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What Makes a ‘Gay Icon’?
What Makes a ‘Gay Icon’?

By - Sal Cinquemani - 07/01/21

“In life, we hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want the world to see,”  Lil Nas X proclaims in the video for his chart-topping single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”   For the openly gay rapper/singer, Montero — inspired by his birth name — is a place where one is free to be who they are. The unabashedly queer video caused a minor media frenzy when it was released earlier this year, but the controversy revolved less around Lil Nas X’s sexual orientation — he’d already come out at the end of LGBTQ Pride month in 2019 — than the profane religious imagery of the clip itself, which depicts the 22-year-old riding a stripper pole to hell, performing a lap dance for the devil, and sprouting demon’s wings.

Rock musicians like David Bowie and Elton John flirted with androgyny, and both spoke publicly about their bisexuality as early as the 1970s. But the idea of an out-and-proud male pop star being embraced by the mainstream, and before his debut album has even dropped (Montero is due this summer), would have been unthinkable just 20 years ago.   Ricky Martin - who announced he was a “proud homosexual” in 2010 after years of speculation, including an infamous interview with Barbara Walters that Martin recently said still haunts him— rode a wave of success driven largely by a loyal female fanbase eager to watch him shake is “bon-bon.”

Martin had reason for concern. A year prior to the release of the Puerto Rican singer’s English-language debut, which launched his career into the stratosphere, British pop star  George Michael had been publicly “outted” when he was arrested for soliciting an undercover cop in a public restroom in Beverly Hills. While his music continued to perform well in the U.K., he never scored another hit in the U.S. again.
Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: 
''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!
The only person I can think of that would qualify as an "icon" - in my eyes anyway - is Ryan Murphy. I like him because he broke all the rules and did it with integrity and talent and he casted alot of gay actors and continually does so.  That sets him apart from other gay men in Hollywood who would NOT hire openly gay men. 

I applaud and respect him for that and for that reason I see him as a gay icon.

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