Singer Elton John (Pic: Richard Mushet)
Performers Elton John and Judy Garland have been voted the greatest gay icons of all time in a British online poll.
John famously wed his long term partner David Furnish at Windsor Guildhall in December 2005 on the first day same-sex unions became legal in England and Wales. The couple had previously been together for 12 years and are embraced by gay and lesbian fans worldwide.
Actress Judy Garland, best known for her role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, tops the list of female celebrity gay icons and was hugely popular among gay people during her lifetime. Her concerts were gay meeting places, and in her later years, she made money singing at gay piano bars.
The poll of 5,000 people by www.OnePoll.com placed Freddie Mercury in second position. A great friend of Elton John, Mercury was the outlandish Queen front man. The singer died of AIDS related bronchial pneumonia in 1991, but is still remembered for his flamboyant attitude on and off stage.
A spokesman for OnePoll said: “Interestingly only one of the men on the top 10 list of male celebrity gay icons isn’t gay – David Beckham – but most of the women who are put on a pedestal by the gay community are straight.
“It just shows that to advocate a certain way of living, you don’t have to live the lifestyle but simply be more accepting of those around you.”
Openly gay British writer, actor and comedian Stephen Fry is the third most respected gay icon on the list. He commented on his gay status by saying “My first words, as I was being born… I looked up at my mother and said, ‘that’s the last time I’m going up one of those.’”
Pop princess Kylie Minogue takes second place in the list of female gay icons. Minogue is aware of her gay and lesbian following and actively encourages it by performing at events such as Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
She once said of her followers “My gay audience has been with me from the beginning … they kind of adopted me.”
Madonna is the third biggest female gay icon. The superstar was embraced by the gay community from the start or her career, and many of her friends, inspirations and some family members have been gay.
TOP 10 MALE CELEBRITY GAY ICONS
1. Elton John
2. Freddie Mercury
3. Stephen Fry
4. George Michael
5. Oscar Wilde
6. Will Young
7. Alan Carr
8. Paul O’Grady
9. Boy George
10. David Beckham
TOP 10 FEMALE CELEBRITY GAY ICONS
1. Judy Garland
2. Kylie Minogue
5. Liza Minelli
6. Marilyn Monroe
7. Shirley Bassey
8. Lily Savage
9. Dusty Springfield