Famous gay lesbian or bisexual people

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This is a list of famous gay, lesbian or bisexual people (GLB for short). The historical definition of a GLB person has changed greatly over time -- in fact, the word "gay" wasn't used to describe sexual orientation until the late 20th century. See homosexuality for more about the primary (and by far the most controversial) distinguishing characteristic of GLBs.

Some historical figures on this list wouldn't be considered GLB by today's standards, but they are included here because they were known to have had same-gender relationships. But even by today's standards, a relationship or two doesn't necessarily mean one is bisexual. Many people who identify as gay or lesbian have had different-gender relationships in their youth, and many who identify as heterosexual have experimented with same-sex relationships. Due to social norms that have remained consistent throughout history, little information about such matters when discussing historical figures is available; therefore, one can only make educated guesses based on limited evidence.

Note that several of the people on this list were prosecuted for their behavior under existing "sodomy laws".

Wikipedians: Edit this list with caution, because "outing" living individuals can lead to a charge of libel. It has not been tested whether Wikipedia's sponsor, Bomis, is liable for libel in the 'pedia. Furthermore, "outing" historical figures no longer alive to define their own sexual orientation will inevitably lead to countless pointless debates. In either case, cite evidence on the individual's biography page for why you have added him or or her to this list. It is important that evidence about living persons be a self-description by that individual--evidence of homosexual behavior is insufficient, because some individuals who experiment with same-sex relationships do not describe themselves as GLB.

In short, the only thing a listing on this page indicates is that at least some people believe there is evidence the person was gay, lesbian or bisexual. More information about what is known about each individual's sexuality should be available in the individual's biography.


Edward Albee, US Playwright, author of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Alexander the Great
Horatio Alger, US Author
Hans Christian Andersen, Danish author
Susan B. Anthony, US feminist and womens' suffrage activist
Marie Antoinette, French queen
Aristotle, Greek philosopher
W. H. Auden, British poet


James Baldwin, US author
Tallulah Bankhead, US actress
Alan Bates, US actor
Clive Barker, Author, director, artist. Known primarily for his work in the horror genre
Chastity Bono, US activist, daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono
William S. Burroughs, US Beat author (Naked Lunch, Junky)


Willa Cather, US author
Montgomery Clift, US actor
Kate Clinton, US comedian
Aleister Crowley, British occultist


Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Renaissance artist, inventor
Ellen DeGeneres, US comedian
Samuel Delaney, science fiction author
Lea Delaria, US comedian


Perry Ellis, clothing designer
Melissa Etheridge, US singer, musician, composer


Harvey Fierstein, US actor, playwright (Torch Song Trilogy)
E. M. Forster, British author
Barney Frank (D, MA), US Representative


Candace Gingrich, activist, half-sister of former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
Allen Ginsberg, Beat poet (Howl, Kaddish)


Hadrian, Emperor of Rome
J. Edgar Hoover, former director of the US FBI


Joan Jett, musician
Elton John, British singer, musician, composer


John Maynard Keynes, British economist, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
Billie Jean King, world tennis champion


k. d. lang, US country and blues singer, musician
Audre Lorde, poet, author


Christopher Marlowe, Elizabethan playwright
Robert Mapplethorpe, US artist
W. Somerset Maugham, British author
Ian McClellan, British actor (X-Men, The Lord of the Rings)
Freddie Mercury, US lead singer for Queen
Michelangelo, Italian Renaissance artist
Morrissey, lead singer for The Smiths


David Norris, Irish senator and Joycean scholar[1]


Sinead O'Connor, Irish musician


Hilary Rosen, President of the RIAA


Sappho, Greek poet from the Isle of Lesbos, from which the term lesbian comes
Bessie Smith, US blues singer
Chris Smith, British minister of culture
Jimmy Sommerville, lead singer for Bronski Beat, The Communards, and solo performer
Gertrude Stein, US author, partner of Alice B. Toklas


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer
Lily Tomlin, US comedian, actress
Alan Turing, British computer scientist and theorist


Andy Warhol, US artist and pop icon
John Waters, US film director (Pink Flamingos)
Walt Whitman, US poet, author of Leaves of Grass
Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and bon vivant
Tennessee Williams, US playwright
Virginia Woolf, British author

See also: homophobia, The Closet