It’s A Small World: 9 Out Gay Pop Stars From Around The Globe

With the recent coming out of Lebanese-British singer Mika (above) we were reminded that there’s a whole world of gay pop performers out there—and we don’t just mean Elton John, Ricky Martin and George Michael. We thought we’d make a dent in the growing list with a roundup of nine queer pop artists that might be a little lesser known to American audiences, but who get out toes a-tapping nonetheless.

Have an artist you want to spotlight? Sing out in the comments section!


Sam Sparro, Australia

Every gay worth his salt had this Aussie singer’s breakout single, “Black and Gold,” on repeat in 2008. Above, Sparro does guest vocals on the song “Feelings Gone” from UK electronic act Basement Jaxx. Nearer to home, Sparro co-wrote “Shady” and “Broken English” off of out popster Adam Lambert’s sophomore album, Trespassing. Sparro’s own recent solo album, Return to Paradise, was released in June.


Will Young, Great Britain

Years before Adam Lambert, or even Kelly Clarkson, Will Young became the first winner of England’s Pop Idol, which beget a legion of Idol franchises worldwide. His first single after being crowned was a cover of Westlife’s “Evergreen,” which sold more than 1.8 million copies. Young, 33, came out as gay right out of the gate, telling a British tabloid in 2002, that “For me it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed about. I’m gay and I’m comfortable with that. I really don’t know what the fuss is about.”

Subsequent albums have produced hits like “Your Game” (off Friday’s Child) and “Jealousy” (off 2011’s Echoes), but we really like Young singing the classics, like “Beyond the Sea,” above. Maybe he’ll record some new versions and change the pronouns?


Jónsi, Iceland

Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson first came to our attention as the lead singer of Iceland’s Sigur Rós, but he blew our socks off with his 2010 solo album, Go, and the song “Boy Lilikoi” (above). As one YouTube commenter put it, “Whenever I feel lost, hopeless, or surrounded by unfortunate events, I listen to this song and escape into another world filled with hope, light and happiness.”

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  • Ouch!

    Okay, Like It Rough is about the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

  • Daez

    Nice job of pissing off the Glambert fans…

    Seriously, how do you run an article on out gay pop stars and not even mention Adam!?!

  • ScaryRussianHeather

    Will Young won Pop Idol Feb. 2002 and Clarkson won Sept. 2002. Hardly “years”.

    Will Young has always taken heat for featuring female love interests in pronouns AND videos:

    But he did do this good video “Jealousy” last year featuring him and a man supporting his single that charted #5 in the UK.

    No surprise the single and album failed to chart in the US. Because, as we know, the “support” from the LGBT community never translates into coin for these singers. It’s much easier to type words on the internet than shell out a whopping $10.00 or $.99. How many times have we read “why should I pay for Lambert’s music if I don’t like it?” eyeroll.

    Will Young, Jealousy:

  • ScaryRussianHeather


    I thought the same thing until I figured he was assuming Ricky Martin being Puerto Rican by birth made him one of the three non strictly USA pop stars they could scrape up as “popular”.

    Of course that doesn’t explain why Queerty never bothered to cover Queen + Adam Lambert mini tour especially when it was reported everywhere but HERE…that Kiev’s Elton John ANTIAIDS Foundation kick off concert featuring Queen + Adam Lambert had a physical audience of an estimated 350K people in the streets to hear them.

  • dee-dee

    The clip for Will’s song “Come On” gets to a lot of people. Especially if you have a dog.

  • ScaryRussianHeather


    OMG I love it, so poignant. Well how about that Queerty made me a Will Young fan. I never really paid attention to the guy before.

    I have a pet sitting/dog walking business and I’m DEFINITELY putting that video on my site. THANK YOU!

  • Daez

    @ScaryRussianHeather: If you make crappy music do not expect us to buy it simply because you are gay. I do not support anything JUST because the person that made it/performed it is gay. If you want to succeed then do it because you are the best not because you are gay.

    If you are the best at what you do, no one really cares where you put your dick!

  • Daez

    @ScaryRussianHeather: Last time I checked the USA was on the globe, or did it go to Mars with the Rover?

  • MN84

    I think you got your pornstars mixed up. Sean Paul Lockhart is Brent Corrigan, not Brent Everett, FYI.

  • sfbeast

    Thanks Queerty for this posting, because I probably never would have known about these singers otherwise. I like Sam Sparro, with that weird video. And I want to listen to the released version of Will Young’s Beyond the Sea. But I think there are good reasons many of us haven’t heard about the other songs. They aren’t very good, the singers aren’t very interesting, and the videos are incredibly amateurish. And the Like it Rough video, which I’m guessing he thinks is very edgy and out there, is inexcusably awful and inappropriate.

