Jack’d Polls Users On Gay Icons, Results Are Distressing

madonnafrankoceanOh sure, the gay community has longtime icons like Stephen Fry, Quentin Crisp, Harry Hay and Bette Davis. But who are the contemporary figures who represent LGBTs?

The hookup app Jack’d just polled its members, and the results are … mixed.

Michael Sam is the top contender, which is very sweet. Sam seems like a nice guy, and he’s accomplished something pretty darn impressive. He’s not Barbra Streisand, of course, but who is?

Speaking of Barbra, she was voted the least relevant figure in the poll. If that’s the case, we don’t want to live on this planet anymore. Judy and Liza were also given the “who’s that?” treatment by Jack’d users.

Of course, we understand that these figures haven’t exactly done much to court the sex-minded young gays who used Jack’d, so we can understand why they’re not exactly on everyone’s mind. But have a little respect for your queer history, people. How can you talk about gay icons with no mention of Madonna? The whole world’s gone crazy.

Frank Ocean nabbed second place in the survey. OK, fine, he seems like a nice guy too. But a gay icon?

Following him are Iggy Azalea, a rapper, and Barack Obama, a president.

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  • Mezaien

    SAD! but straight people will try to help us the HOMOS, to forget about our hardship in the pass and what the D.E.K.C.U.F UP Christianity have done to us and others.

  • Sparkyu1

    Is there a reason why I should consider straight female musicians more iconic to me than LGBT people who are out and proud, breaking barriers and pushing for equality? Nor do I think “respecting our history” requires putting straight women on a pedestal as our icons

  • Rulito

    @Sparkyu1: Absolutely agree. We should find more people like Michael Sam to turn into icons.

  • Desert Boy

    Streisand lost her “gay icon” status when it was learned she is disgusted by gay sex.

  • boring

    This just reads “I’M OLD AND MY TREASURED CULTURE IS NO LONGER RELEVANT AND I’M MAD.” Guess what? This happens with every generation and it’s a necessity.

    I mean, to be fair, Gay Culture seems to try and ignore this undeniable fact by still fetishizing people like Madonna, who, at all points of time of her career, there was always something infinitely better being released at the exact same time, but it was bound to happen.

    To deny this cycle, to pretend it shouldn’t happen is ignorant. All the important cultural milestones in your life will one day crumble and you’ll experience this within your lifetime. Boo fucking hoo.

  • jcortez

    @Sparkyu1: Totally agree. It’s time more gay people are gay icons rather than every other pop diva. Also the results are obviously from a younger audience, so it’s less likely they know the impact of Judy Garland or Bette Davis. It’s not like they teach gay history in (most) schools.

  • tommyz

    Wow – what an offensive article. Besides the sweeping statement that all guys on Jack’d are young – or – sex minded – or even the preposterous notion that Barbara – a woman who sat on the rights of ‘The Normal Heart” for years hoping only to create some tacky “poppa can you hear me” style musical out of it that showcased her own ‘godlike’ (in her own mind talent). Realistically we’d all prefer “poppa can you gag me” so we’d never have to hear from that irrelevant egomaniac again.

    Bravo to the youth for picking out and proud LBGT people – or even Madonna whose long time relationship with Ingrid Caseres brought bisexuality into the limelight – and who – don’t forget – in her Russian concert risked arrest in delivering gay friendly messages. Barbara – please.

  • tjr101

    I’m actually shocked by the poll results, in a good way. Michael Sam fully deserves to be up there along with Frank Ocean. These are individuals that have lived the life and experienced bigotry first hand. Every generation has their icons, 10 to 20 years down the road we will be discussing someone else.

  • Scribe38

    Every generation gets to decide their own role models. For me it was artist like Madonna and Janet, because they projected strength in their sexuality. Madonna told the 14 year old me that it was more than ok to be gay. I was happy to have this straight woman looking out for me and those like me. If the younger people have Michael Sam and Frank Ocean I am very cool with this. It is their time and their choice. As a black gay male, I am happy that those coming behind me have role models that look the way they look and that they have someone they can relate to. It’s a new world, where the role models are actually gay men and women, or politicians would can actually effect change over our lives. I think the world young gays are inheriting is a good one.

  • denvermtnbiker

    Jack’d users are living in the present, not the past. That’s why Michael Sam ranks at the top, as he should. I’m sure they know about the figures of the past that the author adores :)

  • Lvng1tor

    Judy remains an icon and so does Cher, Madonna and a few more because they are who we had. They Pal’d around with gay men, supported us and helped to make us visible so we can have Out and Proud emerging (icon status takes longer than a month) icons. I think that both MS and FO are on their way….lets just hope they don’t f it up.

