Musical Performers and Entertainers
Accomplished playwright, actor, composer, and lyricist, Sir Noël Coward was also a singer and cabaret performer; he dominated the British stage between the world wars, then reoriented his career in the direction of America.
American composer Henry Cowell was an important innovator whose brilliant career was severely damaged when he was arrested and imprisoned for having sex with a seventeen-year-old male.
A proudly out lesbian from the very beginning of her career, the versatile Lea DeLaria has earned accolades for her talents as an actor, a singer, and a stand-up comic.
Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer and pianist David Del Tredici, known for his famous "Alice" works and neo-Romantic style, has also written music concerned with gay experience.
One of the leading American composers of the twentieth century, David Diamond created music that is melodic and lyrical even as it jumps with modern energy.
Actress and cabaret performer Marlene Dietrich scandalized society almost as much by wearing trousers in public as by her numerous love affairs with both men and women.
Openly bisexual singer Ani DiFranco, described as "the thinking person's acoustic punk feminist," has drawn on an eclectic mixture of musical traditions to create a distinctive style.
The diva has traditionally played a significant role in both gay and lesbian culture as an object of cult worship with whom those who suffer the heartaches of forbidden love and ostracism from an unaccepting society find solace and identification.
A versatile character actor, nightclub singer, and international cult star who generally performed his stage show and movie roles in drag, Divine became famous through his appearances in John Waters' films.
A lifelong progressive activist and a pioneer in women's music, Alix Dobkin not only helped create a new era of women's music in the 1970s but also paved the way for mainstsream lesbian musicians.
A recent arrival in the drag arena, drag kings are part of an international drag movement that emerged in London and San Francisco in the mid 1980s.
Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
Talented actor and writer John Epperson has had an extremely successful career performing as the glamorous and hilarious drag diva Lypsinka, among other characters.
Award-winning rock singer and songwriter Melissa Etheridge has not only managed to carve out a spectacularly successful career as a popular mainstream performer, but she has also become a lesbian icon and activist for gay and lesbian causes.
Gravel-voiced vocalist and pianist Frances Faye warmly embraced her gay and lesbian audience and was openly bisexual at a time when few other performers dared to do the same.
American pianist and singer Michael Feinstein has had a lifelong fascination with the popular music of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.
Canadian folksinger Ferron (Debby Foisy) is a pioneer in women's music who has been compared to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
The fragile persona and emotion-packed voice of actress and singer Judy Garland are powerfully linked to gay culture and identity; she appealed especially to gay men, but also to lesbians.
Singer, songwriter, and actor Stephen Gately gained fame as one of the lead vocalists in the Irish pop group Boyzone.
A virtuoso jazz musician and leader of a number of successful all-women bands, Peggy Gilbert tirelessly promoted other female musicians and demanded that they receive respect and opportunities.
Ari Gold, the award-winning recording artist, is unusual for his openness in an industry that has not exactly welcomed openly gay performers.
One of the few successful female solo artists during the era of the "girl groups," singer Lesley Gore is also a successful songwriter; in 2003, she came out publicly and hosted an episode of In the Life.
Singer, talk show host, and a creator and producer of television shows, Merv Griffin remained in the closet even as his bisexuality was an open secret within show business communities.
Rob Halford--dubbed "The Metal God" by fans and critics--is one of the most talented vocalists in heavy metal music and one of the few out artists in the genre.
Child actor Neil Patrick Harris has made a successful transition to mature roles, showcasing his singing and dancing abilities along the way; he has also spoken out on behalf of glbtq causes.