  • ScaryRussianHeather


    Maybe you didn’t read this part : “seven queer pop artists that might be a little lesser known to American audiences”.

    I generally don’t give Queerty bloggers the benefit of the doubt but in this case it seems obvious to me after reading the intro several times that the author was going for NON USA singers. Regardless of how I feel about the diss of AL.

    As far as spending your hard earned $10.00 or $.99 on a single, that’s your prerogative. I highly doubt all of you with this philosophy give ANY MONEY AT ALL to any LGBT causes, anyway. Conversely, Lambert fans put their money where their mouth is and have donated over $1 Million to Lambert’s charities. And YES, I see promoting LGBT entertainers on that level. Because SALES will get radio play and radio play will beget more sales and higher profile. People will buy ANYTHING burned into their brain on pop radio or haven’t you noticed?

    I guess you don’t think the ONLY SONG ABOUT MARRIAGE EQUALITY by Lambert “Outlaws of Love” is worth $.99 on iTunes. I guess it’s CRAPPY to sing about a serious subject that happens to be the number one political thing people talk about here.

    “Crappy music” is subjective. Trespassing achieved high metacritic scores from the top reviewers. 8 out of 10 were positive until one homophobe and one pop hater brought the overall score down. Regardless, his overall score remains higher than a Kelly Clarkson or Katy Perry, pop selling monsters.

  • Daez

    You have no idea how much my family and I have done for charity. Lets just say that if you consider all of the funding that our family is either directly or indirectly responsible for in the past 2-3 years it makes Adam’s entire fan base look somewhat lacking.

  • Daez

    @ScaryRussianHeather: Also, I never said that Adam’s music was crappy. I simply said that you can not expect someone to buy music simply because it was made by gay artists.

  • frenchjr25

    Now if the world could get Ireland’s Jedward to come out. They are two of the gayest young men on the plant.


    makes you REALLY appreciate what britain/north america/scandinavia has given to the world of pop music (okay, a bit of french blippy beepy shit, too.)
    otherwise, it’s a wasteland out there.

    *gives good western-imperialist-hegemonic-dont-giva-fuck-look*

  • frenchjr25

    The porn actor in Like It Rough is actually Brent Corrigan.

  • sfbeast

    @Randal Oulton: Randal, I agree with you. Thanks for the link. Not a great song, unfortunately, but he and the other guys in the video are definitely hot

  • mikeandrewsdantescove

    The article was great and introduced me to some new singers overseas.

    However, I think these artists deserve honorable mention: DJ Pornstar, John LePage, LFB (Leo Frappier), The Ones, Carl Man, Matt Consola and Wil Sabin.


  • Robert Collins

    How could you leave out Anthony Callea who has the biggest selling single in Australian history. He was runner up on Austrailian Idol a few years back and has a new hit single called “Last To Go” right now. This is one hell of an ommision.

  • Damianjh

    What no Kazaky? No way those bitches are str8. Vogueing, heels & a huge DPA!

  • Dennis

    chris garneau

  • wiredream


    The emphasis is on pop ‘star’. Not ‘future Where Are They Now subject’.

  • Benjamin Istvan Cseko

    wtf? mika was ever NOT out? news to me.

  • roxorz

    Uhhh… JAKE SHEARS, and as others mentioned lambert.

  • Andrew

    Will Young’s last two albums have made me a big fan and the latest Echoes is amazing and so cheap even with postage from Amazon UK.

    His latest song is one of my favourites of all time – I Just Want a Lover.

  • Belinda

    2009 X Factor UK winner, Joe McElderry, also came out not long after winning as Will Young had done in 2001.

  • PAGlambert


    The topic was "lesser-known in America"! :-)

  • Paul

    @Daez: To be fair, Daez, Queerty did mention they wanted to introduce us to artists that are lesser known to Americans. I for one think this is a fabulous article!!! I’m always looking for new music, and this is a great introduction to other gay artists I didn’t know of…haven’t heard the songs yet, but I have a feeling I will be busy doing searches on Spotify for a bit tonight. Thanks to other commenters on other suggestions. Oh, and Will Young’s “Friday’s Child”…lovely song if one hadn’t heard of it. Take a listen.

  • Ben

    Ed droste?

  • SG

    Good feature. I downloaded the Basement Jaxx w Sam Sparro on account of this.

  • Mal

    @ScaryRussianHeather– I think you make some great points. I too wonder why the lack of support for Adam Lambert who I think is doing a heck of a job representing his community. Maybe not in the way some people think he should but he is an honest, charismatic, mega talented and articulate individual. He has brought fans together of all ages, ethnicity (he has quite a global following), sexual orientations, and has been an inspiration for young people. I know, I work with many of the slightly off center youth who admire him.

