As part of Ongig’s mission to celebrate all people, I felt inspired to start a list of successful/famous gay people. Not only have the 200+ folks on this list achieved greatness, but many have done it in a world where some people (wrongly) judge them by their sexual orientation.

Methodology & Disclaimer: I focused on listing people who have publicly come out as in the LGBTQIA+ community (e.g., gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, trans+, nonbinary, etc. I list the sources at the bottom of this article. I’m not an expert on famous LGBT people. The list is dynamicI welcome feedback, additions, and edits!

Here’s our list of 200+ of the most famous LGBT people in history.

Successful Gay Entrepreneurs (Inventors & Famous Gay Scientists)

Apple CEO Tim Cook (source: Austin Community College, Wikipedia)

Business Insider recently said Tim Cook, Apple CEO:

“is arguably the most prominent LGBTQ+ person in tech, but he isn’t the only one.

This list includes people who have changed the world with their ideas. They are famous gay entrepreneurs, gay inventors, and famous gay scientists.

  • Brandon Anderson (entrepreneur)
  • Ana Arriola (product designer)
  • Peter Arvais (entrepreneur)
  • David Bohnett (entrepreneur)
  • David Blumberg (entrepreneur)
  • Kylar Broadus (entrepreneur)
  • Dr. Shante Cofield (entrepreneur)
  • Lynn Conway (computer scientist)
  • Tim Cook (entrepreneur)
  • Clive Davis (record company exec)
  • Sarah Kate Ellis (president of GLAAD)
  • Ruth Gates (scientist)
  • Tim Gill (entrepreneur)
  • John “maddog” Hall (computer scientist)
  • Arlan Hamilton (investor)
  • Chris Hughes (entrepreneur)
  • John Maynard Keynes (economist)
  • Florence Nightingale (founder of modern-day nursing)
  • Leanne Pittsford (entrepreneur)
  • Keith Rabois — General partner at Founders Fund. Known for his early-stage startup investments and executive roles at PayPal, LinkedIn, Square and Slide.
  • Jeff Ragovin (entrepreneur)
  • Sally Ride (astronaut)
  • Martine Rothblatt (entrepreneur)
  • Angelica Ross (entrepreneur)
  • Lisa Sherman (Ad Council CEO)
  • Joel Simkhai (entrepreneur)
  • Peter Sisson (entrepreneur)
  • Megan Smith (computer scientist, engineering technologist)
  • Sara Sperling (entrepreneur, public speaker)
  • Peter Thiel (entrepreneur)
  • Gina Trapani (entrepreneur and web developer)
  • Alan Turing (mathemetician)
  • Darren Walker (entrepreneur)
  • Claudia Brind-Woody (tech executive)

Famous Gay Authors & Writers

Janet Mock an American writer, producer, and transgender rights activist. (Source: Wikipedia, Juston Smith)

Janet Mock’s name likely comes up when talking about famous gay writers. Mock is a New York Times best-selling author of books like “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More”.

Here’s a list of more famous gay writers, playwrights, screenwriters, and poets from past and present.

  • Allison Adler (tv writer/producer)
  • Nathan Aguilera (author)
  • Hilton Als (writer)
  • Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (playwright)
  • Alan Ball (writer)
  • James Baldwin (novelist)
  • Steven Canals (screenwriter)
  • Ann Mei Chang (author)
  • Lee Daniels (screenwriter)
  • Russell T. Davies (screenwriter)
  • Brian Fuller (tv writer)
  • Roxanne Gay (writer)
  • Glenn Greenwald (journalist)
  • Nina Jacobson (film writer/producer)
  • Uwern Jong (magazine editor/writer)
  • Larry Kramer (playwright)
  • Tarell Alvin McCraney (playwright)
  • Janet Mock (writer)
  • Ryan Murphy (tv writer)
  • Wilfred Owen (poet)
  • Lydia Polgreen (journalist)
  • Celine Sciamma (screenwriter)
  • Justin Simien (writer/producer)
  • Jill Soloway (tv writer/director)
  • Matthew Paul Turner (author)
  • Mary Trump (author)
  • Gore Vidal (writer)
  • Oscar Wilde (poet)
  • Jacqueline Wilson (author)

Famous Gay Politicians (& Government Officials)

Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation and the first openly gay person confirmed to US cabinet (source: Wikipedia, Gage Skidmore)
Former Mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum (source: Wikipedia Public Domain)

In 2018, Former Mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum told the Tampa Bay Times:

“I don’t identify as gay but I do identify as bisexual, and that is something that I have never shared publicly before.”

Many of these famous gay politicians fight for LGBTQ+ rights. They are activists, senators, judges, governors, and more.

