Musical Performers and Entertainers
A pioneer in the women's music movement, Margie Adam helped create a new political music genre that celebrated lesbian love and the changing lives of women.
Although not publicly out as a gay man, Australian singer and songwriter Peter Allen signaled his homosexuality through his flamboyant persona and the subtexts of many of his songs.
Commonly known as the "World's Greatest Party Band," the B-52s features openly gay members who are active in glbtq, AIDS, environmental and animal rights issues.
Legendary folk singer and catalyst for social change, Joan Baez has both described herself as bisexual and participated in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights.
Entertainer Josephine Baker achieved acclaim as the twentieth century's first international black female sex symbol, but kept carefully hidden her many sexual liaisons with women, which continued from adolescence to the end of her life.
Accomplished actor and singer John Barrowman has won plaudits as a musical theater star, as well as for his roles in film and television.
Singer Lance Bass gained fame as a member of the boy band *Nsync; since coming out in 2006, he has spoken on behalf of glbtq rights.
Actor and designer Bryan Batt achieved fame playing a closeted advertising executive on television, but in his own life he has been active in affirming the naturalness of homosexuality.
Singer and lyricist Andy Bell, half of the synth-pop duo Erasure, is one of the few openly gay, high-profile rock musicians.
African-American Blues singer Gladys Bentley openly flaunted her lesbianism in the 1920s and 1930s, but recanted in the 1950s in an attempt to salvage her career.
Sharp-tongued comedienne, writer, singer, and actor Sandra Bernhard is known almost as well for her amorphous sexuality as for her cynical wit.
Blues music as it flourished in the 1920s was women's music, and it often featured sexually-inflected lyrics performed by women who were openly bisexual or lesbian.
The child of a famous show business couple, Chaz Bono has had to cope with family resistance and intense public scrutiny as he came out, first as a lesbian, then as a transgender man.
Perhaps the greatest teacher of musical composition in the twentieth century, Nadia Boulanger greatly influenced modern classical music.
Legendary drag performer and recording artist Ray Bourbon appeared in silent movies, vaudeville acts, Broadway plays, and, from the 1940s through the 1960s, performed across the United States in a gay nightclub circuit.
David Bowie, also known as "The Dame," became a leading light in 1970s "glam rock," going on to enjoy international superstar status, but his relationship to queer culture is deeply contradictory.
A pop icon with a rich soulful voice, Boy George, who fronted the band Culture Club in the 1980s, managed to survive homophobia, drug addiction, and fame.
Historically, cabarets and revues have been much more likely to mention or imply same-sex desire than the "legitimate" theater; and same-sex desire has been less frequently condemned in cabarets and revues than in mainstream plays.
A dynamic performer on stage, television, film, and record, Nell Carter built a successful and versatile show business career; only after her death was her longtime relationship with a woman revealed to the public.
Widely recognized as one of the world's greatest pianists, Shura Cherkassky performed for more than 75 years, enjoying the longest career in the history of classical pianism.
Androgynously handsome Hong Kong actor and pop singer Leslie Cheung played sexually ambiguous characters, as well as romantic leads in both gay- and heterosexually-themed films.
Women's music pioneer Meg Christian was among the first performer to address lesbian and feminist issues in her songs.
American pianist Van Cliburn became a national hero when he won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958, at the height of the Cold War, but his brilliant career as a performer stalled in the 1970s.
One of the world's most famous transsexual celebrities, Brazilian model, actress, and television performer Roberta Close has challenged the laws of her country that prevent her from defining her own gender.
Arcangelo Corelli, who was probably homosexual, was one of the seventeenth century's most widely admired composers and performers.