WATCH: Who Was Your Gay Role Model as a Kid?

Kids today don’t know how easy they’ve got it: with gay figures and characters all over the media, it’s easy to choose your role models as you come of age.

But back in the day (meaning, like, 10 years ago) the pickin’s were mighty slim. Oh sure, you had Ellen, Waylon Smithers, Billy Crystal on Soap, and whatever Will Truman was supposed to be. But if you wanted to learn what it means to be gay, you had a limited palette from which to choose.

We poked our heads into a homosexual pool party in Los Angeles this weekend to ask young gays who they looked up to during their formative years. Although our respondents were all fairly young, many of them had a tricky time pinpointing childhood gay icons. Click through below for some highlights.

All photos by Matt Baume.



Ryan: “I would have loved to have had a gay role model. I scoured the Internet for it. Everyone was allegedly gay or died of AIDS.”


When we asked, Kurt answered immediately: “River Phoenix.” You have seen My Own Private Idaho, right?



Frank: “Matthew Bourne dance company did a performance of Swan Lake which had a male cast of swans. And after that I swanned around the living room in my underwear, pretending I had tights on, and said ‘I want to be a ballet dancer!'”


Bobby: “Scott Neal from Beautiful Thing, or Gael Garcia Bernal.” He admitted that that second one was more of a crush than a role model.


Yamil: “Bugs Bunny. The amount of times that Bugs Bunny dresses in drag, I didn’t really think about it when I was a kid, but Bugs Bunny has always been my favorite cartoon character of all time. He was who he was.”

Below, prepare to waste 15 minutes of your day watching a cartoon rabbit tart herself up.


Madonna,” Kanon said without hesitation.

Okay, so who was yours? Ours was Hugo Weaving in Priscilla, God help us.