  • Sam Adams (Oregon politician)
  • Bob Allen (Florida politician)
  • Waheed Alli (UK House of Lords member)
  • John S. Arrowood (North Carolina Judge)
  • Tammy Baldwin (U.S. Senator)
  • Clément Beaune (French politician)
  • Xavier Bettel (Prime Minister, Luxembourg)
  • Ana Brnabić (Prime Minister, Serbia)
  • Kate Brown (Governor of Oregon)
  • Pete Buttigieg (U.S. Secretary of Transportation)
  • David Cicilline (U.S. Representative)
  • Ruth Davidson (Scottish Parliament Member)
  • Andrew Gillum (Mayor of Tallahassee)
  • Barbara Gittings (LGBT activist)
  • Alexander the Great (King of Macedon)
  • Chad Griffin (Political Strategist)
  • Lori Lightfoot (Mayor of Chicago)
  • Wade McLauchlan (Premier of Prince Edward Island)
  • Harvey Milk (San Francisco Board of Supervisors)
  • Layla Moran (UK Parliament member)
  • Gianmarco Negri (Italian mayor)
  • Jared Polis (Colorado Governor)
  • Geraldine Roman (U.S. Representative)
  • Aaron Schock (U.S. Representative)
  • E. Denise Simmons (Mayor of Massachusetts)
  • Mark Takano (U.S. Representative)
  • Leo Varadkar (Irish politician)

Famous Gay Actors and Actresses + Entertainers, Influencers & TV Personalities

Ellen DeGeneres (source: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com (Email: glennfrancispacificprodigital.com))

Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian in 1997 and is a pioneer in the fight for LGBTQ equal rights according to a podcast from Making Gay History.

Here’s a list of famous gay actors, actresses, influencers, and TV personalities.

  • J. Alexander (tv personality)
  • Dan Amboyer (actor)
  • Drew Barrymore (actress)
  • Michael Barrymore (actor)
  • Bobby Berk (tv personality)
  • Andy Cohen (tv host)
  • Anderson Cooper (tv journalist)
  • Laverne Cox (actress)
  • Wilson Cruz (actor)
  • Ellen DeGeneres (tv host)
  • Asia Kate Dillon (nonbinary actor)
  • Divine (actor)
  • Beanie Feldstein (actress)
  • Sara Gilbert (actress)
  • Gigi Gorgeous (YouTube personality)
  • Tab Hunter (actor)
  • Don Lemon (tv journliast)
  • Dan Levy (actor)
  • Rachel Maddow (tv host)
  • Kristian Nairn (actor)
  • Tyler Oakley (YouTube personality)
  • Billy Porter (actor)
  • Antonio Porowski (tv personality)
  • Josh Rimer (YouTube personality)
  • Robin Roberts (broadcaster)
  • RuPaul (actor)
  • Tanya Saracho (actress)
  • Jaden Smith (actor)
  • Kristen Stewart (actress)
  • Tessa Thompson (actress)
  • Jonathan Van Ness (tv personality)

Famous Gay Comedians

Bowen Yang (source: Vanity Fair)

SNL star Bowen Yang opened up to the Huffington Post in January 2020 about his experience with “gay conversion” therapy before he embraced his sexuality.

These famous gay comedians make people laugh and some are also activists for LGBTQ+ rights.

  • Stephen K. Amos (comedian)
  • Simon Amstell (comedian)
  • Joel Kim Booster (stand-up comedian/actor)
  • Margaret Cho (stand-up comedian/actor)
  • Billy Eichner (comedian)
  • Fortune Feimster (comedian)
  • Liz Feldman (comedian)
  • Hannah Gadsby (comedian)
  • Sam Jay (comedian)
  • Kate McKinnon (comedian/actor)
  • Flame Monroe (drag queen comedian)
  • Tig Notaro (stand-up comic)
  • Wanda Sykes (comedian/actress)
  • Josh Thomas (comedian)
  • Julio Torres (comedian)
  • Jaboukie Young-White (comedian)
  • Bowen Yang (comedian/actor)

Famous Gay Musicians

LOS ANGELES – MARCH 14: Halsey attends the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Glenn Francis/Pacific Pro Digital Photography)

In 2015, Halsey told Billboard she is “bisexual, bi-polar and an inconvenient woman.”

Here are some other famous gay music artists. They are rappers and singer-songwriters from around the world.

