Kick Off Your Week With This Inspirational Roundup of Gay Role Models
Common knowledge or not, queer men have been pioneers in the areas of art, science and culture for decades, bestowing upon us some true gay role models.
Men like Freddie Mercury and Sir Ian McKellen are household names no matter where you’re from because of their incredible contributions to music, theater and cinema. Creativity, passion, and drive seem to be inherently ingrained into LGBTQ culture.
With that said, we’ve rounded up some of our ultimate gay role models to inspire you for days to come:
This mathematician, logician and computer scientist worked as a code breaker during World War II, and is literally considered the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. To call Turing brilliant is an understatement by any means; the coded messages, or cyphers, Turing worked to crack codes that were regarded as “unbreakable” by the Germans themselves. Tragically, Turing died as a criminal, as Britain didn’t begin decriminalizing homosexuality until 1967. And it was only in 2013 that Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a royal pardon.
Best known as Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu, George Takei publicly came out in an issue of Frontiers magazine. At the time, in 2005, he and his partner had been together for 18 years — and, yes, they’re still together (and married!) now. Apart from his legendary stamp on the world of science fiction, Takei is also an activist, has an asteroid named after him, and has been given multiple awards for his service to the LGBTQ community. This WaPo article detailing his early life, imprisoned by the United States in internment camps, and his lifelong dedication to social justice is not to be missed.
Novelist, essayist, playwright, poet and activist, James Baldwin was (and remains), unarguably, one of the greatest writers and thinkers of the 20th century. Baldwin’s impact on and critique of American society is as relevant today as the time in which he wrote, both devastatingly and unsurprisingly. During the terrors committed against Black bodies by the police this summer, this video depicting Baldwin’s frustration for the United States began to circulate again, reminding us that there’s no space left to compromise our morals:
I love this piece in the Paris Review about his life and process.
Richard Bruce Nugent
Part of the Harlem Renaissance, this writer, actor, dancer and painter was one of the few openly out members in the movement — a decision that perhaps, sadly, “may have cost him a more prominent publishing career.” He nevertheless had a role in Du Bose Heyward‘s Porgy on Broadway, danced ballet and danced in drag, served as co-chair of the Harlem Cultural Council, was interviewed in the documentary Before Stonewall (1985), and published short stories as well as illustrations in notable publications such as Fire!!.
Heavy metal has not always been the queerest space, but Rob Halford of Judas Priest, nicknamed “Metal God” by his fans, has been open about his sexuality since 1998. Judas Priest remains one of the most iconic rock bands ever, having sold over 50 million copies of their albums since their inception in 1969. Halford has recently released a memoir, Confess, which is a, well, rather confessional look into the rock legend’s life. And yes, his Instagram is amazing.
Who would you add to our list of gay role models?