film, Jessup came out as gay in 2019, describing his past struggles but celebrating his sexuality now. He is dating 13 Reasons Why star Miles Heizer.
Credits include: Closet Monster, Locke & Key, Blackbird, Strange But True, Falling Skies, American Crime
“People talk big and people talk tough, and they may vote for Trump because they think the economy’s better, but it doesn’t mean they hate their gay nephew.”
Jones is an out and proud lesbian, having come out in 1995 in her acceptance speech for her first Tony Award. She dated Sarah Paulson in the 00s, before marrying filmmaker Sophie Huber in 2015.
Credits include: Erin Brockovich, 24, The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, Boy Erased, Transparent, Cradle Will Rock
“Sometimes I'm bisexual, sometimes I'm gay, sometimes I feel straight, sometimes I'm not anything. It doesn’t matter.”
The young actor and musician has gained popularity not just for his work, but also for his stance on sexual identity, declaring that labels do not matter.
Credits include: Love Simon, Insurgent, The Finest Hours, The Flash, My Fake Boyfriend
“The curious thing is that I embraced homosexuality with as much joy and delight as I've embraced everything else in my life."
British comedienne Margolyes has been with her partner, professor Heather Sutherland, since 1967 and has been open about her sexuality for most of her career. Holding dual citizenship between the UK and Australia, she once caused controversy be referring to herself as a "dyke" in front of the Australian prime minister.
Credits include: Romeo + Juliet, The Harry Potter Series, James And The Giant Peach, The Age Of Innocence, Little Dorrit, Babe, Cold Comfort Farm
“In Paris, we are terrified of vulgarity.”
The chair of the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film
Festival, the out-gay actor recently successfully transitioned to becoming a director, receiving a nomination at the César Awards.
Credits include: Knife+Heart, Call My Agent!, My Best Part
“I tried for a short while to be something I wasn't and had no success with it. It's a practical solution to just be yourself."
McKinnon has been described as "Hollywood's Gay Test", as Saturday Night Live's most popular new face in a decade - and an out lesbian - is beginning her transition to film. Outspoken in her support of LGBT+ causes (she famously contested Hillary Clinton live on air about her slow acceptance of LGBT equality), her popularity on TV is beginning to filter across to cinema, but how far that will go is purely in Hollywood's hands to see if they are bold enough to present an out lesbian centre stage.
Credits include: Ghostbusters, Sisters, Saturday Night Live, Bombshell, Ted 2, The Spy Who Dumped Me
“Being a queer black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”
The pop star turned actress has discussed her sexuality a lot, saying that she identifies with both bisexuality and pansexuality. The first hints of this came in 2011, using different terms at different times, which culminated in her coming out as non-binary in 2022. She has also discussed being in polyamorous relationships too.
Credits include: Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Antebellum, Harriet, Dirty Computer
“I want the same standard applied to homosexuals as is applied to heterosexuals."
American comedienne, TV personality and actress is one of the US' most famous out lesbians. She came out in 2002 on her talk show to highlight gay adoption issues. Since then, she has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBT issues and rights.
Credits include: The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Sleepless In Seattle, The Flintstones, When We Rise, Tarzan
“As a member of the queer community, I understand the importance of living openly, being counted, and happily owning who I am. That’s how I’ve always lived my life.”
Pace was accidentally outed by Ian McKellen in an interview in 2012, but he first spoke openly about being gay in 2018. He is now married to fashion executive Matthew Foley.
Credits include: The Hobbit franchise, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Foundation, Pushing Daisies, Captain Marvel
“I don't think (my bisexuality is) a past tense thing. Are you still straight if you are with somebody? If you were to break up with them or if they were to die, it doesn't prevent your sexuality from existing. It doesn't really work like that."
Oscar-winning child star turned adult scream queen, New Zealand actress Paquin has been open about her sexuality despite her marriage to True Blood costar Stephen Moyer, with whom she has four children.
Credits include: The Piano, The X-Men Series, True Blood, Scream 4, Almost Famous, Amistad, Margaret, Finding Forrester
“All I can say is, I've done both, and I don't let either experience define me. I don't let having been with a man make me think I am heterosexual, or make me want to call myself that, because I know I have been attracted to women - and have lived with women."
Hollywood character actress turned American Horror Story icon, Paulson has been dating actress Holland Taylor since 2015 and was previously in a relationship with Cherry Jones. Though hesitant to define her sexuality, she is a strong supporter of LGBT visibility.
Credits include: American Horror Story, Carol, 12 Years A Slave, The Post, Mud, Ratched, The People vs. O.J. Simpson
“Being a gay man was only a piece of my puzzle and a piece of my tapestry. It didn’t need to be the headline, I got to be strange and anxious and Jewish and sing and act and be a brother and a son and a friend, and then also be gay… I didn’t have to have that be the only thing worth knowing about me.”
Broadway-actor-turned-movie-star Platt came out as gay in 2019 and is now dating Noah Galvin, the actor who replaced him in the titular role of stage musical Dear Evan Hanson.
Credits include: Pitch Perfect, Dear Evan Hanson, The Politician, Will & Grace
“Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country."