  • Kevin Abstract (rapper)
  • Gaye Adegbalola (singer)
  • Bille Joe Armstrong (singer-songwriter)
  • Mel B (singer)
  • Azealia Banks (rapper)
  • Andy Bell (singer)
  • Babydaddy (musician)
  • Tyler, The Creator (rapper)
  • Stormé DeLarverie (singer)
  • Halsey (singer-songwriter)
  • Elton John (musician)
  • Lil Nas X (rapper)
  • Ben Platt (singer/actor)
  • Jannelle Monáe (singer-songwriter)
  • Freddie Mercury (singer-songwriter)
  • Anne-Marie Rose Nicholson (singer-songwriter)
  • Sam Smith (singer)
  • Brendon Urie (singer)

Famous Gay Athletes

International Soccer Star, Thomas Beattie (source: The Advocate)

English footballer, Thomas Beattie is among other famous gay professional athletes coming out and speaking out. He told the Advocate in June 2020, “The LGBTQ+ community doesn’t have much representation in the world of professional football.”

This list of notable gay athletes includes Olympians, wrestlers, soccer players, track and field stars, skiers, and more.

  • Daniel Arcos (basketball player)
  • Thomas Beattie (soccer player)
  • Jason Collins (basketball player/coach)
  • Levi Davis (rugby star)
  • Wade Davis (former NFL player)
  • Dennis Finnegan (track and field star)
  • Caitlyn Jenner (Olympic-decathlete)
  • Chris Kelley (rugby star)
  • Haylie McCleney (softball player)
  • Tegan Nox (professional wrestler)
  • Hig Roberts (alpine skier)
  • Zach Sullivan (ice hockey player)

I focused the above list on professional gay athletes but look forward to adding amateur ones too.

Famous Gay Models [and Designers]

Cara Delevingne, English Model (source: Wikipedia, Gage Skidmore)

Supermodel Cara Delevingne is open about her pansexuality. She told Independent in June 2020 that:

“However one defines themselves, whether it’s ‘they’ or ‘he’ or ‘she,’ I fall in love with the person — and that’s that. I’m attracted to the person.”

Here’s a list of famous gay models and famous gay fashion designers.

  • Cassandra Bankson (model)
  • Adonis Bosso (model)
  • Cara Delevingne (model)
  • Tom Ford (fashion designer)
  • Tan France (fashion designer)
  • Michael Kors (fashion designer)
  • Lottie Moss (model)
  • Maya Noir (model)
  • Devin-Norelle (nonbinary model)
  • Hanne Gaby Odiele (model)
  • Tatiana Ringsby (model)
  • Hunter Schafer (model)
  • Raf Simons (fashion designer)
  • B. Hawk Snipes (model)

Famous LGBT People of Color

Wanda Sykes, TV Personality (source: Wikipedia, Greg Hernandez)

Wanda Sykes, is one of the most famous LGBT people of color. She’s also an activist for LGBT rights. Here’s a link to the Wanda Sykes gay commercial titled “That’s So Gay“, from 2008. The ad campaign’s message was the think before you speak, and not use the word “gay” loosely.

The famous gay people in the list below might already be listed earlier in this article, but we wanted to do a special section for famous LGBT people of color. WSTB also named a few of these famous LGBT people of color in their list of “10 prominent Black pioneers.”

  • Kylar Broadus (entrepreneur)
  • Laverne Cox (actress)
  • Wilson Cruz (actor)
  • Wade Davis (former NFL player)
  • Andrea Jenkins (politician)
  • Marsha P. Johnson (LGBTQ+ activist)
  • Frank Ocean (singer-songwriter)
  • Ron Oden (California Politician)
  • Dennis Rodman (NBA player)
  • Bayard Rustin (LGBTQ+ activist)
  • E. Denise Simmons (Mayor of Massachusetts)
  • Lilly Singh (YouTuber personality)
  • Amandla Stenberg (actress)
  • Wanda Sykes (comedian/actress)
  • Lena Waithe (screenwriter)

Famous Gay Artists

Gilbert Baker pride flag designer and artist (source: Wikipedia, Gareth Watkins)

This is a list of famous gay artists including painters, photographers, and sculptors. I also listed Gilbert Baker pride flag designer.

  • Gilbert Baker (artist)
  • Joan Biren (photographer)
  • Rosa Bonheur (sculptor/painter)
  • Bronzino (painter)
  • Cathy Cade (photographer)
  • Tammy Rae Carland (photographer/video artist)
  • Liz Collins (contemporary artist)
  • Enrico Corte (contemporary artist)
  • Leonardo da Vinci (painter/sculptor)
  • Electrosexual (electronic artist)
  • Richard Fung (video artist)
  • Harmony Hammond (artist)
  • David Hockney (painter)
  • Derek Jarman (artist)
  • Kiss and Tell collective (performance artist)
  • Anna Elizabeth Klumpke (portrait artist)
  • Kate Millett (artist and activist)
  • Allyson Mitchell (sculptor)
  • Catherine Sue Opie (fine-art photographer)
  • Maria E. Piñeres (artist)
  • Jill Posener (photographer)
  • Tim Tate (artist)
  • Mickalene Thomas (visual artist)
  • Andy Warhol (painter)
  • Del LaGrace Volcano (genderqueer artist)