    I actually hope in 20yrs we are only discussing icons from today and yester-years because icons are no longer needed. That’s my hope.

    Please lets stop with every little girl who releases a pop song aimed at selling to young queers and declaring them an icon. Icon’s do something more than poorly dancing, lip syncing to auto tuned tracks and doing lines of coke with their gay besties.

  • cformusic

    re: Michael Sam; hopefully he will turn into a star..if not, the wait continues because so far non of the out-athletes have been stars, or even reliable role players

  • lykeitiz

    @Scribe38: Thank you for writing exactly what I was thinking as I read the article and the comments! Change is inevitable, but to ignore those that paved the way is dangerously short-sighted. Currently it’s sports figures and politicians who stick their necks out with something real to lose, but new-flash to all the kids: back then it was artists like Madonna. Politicians and sports figures never would have come close to “going there”.

  • Tookietookie123

    A lot of us who use the apps are in our early twenties or 18 or 19. We weren’t raised hearing about them and there isn’t exactly a gay history book we all get so we can learn all the gay icons of the past, so they no longer become relevant to us personally.

  • Ben Dover

    This doesn’t surprise me, but I’m surprised that the author finds it so “distressing.” Even though I grew up in the “Diva” era, I always thought there was something a little bit weird about it. It would have been great to have more gay men to emulate.

    And I guess the word “icon” kind of gives away the problem. Madonna for instance may have been that, but to what extent could a typical gay boy in the ’80s/’90s use her life as some sort of role model? There’s a big difference between an “icon” and a role model, someone to use as a practical example for your own life.

  • masc4masc

    so what exactly is it that determines someone is a ‘gay icon’? is it celeb pseudo-activism or just having a huge fagbase? a little of both?

    @Ben Dover: i was thinking the same on that first part. what i find more ‘distressing’ than any jack’d poll is how gay men seem to always pick ‘divas’ to serve as ‘gay icons’.

  • Ridpathos

    Stupid article. I’m young, and my gay icons aren’t washed up singers who pander to the gay community for record sales. That must mean I’m horrible.

    My gay icons are: Edie Windsor, the Marines Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells, and on a lesser scale because I have yet to see his full impact on the gay community: Michael Sam.

    Barack Obama isn’t gay so why is he a gay icon? But he is someone I admire and I admire him also for being the first president to support LGBT folks.

    I’m sorry my gay icons aren’t porn stars infected with HIV or old sorry women who every week do something that causes them to have to apologize to the gay community.

  • Ridpathos

    I forgot to mention, I also admire Whoopi Goldberg, Jodie Foster, and Sally Ride. I was thinking of male icons (except for Edie), so I forgot to mention my favorite female ones.

    All of them also have something in common. They aspire to live quietly and be treated equally.

  • lykeitiz

    @Ben Dover: I agree it would have been ideal to have actual gay role models or icons, but the sad truth is they were scarce, or perhaps underappreciated.

    As a young gay man back then, I can say Madonna was in fact not only an icon, but indeed a role model. She embodied the proverbial middle finger to the establishment (ie: chauvinistic, homophobic, & bigoted straight males). She not only “expressed herself” as she saw fit, but she did so not only without fear of their reaction, but with a thrill for their disdain. For me personally, it was a lesson in courage.

  • james_in_cambridge

    @Ridpathos: Has Whoopi Goldberg done something for us I’m not aware of? I get Jodie Foster and Sally Ride, they’re gay women who’ve accomplished a lot but Whoopi is someone I should admire? Why?

  • lykeitiz

    @Ridpathos: Well aren’t you the enlightened one with a clear vision of what an icon should be? And to think you reached those conclusions without anyone paving the way for you.

    Oh, and it’s nice that you “admire” Obama. He is, however, doing a little more than “supporting LGBT folks”. He’s actually making a lot of enemies as he unlocks the last shackles we have in this country.

    You could have stopped when you said “I’m young”. It shows. You absolutely should have your own icons, but the ones you admire for “living quietly” others would say lived in the closet and did nothing for the cause.

  • Jamie

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Elizabeth Taylor, who was a great friend to the gay community and helped raise awareness and huge amounts of money for AIDS research back when few people would.