Known for his role as Spock in the rebooted Star Trek films, Quinto came out publicly in 2011 following the suicide of teen Jamey Rodemeyer, saying that his staying in the closet was doing nothing to help change the world's attitude toward LGBT people. He has since been an outspoken supporter and proponent of LGBT organisations.
Credits include: The Star Trek Series, Heroes, The Boys In The Band, I Am Michael, Snowden, Margin Call, American Horror Story, 24
“For people who have been ostracized, who have been all the way at the bottom, there's only one way that we can go - and that's up.”
One of the break-out stars of TV’s Pose, Rodriguez became the first transgender woman to receive an Emmy nomination in 2021 and she also won a Golden Globe for the role. Initially a successful theatre performer, she took a four year hiatus to transition, which was then followed by her now legendary role. She has now become one of the biggest trans actresses in the industry.
Credits include: Pose, Tick Tick… Boom!, Loot, Disclosure, Adam
“For the most part, I definitely don't identify as any gender. I'm not a guy; I don't really feel like a woman, but obviously I was born one.”
Rose came out as a lesbian aged 12, but has struggled with her mental health throughout her life. Initially thinking that she wanted to transition, the Australian actress discovered androgyny working as a model, following which she now identifies as genderfluid.
Credits include: Batwoman, The DC Universe, Orange Is The New Black, John Wick, Resident Evil, The Meg, Pitch Perfect 3
“Mercifully, these days people don't see being gay as a character flaw. But nor is it a virtue, like kindness. Or a talent, like playing the banjo. It's just a fact. Of course, it's part of my make-up, but I don't want to trade on it."
British rising star Scott has become the darling of critics for his roles on both stage and screen. Known by many as Moriarty, he has been open about his sexuality through this career.
Credits include: Pride, Sherlock, Handsome Devil, Fleabag, Spectre, Denial, Alice Through The Looking Glass, The Hollow Crown
“That whole certainty about whether you're straight or gay or whatever. You're not confused if you're bisexual. It's not confusing at all. For me, it's quite the opposite."
Rumours about Twilight star Stewart’s sexuality have been abundant for years, but in 2017 she described herself as “so gay” on SNL and then stated she was bisexual in an interview. She was famously linked romantically with co-star Robert Pattinson, but has since dated women, including French singer Soko, model Stella Maxwell and now screenwriter Dylan Mercer, with whom she announced her engagement in 2021.
Credits include: Spencer, The Twilight Series, Adventureland, Snow White And The Huntsman, On The Road, Clouds Of Sils Maria, Still Alice, Personal Shopper, Happiest Season
“The government shouldn't be involved in this because it's very simple. If you don't believe in same-sex marriage, then don't marry somebody of the same sex.”
American comedienne Sykes came out as a lesbian in 2008 at a same-sex marriage rally in Las Vegas and she has since married her partner, Alex Niedbalski, with whom she became a parent of twins in 2009. After the passing of Proposition 8 in California, she became an outspoken activist about this and many other LGBT+ issues, for which she has regularly hosted fundraising events.
Credits include: The Wanda Sykes Show, Wanda At Large, Evan Almighty, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Over The Hedge, Monster-in-Law
“I think a part of really being able to normalize queer characters, LBGTQIA characters, is to allow them to exist in their humanity.”
Thompson has spoken about being attracted both to men and women, but prefers not to label her sexuality. Her role as Valkyrie in the MCU has been a landmark for the superhero genre, seeing an out LGBT+ character with significant screen-time become such an integral part of their franchise.
Credits include: Marvel Cinematic Unlverse, Creed franchise, Dear White People, Selma, Annihilation, Passing
“I sort of challenge people's perceptions of what a gay man is, which is kinda good.”
British star Tovey has become a controversial figure in the LGBT press. As an openly gay actor, he has always been a popular figure, but comments he made about effeminate gay men enraged many. He has since apologised, but maintains that he is proud that he is a masculine role model as an openly gay man in the mainstream media.
Credits include: Looking, The Pass, The History Boys, Tower Block, Pride, The Lady In The Van, Him & Her, Being Human, Gavin And Stacey
“To be yourself is truly a revolutionary act, and I think more and more people should try it, because it's gotten me a pretty cool life.”
Rising to fame in TV’s Master Of None, Waithe won an Emmy for her performance in an episode based on her own experience of coming out as a lesbian.
Credits Include: Ready Player One, Master Of None, Onward, Bad Hair
“In the beginning of my career, I was concerned about being typecast, about people seeing me only as one thing, and about not being able to play straight because people couldn't see me that way. I see that now as naivete. I see now the power in being able to have an actual black, queer woman play a black, queer woman.”
Wiley has followed her success on TV with break-out roles in cinema. She is married to Lauren Morelli, one of the writers on Orange Is The New Black and have recently had their first child.
Credits include: The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange Is The New Black, Detroit, The Sitter, Social Animals
“Maybe there are logical reasons for a gay person not to have a great relationship with their parents - not because there's a parent who made him gay, but just because it may be difficult to understand everything.”
Over the course of Wong’s long career on screen, he has always been out as gay. Married since 2018, he has a son from a previous relationship, who has now come out as gay too. Wong also donates much of his time and money to LGBT+ charities.
Credits include: Jurassic Park franchise, Father Of The Bride, Mulan, Seven Years In Tibet, Bird Box, Oz, And The Band Played On, Mr Robot, Gotham