People Yearn to Know if Someone Famous “is gay”

As part of my research, I was amazed to discover the amount of Google traffic there is of people wondering if a famous person is gay. Here are some examples of the most popular queries:

  • Is Pete Buttigieg gay? (8,700 queries/month)
  • Is Sam Smith gay? (9,400 queries/month)
  • Is Lil Nas X gay? (7,100 queries/month)
  • Is Dan Levy gay? (6,000 queries/month)
  • Is Anderson Cooper gay? (4,800 queries/month)
  • Is Elsa gay? (4,600 queries/month) (yes, this is THE Elsa from the Frozen movie series)
  • Is Don Lemon gay? (queries/month 4,400)
  • Is Kate McKinnon gay? (4,100 queries/month)
  • Is Elton John gay? (3,200 queries/month)
  • Is Dennis Rodman gay? (3,000 queries/month)
  • Is Kristen Stewart gay? (2,600 queries/month)
  • Is Andy Cohen gay? (1,800 queries/month)
  • Is Halsey gay? (1,700 queries/month)
  • Is Lil Nas gay? (1,300 queries/month)
  • Is RuPal Gay (800 queries/month)

The list of Google queries is MUCH larger if you include the questions about people who are NOT gay (such as Tom Selleck, Harry Styles, Bruno Mars, Tom Holland, and Eminem).

I like to think that many of these searches are from gay people trying to get the courage to come out. That’s another reason to celebrate this list.

Do you know other famous LGBT People I missed?

My list is by no means complete. For example, there are many famous people who were gay throughout history, like Alexander the Great, that I found hard to confirm.

Please let me know if you find other LGBT famous people and I will be glad to add them to this growing list! Just ping me at Heather@Ongig.com.

If you enjoyed this list, you might also want to check out 150 Famous Transgender People. And a final thanks goes to…

Sources for my Research on Famous Gay People

  1. 43 LGBTQ Influencers That Are Changing The Internet (by Meg Ten Eyck)
  2. 14 LGBTQ+ Innovators, Inventors and Scientists who changed the world (by Idea to Value)
  3. Who tops the ‘Out’ Power 50 list of LGBTQ influencers? (by Lorena Blas)
  4. 6 Important LGBTQ Scientists Who Left a Mark on STEM Fields (by Orlando Science Center)
  5. Famous LGBT people: Historical icons who you didn’t know were queer (by Josh Jackman)
  6. 50 celebrities you might not know are LGTBQ+ (by Jacob Osborn)
  7. 29 LGBTQ Figures From History You Need To Know About (by Attitude)
  8. List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people (by Wikipedia)
  9. Pride: 10 prominent Black pioneers (by David Belleville)
  10. Here are all the celebrities who came out as LGBTQ+ in 2020 (by Sam Damshenas)
  11. 31 celebrities who are openly proud about being LGBTQ (by Callie Ahlgrim)
  12. The 50 Most Powerful LGBTQ Players in Hollywood (by Michael O’Connell and Degen Pener)
  13. Making Gay History The Podcast (by MakingGayHistory.com)
  14. 11 LGBTQ stand-up comedians you should be watching (by Claudia Willen)
  15. Bowen Yang Opens Up About His Experience In ‘Gay Conversion’ Therapy (by Curtis M. Wong)
  16. Art-Pop Singer Halsey on Being Bipolar, Bisexual and an ‘Inconvenient Woman’ (by Chris Martins)
  17. 29 LGBTQ FIGURES FROM HISTORY YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT (by Attitude)
  18. Thomas Beattie, International Soccer Star, Comes Out as Gay (by David Artavia)
  19. Pride Month: 8 inspiring LGBTQI politicians (by Avin Houro)
  20. Andrew Gillum: ‘I don’t identify as gay, but I do identify as bisexual’ (by Kirby Wilson)
  21. CARA DELEVINGNE SAYS SHE IDENTIFIES AS PANSEXUAL: ‘I’M ATTRACTED TO THE PERSON’ (by Olivia Petter)
  22. The 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech (by Paige Leskin)
  23. The ABCs of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ (by Ben Wiseman)
  24. List of LGBT artists (by Wikipedia)
  25. Pete Buttigieg becomes first openly gay person confirmed to US cabinet (by The Guardian)
  26. Jaden Smith confirms Tyler, the Creator is his boyfriend (by Sam Danshenas)
  27. Mary L. Trump on her life as an openly gay member of the First Family (by Rob Phelps)

Why I wrote this?

Ongig is on a mission to eliminate boring and biased job descriptions. Our Text Analyzer solution helps you avoid words that are exclusionary to famous LGBT people (or non-famous!).

by in Diversity and Inclusion