    I also have huge respect for modern icons like Neil Patrick Harris, Madonna, Lady Gaga and others who use an international stage to show gay youth that it’s OK to be yourself, be strong and never live in shame. That message is paying off, and it was much needed.

  • Sena Shetani

    I’m sorry but I had to register just so I could make this comment:

    This article has to have been written by a white gay man over 45 because the insanity of this is baffling. So dude is gonna dismiss four African Americans three of whom are actually LGBTQ for a bunch of past the corn white pop singers? What did Cher do for us? What did Babs or Madonna do for us? Correction: what did they do for us before they saw they had a huge gay audience or before their own child came out as gay? We are past the point making straight pop divas are icons. If you aren’t out there marching for us, trying to make things better for us, attacking those who attack us, shaming those who shame us or living a life that represents us in a positive way I don’t see you as a gay icon. We have too many actual gay men and women and trans people too who are making huge strides in the community. We have people like Michael Sam, Laverne Cox, Janrt Mock, Azealia Banks, Frank Ocean, Chris Colfer, Ryan Murphy, etc who are actually doing things by are fighting or changing the way we view LGBTQ people.

  • Ms Urethra Johnson

    Still waiting for my lobotomy appointment…

  • Ms Urethra Johnson

    Justify My Love, The Book SEX, Erotica, Express Yourself video, Vogue…
    Losing My Mind, Cabaret…
    The Prince Of Tides, Funny Girl, Don’t Rain On My Parade…
    Chaz Bono, Bob Mackey, fishnet everything…
    Ruby slippers, c**ktail culture…
    Just off the tip of my cuff…

    Must get that lobotomy pronto !!!

    Would be like saying:… Jewish people should forget / forego the horrors of the Holocaust… cause it ain’t current or relevant in today’s society…

    Ignorance is bliss huh?

    Or maybe I’ve had one too many coffees today…
    Some “people” have some pretty sheltered lives in here…WOAH…

  • Dez

    Madonna? Yes. She threw sex in America’s face like nobody before her in the 80’s and 90’s.
    Michael Sam? Yes – name another openly gay foot ball player.
    Lady Gaga? Yes-She gave an amazing speech in front of the white house for the gays; more than just friends w/gays
    Frank Ocean? Yes – name another openly gay high profile hip-hop artist.

    Barbara Streisand thinks gay sex is disgusting? Look at her face.
    Cher, Judy & Liza? Um I don’t think so. I honestly think calling them icons is like calling Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Beyonce gay icons.

  • dave lopes

    This is GREAT NEWS.

    The female idolizing old gays are dying being replaced by a more diverse and mature gay crowd.

    Now we can have icons from the full spectrum of society from sport figures to politicians to others.

  • Ms Urethra Johnson

    Wow just found out you can’t spell out “Co*ktail”…huh? Yet there’s Vodka Advertisement galore on this website? Lobotomy, HURRY !!!

  • Ms Urethra Johnson

    How “old” am I? Wisdom / experience is a bad thing? Back to the hospice I go then….

  • Pistolo

    What about Elizabeth Taylor? The girl who Monty Clift came out to when she was 19 (in 1951) and whom she tried to care for and find companions for until his death? The girl who was a lifelong friend of Roddy McDowall, who always employed many gay men, who urged Richard Burton to accept a role where he played a homosexual in the 50’s? The one who was in movies written by Tenesse Williams that often centered around homosexuality and provided a rare glimpse into it during a time where it wasn’t even spoken of? The woman who led the charge on AIDS awareness when millions of people were dying because to many people it was a “gay disease”? Seriously, CAMP doesn’t equal gay icon. Sorry, Cher is great and all and so is Barbara but Elizabeth Taylor kicks their asses.

  • Mack

    I’m an oldster and never did figure out why Judy Garland, Liza Minelli or even Barbara Streisand (except for her son)were ever considered icons. The only thing I could think of were all the Drag Queens used to imitate them on stage. But young people today have some to look up to. There are Michael Sam, Jason Collins, and Robbie Rogers to name a few.

    Elizabeth Taylor will always be an icon because of what she did for the gays with her AIDS Foundation. Lady Gaga has shown she supports gays greatly.

  • Lvng1tor

    @Tookietookie123: I can understand to a point what you are saying even though I am much older than you. A quick internet search or just paying attn would tell you there are many books on gay history and some great non fiction as well. Here’s something to start with. Some of the most amazing books are on here.

    I am happy that this is something of a history lesson to you. I by no means want to say you are wrong because what I grew up with is not your reality…that’s what we were fighting for.

