10 legendary gay icons and how they earned their titles

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Like Madonna, when you think “gay icon” you definitely think Cher. Jack McFarland is a huge fan for a reason!

Cher has been revered as a gay icon for decades. Like many of the other figures on this list, a lot of that has to do with Cher as a person. She was never the conventionally beautiful blonde pop star, and she was never going to be. She had dark hair, a big nose, and a deep voice, but that didn’t stop her from becoming a superstar.

She came from very little but went on to become one of the biggest names in music history, and the only artist to have a #1 record in each of the last six decades (and that’s pretty iconic). She quickly became known for her extravagant costumes, all lavish designs by the fabulous Bob Mackie, and for a revolving door of different wigs.

Wigs, extravagant costumes, and never seen without a full face of makeup on? Throw in Cher’s unfiltered, witty mouth and you’ve got yourself a drag queen, which is why Cher became a staple for drag queen impersonators. Gay men were able to see the struggles Cher went through to get to where she was and saw how strong and outspoken she was, and they related to her.

Cher has also been a friend to the LGBTQ community, most notably after her own child came out. Chaz Bono came out as a lesbian at age 17, and though Cher was confused by it at first, it led to her becoming an LGBTQ activist to ensure her child would have equal rights like everyone else. Years later, Chaz transitioned from female to male, and Cher stood by his side.

Like Madonna, Cher has been a vocal advocate for fighting for gay rights, as well as raising money for HIV/AIDS research and marriage equality. She knows how much the gay community does for her, and she made sure to fight for them with as much passion.

And of course, Cher has released countless classic hits over the years. When she released the dance hit “Believe” at the turn of the new millennium, she also acquired a whole new generation of gay fans. “Believe” has since become a gay anthem, and for good reason.