  • Julia Zimerman

    Jay Brannan is an American artist but I just have to put his name out there. Jay is a 30 year old gay singer/songwriter originally from Texas. He has a beautiful tenor voice and accompanies himself on the guitar. His music is sometimes complimented w/ piano and percussive instruments. I don’t think Jay can really be classified as pop but he is definitely worth listening to. You can find him on YouTube or download his music. Thanks!

  • Julia Zimerman

    @Pierre-Yves: i added jay brannan before seeing your comment, sorry. he is fantastic isn’t he?

  • Nina

    @Daez: Uhh, speaking as a Glambert, you’re WAY out of line. Did you read the first paragraph, that said it was about LESSER-KNOWN gay pop stars from AROUND THE WORLD, or bother noting that Adam is mentioned alongside Sam Sparro? Apparently not.

    Overreactive fans like you are the ones who give all Glamberts a bad name.

    However, Queerty, I have to ask how Mika coming out is “recent”? He’s been out as bisexual for at least four years.

  • James

    No Adam Lambert? He was the first gay musician to get a number one album in America after all… Idiots.

  • Freya

    Coming out cost Joe hugely. Simon Cowell doesn’t know what to do with and how to promote openly gay young male artists (Will Young and to a lesser extent Adam Lambert were very lucky to be from a Simon Fuller, not Simon Cowell, show. As soon as Joe came out, Cowell turned all his attention to the runner-up, Olly Murs, and sidelined Joe. Interesting then to see that Murs was the name most mentioned by reliable sources when a UK celebrity was about to outed a few weeks ago and their management spent many frantic hours on a Saturday night stopping it from happening.

    It’s well known by almost everyone who’s heard of him that Adam Lambert is gay so why mention him in an article about singers who many may not know are gay? As for his music being “crappy”, I guess you should tell all but the most homophobic or biased for whatever other reason of reviewers. No, there is no need to support someone just because of their sexuality if you don’t like what they do but there is no need for radio to virtually boycott an artist just because of their openness and honesty about what and who they are and their absolute no restraint in expressing that when their music and their talent wipes the floor with 99% of what and who they do play incessantly. “If you are the best at what you do, no one really cares where you put your dick” …… if only that were true.

    Adam is also mentioned in the bit about Will Young. As for Mika, funny that a man who claims to be bisexual has never been in a relationship with or even been seen in anything more than friendly situations with women by anyone who knows him.

    Let me see…..
    1) The first openly gay singer to have a #1 on the Billboard charts.
    2) Another platinum album under his belt.
    3) A triple platinum single.
    4) Mutiple gold, platinum, #1s and top 10s around the world.
    5) The first American Idol contestant to:-
    a) carry out an international headlining tour within a year of his appearance on the show;
    b) be invited to mentor on the show;
    c) be spoken of as a potential judge on the show.
    6) The first singer to be asked to sing the theme for a major film before even releasing any of his own material.
    7) Stepping more than impressively into the shoes of a legend as the new frontman of one of the world’s biggest bands of all-time for a European mini-tour and, following the huge success of that, the prospect of a World tour next year.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath for that “Where are they now?” feature, wiredream.

  • Paul

    @Andrew: Agreed…fab track that “I Just Want a Lover”. Pretty good CD overall, listened to most of it last night. Will have to get it.

  • Leo

    Only thing missing is Darren Hayes. His last album was such incredible.

  • AS


    Elton John’s “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player” became his first U.S. number-one single, reaching the top spot on 3 February 1973.

    Many years before Adam Lambert. In fact there have been many others as well.

  • Benjamin Istvan Cseko

    Will Young is good, though “Runaway” i like much more than this (for me) borderline cheese track.

    Jónsi totally rocks!

    And please (unless it’s been posted in a comment here before), please do not forget Patrick Wolf!

  • Benjamin Istvan Cseko

    re: mika. this bisexual thing is such dumb bullcrap. get real.

  • Nina

    @Freya: Which just further proves my point. Adam is popular enough and out enough to be a reference point, as opposed to people having to be introduced to him. It’d be like going “Hey guys, ever heard of this gay guy named Elton John?” 99% of the response is going to be “um, duh?” and the remaining 1% all live under a rock (or go “No, I–wait, isn’t that the dude who sang those songs from The Lion King?”). Not saying Adam is as popular as Elton (lest I get dogpiled by a bunch of angry Elton fans), just saying the point is equally obvious.

  • InscrutableTed

    Next time you do this, you have to include Azis, an openly gay (and successful) pop star in Bulgaria. Truly remarkable.

  • Paul

    @Leo: GOOD addition…Hayes’ “This Delicate Thing We’ve Made” is an absolutely outstanding CD…blew me away. A shame he isn’t very well known (or is known as a footnote) in the mainstream US.

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