  • Ridpathos

    @lykeitiz: The ones who cleared the way were NOT Cher, Madonna, and Barbara Streisand.

    And we both admire and support Obama. Why are you getting offended by my support of him? Because I’m not as ‘old’ as you are and therefore you think you hold some kind of glorified existence over those who are younger. You sound like someone who is bitter to be getting older and replaced by a younger generation whom you cannot relate to.

    Many of those I mentioned did stay in the closet. Sally Ride being a prime example, who only came out posthumously. The loud gays did a lot for the community and really pushed us into the lime light. But what we need now aren’t more overly-aggressive loud gays. We need role-models for the younger generation that show them that they can live normally and freely as they are and that being gay doesn’t mean you have to be obnoxious. We can fight for equal rights and freedom from a stance of peaceful and stoic existence and calm words.

    The logic of equal rights for lgbt wins a lot more adherents than the vim and vigor of the community.

  • Ridpathos

    @james_in_cambridge: Well she is a vocal supporter of gay rights, much more than Jodie Foster is, campaigning for pride events and gay rights in other countries as well as the US.

  • Ridpathos

    @Sena Shetani: Thank you for posting. I very much agree with you.

  • Lvng1tor

    @Ridpathos: I think it’s great you think outside of the box popular culture has shoved in your face. I think a lot of the people you look up to are fantastic and more young people should know their names.

    I could argue Jodi Foster and Sally Ride but that really isn’t the point. Try a little less judgement on people who see, what you call, washed up singers. For many of us they were they only ones in the 70’s and 80’s pre internet days that embraced the gay community, that stood up for us, when AIDS hit and they dared to say it, fight for funding and visibility when the Gov didn’t care that gay men where dying a horrific death.

    Speaking of HIV/AIDS…having met one of your idols a few times over the years (nothing more than cherished, on my side, quick conversations at fund raisers) Whoopi Goldberg. She would be horrified and read you to filth for seemingly demeaning those with HIV as something beneath you.

    I’m glad that this is all a bit of history to you and your icons, those you respect of are a different caliber. Remember though that no rights that you currently enjoy were won by people who aspired “…to live quietly and be treated equally” They were won by big mouthed in your face never take no for an answer,drag queens, washed out pop stars,Hard nosed activists, trans and amazing lawyers (like Windsor) and many many beautiful humans who HIV/AIDS took and continues to take all to young. Maybe one day you’ll be someone young LGBTQ youth look up to but it’s hard to be that when you are judging people who lived in a harder world for gays and made it better for you. Make it better for the next gen.

  • Tony Johnston

    @Dez: Madonna? So being a public slut makes you a gay icon? Frank Ocean? Have you ever heard the words “I’m gay” or “I’m bisexual” come out of his mouth? He actually flat out refuses to identify as anything when asked. Not that I’m against rejecting labels, but I’d hardly call him an “openly gay high profile hip-hop artist”. He really just admitted to a same-sex attraction he had almost 10 years ago, and that somehow got him Gay Man of the Year 2012 because gay media was just really eager to tap the hip hop market. Remember how they kept referring to him as the first gay rapper…even though he’s always been a singer? lol

  • James Hart

    Boy, “gay culture” has really devolved and has been dumbed down. Before everyone was “out” and “proud,” the gay community, though it wasn’t called that at the time, had truly illustrious luminaries counted among their ranks, such as, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Moss Hart (Rodgers & Hart fame), and many, MANY more. But now, the gay culture idolizes rather superficial celebrities, many of whom couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag if they had to. Being gay was so countercultural, special, and exciting. The angst gays went through was truly a catalyst for great art and literature. It was like being a member of the “smart set.” Now, it’s very low brow and common. Now, we have gays aping straights when it comes to marriage and the family. The mystique of being gay is definitely through. Now, all we want is to be “accepted” by the hetero community, our benevolent dictator. I guess the surfs always want the approval of the Lord of the Manor. Sad, but true.

  • jar

    @Ridpathos: Barack Obama is not the first president to support “LGBT folks.” In fact, many, such as Dan Choi, would argue that he has done little more for us than that which circumstances required. Remember this is the constitutional law professor president who supported separate, but equal for us (one of the most embarrassing principles ever put forth by the supreme court). You can have your icons (we can all free to choose our own), but not your own facts.

    And Sally Ride “came out posthumously.” Did you read what you wrote? I would love to hear how she did this.

