K.D. Lang, Le Meridien Hotel, London
by Jill Furmanovsky, 1992

After months of publicity and anticipation, the “Gay Icons” exhibition has finally opened at London’s National Portrait Gallery.

The exhibit explores gay social and cultural history through the personal insights of ten high profile gay figures, including Sir Elton John, Billie Jean King and Sir Ian McKellen.

They have each selected ten icons who they believe have helped shape who they are today. Over sixty photographical portraits are on display, including works by Andy Warhol and Cecil Beaton.

The chosen icons, who may or may not be gay themselves, have all been important to each selector, having influenced their gay sensibilities or contributed to making them who they are today.

Some of the icons include artists Francis Bacon and David Hockney; writers Daphne du Maurier and Quentin Crisp; composers like Pyotr Tchaikovsky; musicians k.d. lang, the Village People and Will Young; entertainers Ellen DeGeneres, Lily Savage and Kenneth Williams; sports stars Martina Navratilova and Ian Roberts and political activists Harvey Milk and Angela Mason.

The exhibition runs until October 18.

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