  • Ridpathos

    @Lvng1tor: You are right. I didn’t mean to be demeaning towards those with HIV/AIDS. I just don’t see the fascination many people on this site seem to have with porn stars. I understand that the progress that has been made has been on the backs of those who weren’t afraid to be who they are. I think we should continue to not be afraid of who we are, but I want to call on those who are a little quieter to be comfortable with themselves as they are, be with whom they want to be with, and continue to do the great things that they do even if that means fighting for their rights through purely existing as an example of an LGBT person that others can look up to.

  • Ridpathos

    @jar: “The first woman in space is dead at 61 and has come out as a lesbian posthumously. Astronaut and physicist Sally Ride, who in 1983 became the first female astronaut to go where only men had gone before, declared in a postmortem announcement on her website that, among other family members, she is survived by Tam O’Shaughnessy, her female partner of 27 years.”

    That’s how it was done. I guess it wasn’t her coming out personally, though I wouldn’t doubt that she probably pre-approved with her family what was to be written about her relationship with Tam after her death.

  • jar

    @Lvng1tor: Well said. I would add that age does not per se create a divide among us. Passing on the torch is a part of life and many older gay men and lesbians (as I approach that realm myself) support and nurture our young so that they can come into their own. We want more for them. I certainly felt that legacy in my young adulthood and do my little bit to carry it on. I hope that tradition does not get lost.

    @Mack: Garland was an “icon” for two reasons, I believe. First, she became known to little gay kids (mostly buys noticed) through the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy is a character who many gay kids could identify with- lonely and alone, dreaming of a better life somewhere over the rainbow, not understood by her caretakers, and living in a sepia colored world. She is thrust out of that world into a new space where she creates a new family of people/things who love her and look out for her. Ultimately she is forced to choose between her bio family and the new family she has created. It can be read as a gay coming of age tale. (In fact, it is more generally about finding oneself through puberty/adolescence. Through her experiences in the technicolor world she finds her intelligence, emotions/love, and courage.)

    Secondly, Garland was a tragic figure. For better or worse, many gay men of an earlier age identified with this as they lived quiet lives of desperation in a hostile world. Many of the representations of gay men in literature and film were tragic, up to and including The Boys in the Band at least. It was expected that gay men would never find love or fulfillment. Judy represented someone who, despite her tragic nature, shone bright through her talent. Many gay men identified with that as a wish fulfillment.

    As for Streisand, it was her otherness that appealed. She was not conventionally attractive or sexy. The young Streisand got by on her vocal talent and wit and did so with a knowingness that appealed to gay men who similarly were others who used wit and creativity to garner attention. For many, she ultimately became an ogre and lost her luster.

    @James Hart: James, as much as I laud these icons as well, none of them (with the possible exception of Capote) were out of the closet. Sure, people in the know knew their stories, but they were never public about their orientation. Gore went so far as to claim that he could not be a homosexual because homosexuals don’t exist (it’s a bit more involved than this quick recitation). After he wrote his first (gay) novel, Vidal never returned to the subject if I recall correctly. And Moss Hart’s story is replete with repression, alcohol abuse, and futile analysis (indeed many of these figures spent years in analysis). Isherwood, Auden, and Britten were certainly out, but perhaps their foreignness prevented them from garnering more public recognition in America as gay men?

    Every age has its own icons in all areas and that is a good thing IMO. As for gay icons, I would hope that the advances we have made would raise the bar for what constitutes a gay icon, not lower it.

  • jar

    @Ridpathos: Nothing against Sally, but it’s not a profile in courage to agree to have your sexual orientation disclosed post mortem. I find it a sad statement actually that she felt she could not do this as a living person. I wish for a world in which the Sally Rides do not feel such fear/anxiety about being out.

  • jrick

    Disappointed Alan Turing wasn’t on the list. Then again why would I expect that.

  • Uppity

    @jar: Thank you for this seasoned perspective.

  • james_in_cambridge

    @jar: Really jar? Then name another President who supported us the way Obama has. Just one…(please don’t embarass yourself by saying Clinton; that fucker is the one who signed DOMA, in case you forgot and he didn’t support gay marriage until a year after Obama came out for it.) You’re either a simple fool or a GOProud fool.

  • DarkZephyr

    @Sena Shetani: oh god I am sick sick sick of people saying things like “gee, you must be old and WHITE to have said something so stupid!” F.U.

  • Sena Shetani

    @Tony Johnston: actually it was not that long ago and also while he doesn’t openly call himself gay or bisexual he doesn’t dispute it either and he admits most of his first album had to do with same sex attraction and love. He being visible and unashamed has done more of the black music community and black culture in general aside from Obama coming out in support for marriage equality.

  • Sena Shetani

    @DarkZephyr: What else would you say about an article where for the first time ever in a
    mainstream gay culture African Americans are being seen as the leading icons and role models in today’s society in lieu of a bunch of old white women?

  • pawnee

    Bravos to Obama! Let us not forget that barbra Streisand never backed away from controversy in support of the gay community. She risked major shade when she called for a boycott of fuc&ing Colorado as a result of their unfair anti gay laws! She got 2 taboo movies made for the gay message (Serving In Silence and What Makes A Family) to reach large audiences. She tried like hell to make The Normal Heart a movie as viable as The Way We Were. To dismiss her action over Larry Kramer’s rants is nonsense. She loved that piece but they butted heads at every turn. Her public love of the play brought it into a different light as did her adoration for her own gay son. A true queen for our community. She displayed action when others thought kissing a girl on MTV was shocking. Never forget the truth people.

  • lykeitiz

    @Ridpathos: No, I am not bitter about getting older, nor do I look down on the younger generation or try to deny them their own life’s experiences or global perspective. I do however, get very angry when a younger person distorts the history that I lived through and try to pass it off as fact.

    Lvng1tor’s response to you is exactly, word for word, how I feel about what you wrote. I hope you re-read it again and again. He wrote it with much more patience than I would have.

    And for the record, we are on the same page about Cher, Barbra, & porn stars. I do feel however, that you are dead wrong about Madonna. But as you go along and continue to choose your own icons, remember that it is all subjective & you’re in no position to decide for someone else who they use to take them to a higher place.

    I will share this story with my younger friends who are in their early 20’s who enrich my life greatly, and I’m sure they will agree that in part it’s because of the “loud, pushy gays” as you put it, that you can sit here on this website and have this conversation.

  • Ridpathos

    @jar: I think the reason Sally did this was to serve as a role-model for a larger group: women. She was the first woman in the US to be an astronaut. If she came out earlier, the focus would have been on her being a lesbian furthering the stereotype that only gay women could do a man’s job.

    I also admire the way that she lived quietly without feeling the need to announce her sexuality to everyone. She existed with her relationship the same way everyone exists with their relationships. I don’t think she hid it, but I don’t think she had to scream it from the mountaintops.

  • Ridpathos

    @lykeitiz: I agree with Lnvg1tor’s response as well. I don’t know much about Madonna, except that she is a musician and was a sex icon, which was probably partially liberating for the gay community who she came out in support of in a time where there was very little support for the gay community. I have learned this from the posters here, which is great.

    And I’m fine with choosing my own icons and leaving others to choose theirs. But when an article author posts a stupid article admonishing us for having different icons than he does, then I have a right to respond in kind.

  • AJAnders

    I’m 31 and I couldn’t come up with 2 Barbara Streisand songs off the top of my head if my life depended on it. Zero for Judy Garland (unless you count Wizard of Oz songs which all kids knew around first grade) and same for Liza.

    I like the results for that list. It was long last time that gay icons could be something other than straight women singers and actors who hit it big 60-70 years ago.

  • Cam

    Part of the reason for changing Icons are different generations, and also changes in society.

    Somebody who was an ICON in the past simply because they had gay friends or fans isn’t going to seem worthy of “Icon” status to a generation that has seen people publicly come out, fight for civil rights etc…

    But again, if Famous Icons never changed then we would still be talking about Louise Brooks, Rudoulph Valentino, May West etc… of course they are going to change each generation.

  • J_Z

    Divas like Mae West, Judy and Liza were icons not only as flamboyant entertainers, but because of the loving rapport they had with a gay audience in their very repressed times.

    Pop cultural time moves quickly – I’m only 32 and just old enough to remember what a big deal Madonna’s outspoken support of the gay community was to mainstream America at the time. She promoted safe sex and AIDS awareness at a time when a lot of celebrities wouldn’t touch it. Not to mention all the androgyny she put forth in her stage shows. Did she do it just to shock? Maybe, but she also explicitly and vocally supported a gay audience and talked for years about her early gay mentors. She certainly pushed some racial buttons as well, ones I don’t see pop stars pushing today.

  • James Hart

    @jar: Generally, I don’t believe in “idols.” But you are correct that Moss Hart had all of the problems you enumerated. Most likely, all of his angst really was a catalyst for his musical genius. And that could also be said for Da Vinci and Michelangelo. These men were true intellectuals. True artists. I would NEVER refer to any of the aforementioned “idols”, enumerated by our compatriots, as intellectuals or even profound artists. Once upon a time, refined, elegant, and brilliant gay men set the tone for not only the “gay community,” but also the higher echelons of heterosexual society. Nowadays, emaciated twinks or muscle queens, with IQs in the low normal range (if even that) set the tone for the gay community. Very pathetic, indeed!

  • KWK

    @Tookietookie123: @Tookietookie123: This is the problem w/ many Millenials…they don’t understand (or care to acknowledge) that culture EXISTED before 1999. If you don’t know about something, why not make an attempt to LEARN about it. This would involve some reading, of course. Oh, and maybe viewing some older dvds, and downloading music by, you know, older CULTURAL icons WITH HUGE GAY FAN BASES like BARBRA STREISAND – and that’s BARBRA not Barbara – and Judy and Liza and…and… Your ignorance is your own doing, and your generation’s. Liz Taylor, who died only a coupla years ago, seems all but forgotten. And why hasn’t Harvey Milk’s name been uttered in all these comments? Kids…I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today…

  • vive

    Frank Ocean, seriously? A guy who can’t even bring himself to use the word “gay” to describe himself? Clearly this is a dumbed down and uninformed generation with no community or culture, probably since the internet killed the gay newspaper, coffee shop, bar, club, bathhouse, and neighborhood. And Obama, who had to be dragged into the 21st century by social movements he had nothing to do with and in fact opposed – gimme a break!

    Even circuit boys in the 90s were better educated.

  • Lvng1tor

    To many of the people who posted here like @Ridpathos: @lykeitiz: and more…In the end I am glad that this insipid post actually sparked a good worthy discussion. Cool!

  • vive

    How about all the writers? Clearly nobody reads any more, which explains an awful lot.

  • jar

    @james_in_cambridge: You’re big with the pejoratives, but small when it comes to facts. As much as I have never liked Bill Clinton (Ricky Ray Rector is condemnation enough), he was the first president to publicly acknowledge the existence of gay and lesbian Americans. He did this during the AIDS crisis, when we were being vociferously villified by the right and the religious, including mainstream religions such as the catholic church. In the first year of his first term in office he undertook to permit gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. He expended significant political capital on this move and suffered great reproach even from his own party (see, eg, Byrd). He signed DOMA, but did not support it. The rationale was it was an attempt to put off a threatened constitutional convention to deprive us of all rights. He could have the more principled stand of vetoing DOMA and deserves criticism for not doing so. However, Obama has never taken a principled stand on any issue, always preferring the political expedient. He did, after all, support the contemptible position of “separate, but equal” for all of us. Obama changed his position for his second campaign only in response to the significant pressure he received from gay activists and donors. Do I think Obama bares hostility towards us? No. But he does not deserve any accolades as a defender or promoter of our rights. He did what was in his best interest only. For all of his faults, one cannot say the same about Clinton regarding his support for us. I assume you are too young to have lived through the Clinton presidency because your understanding of that history is sorely lacking. As for me, I am an old school leftie. Your position is actually the reactionary one (lack of understanding of history, hero worship without consideration of facts, etc.).

  • Bee Gaga

    Let’s not forget that Jack’d does have a mostly gay black usership (which isn’t a word lol). People like bette davis and barbra streisand and judy garland and liza do NOT AT ALL have the same kind of relevance or “omg thats my girl!” feeling about them in the black gay community, as it does in the white gay community. So, the poll results may be shocking to whoever wrote this, who is clearly an older white gentleman. But as a black person, and a young one at that, I’m not shocked by these results at all.

  • Bee Gaga

    @jar: No he was right, you’re wrong. Again. Obama in the mid/late 90s was in support of gay marriage, only upon seeking political position did his positions change to get elected (which is a problem in and of itself, of course). Clinton, however, was not. And the way you’re saying he supported gay people, is the exact way that Obama has even during his presidency. Clinton may have felt the way you stated, but never at no point did he say he supported gay marriage, which is what the original person was talking about, he finally said he supported gay marriage a year after Obama publicly said it. Hillary as well as Bill held the “separate but equal” mind-set as well, civil unions, sure, marriage, no. Obama was the first president of the united states to vocally support same-sex marriage, the first to mention gay and transgender Americans in their state of the union, etc. You may not like him, but these are facts. Period.

  • Aromaeus

    Ain’t Madonna that old hoe who said black men were the most violent men she’d ever encountered despite being tied up and beaten by her WHITE ex-husband? Yeah she’s not icon to me. You white gays love icons who give you attention but don’t truly support you like many of the queer icons of color have but I’m sleep.

  • Throbert McGee

    Shouldn’t we maybe wait until Michael Sam has — I dunno, played in the NFL for at least a full year, maybe — before we declare him a gay icon?


    I think the reason Sally did this was to serve as a role-model for a larger group: women. She was the first woman in the US to be an astronaut. If she came out earlier, the focus would have been on her being a lesbian furthering the stereotype that only gay women could do a man’s job.

    Totally agree about Sally Ride! But I would add that if Ride had come out, lots on the right would have been putting her under a microscope looking for proof that “lesbians are bad role models” — while many on the left would’ve put her under a microscope looking for evidence that she sometimes voted Republican, or was in some other way a “quisling”…

  • jar

    @Bee Gaga: All that matters is what they have done as president, that is, when they have held the power to take action for our benefit. Bill Clinton took risks on our behalf in a more homophobic time. That took courage. Obama has never done that for us. Indeed, you point to Obama’s early support for same sex marriage, yet ignore that this would make his later position mendacious at best, a betrayal at worst. Obama has not risked any political capital on behalf of our struggle. (I am willing to hear of examples to the contrary.) And what makes Obama’s stance worse is that it was far less politically dangerous for him to take up our issues than in Clinton’s time. Read some history.

  • tjr101

    @jar: You sound like a disingenous gay republican. Obama has never taken risks for gay rights? Really??? From since 2008 Obama campaigned to end DADT, end DOMA and introduce Hate Crimes legislation. Done, done and done. He came out in support of same-sex marriage during his re-election year. These are not risks? Yet you have the audacity to defend Bill Clinton who signed into law one of the most damaging pieces of legislation to gay rights, Doma? Clinton didnt even come out for smae-sex marriage until last year, more than a decade after he left office. I like Clinton, but he doesn’t compare to Obama when it comes to advancing gay rights. I know it bites at you, but the truth is Obama will be remembered more favorably when it comes to gay rights.

  • james_in_cambridge

    @Bee Gaga: Thank you! Facts are not important to those like Jar with Obama Derangement Syndrome. They make up their own facts.

  • james_in_cambridge

    @jar: Obama hasn’t risked any political capital? He came out for gay marriage in July 2012, in the middle of a contested election with Mittens Romney. He could have tanked in the polls and I’m sure he was being advised to wait until after the election but he didn’t. You are the one in need of facts; you may be older than me but you’re clearly not wiser. Then again, you right-wing gays loathe Obama so much that you couldn’t see the truth if it bit you on your lying ass.

  • james_in_cambridge

    @tjr101: I ended up saying some of what you did. But we’re both wasting our breath; Jar and his kind have such an irrational hatred for Obama (probably race based but they’ll never admit it; they don’t have the balls to) that they won’t listen to facts, which I’m truly beginning to believe do have a liberal bias.

  • spencer87

    @Scribe38: I definitely am with you on that one.Back when Janet and Madonna were preaching tolerance/acceptance for the LGBT community….it wasn’t as accepted as it is now and some people even criticized them.Frank Ocean and Michael Sam do deserve to be on that list though.

  • Cam

    @Throbert McGee: said…

    “— while many on the left would’ve put her under a microscope looking for evidence that she sometimes voted Republican, or was in some other way a “quisling”…”

    Yes, because lets ALWAYS remember, that the REAL victims here are the party that has tried to fight civil rights for gays, legalize their firing, trying to prevent them from being able to work etc… THEY are the victims.

    As for Sally Ride, that wouldn’t have happened because back then neither party really gave a crap about gays. Since then however, anti-gay views are actually part of GOP plank statements and the Dems have pushed through pro-gay legislation.

    Your attempts to continually try to paint the attackers as the victims is as obvious as it is overused.

  • jar

    @Cam: An example that runs counter to that fallacious claim is the Karen Thompson-Sharon Kowalski case. They were Reagan republicans who eschewed the gay community until Sharon suffered sever injuries in a car crash and Karen had to fight Sharon’s family for control of her care. We all supported Karen’s fight and no one (that I am aware) ever lobbed any criticism of their political affiliation.

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