It’s no secret that there is a kinship between gay men and strong women. In honor of Women’s History Month, here are five female icons gay men love.
We as gay men love an assertive woman who is comfortable in her own skin and stands in her power. If she happens to do it while serving a dramatic look then so much the better, though its not necessarily a requirement.
A timeless gay icon, Judy was one of the most famous stars of the silver screen during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her performance as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz has long been revered by the gay community. The story of young woman looking to leave behind a grey and drab world for a colorful exciting life where she can truly be herself has always and will always resonate with gay men. I mean why do you think the term ‘friend of Dorothy’ became so popular in modern slang?!
When Judy later found success on the stage her performances were big, campy and over the top, which made us lover her even more. Her tragic struggle with addiction, though heartbreaking humanized her and fueled a sense of empathy for her amongst her gay fans.
While she never spoke publicly about homosexuality, she was often surrounded by gay men in her private life. Her daughter Liza Manelli, a gay icon in her own right is massively vocal about her affection for us which is proof apparent of Judy’s own views.
You’re shocked, I know. However, there is no denying how much we gays just adore Cher. She has managed to remain relevant and at the pinnacle of the entertainment industry since the 1960’s. As an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar award winning singer/actress; we have dozens of albums and movies to choose from her back catalogue to keep us entertained. Plus, she’s always managed to look effortlessly fierce throughout her career. She has more wigs and costumes than the most seasoned of drag queens and we love her for it.
Fabulosity aside, the gays identify with the fighting spirit Cher represents. Her life and career have been a series of the highest highs and the lowest lows, but she never gave up. That’s something we all aspire towards, gay and straight alike. She has also been a constant source of support for the LGBTQ+ community and is the proud and vocal mother of Chaz Bono.
Dolly Parton is larger than life. She’s got personality for days, big blonde hair and a wardrobe that rivals Cher. A brilliant songwriter, Dolly has been able to convey the love and loss of a generation into her music. Always quick with a joke and a smile, this woman might be the most beloved on this list. She uses her success to help people as evidenced by her long history of philanthropic work. She even helped fund the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who disliked this icon.
As a country music superstar, many if not most of Dolly’s fans are in the Southern US. She commands a deep level of respect among southerners and is indeed a part of their culture. Its no secret that the South is home to many conservatives and religious people which makes her support for the gay community all the more impressive. Despite popular views in the South she has been a devoted ally. She has encouraged her fellow Christians to not discriminate and went on the record in support of gay marriage. She’s also a huge fan of drag and has been known to pop up at a show or two.
The “Mother of Re-Invention” has been at the helm of pop music since the early 1980’s. She wrote the blueprint and paved the way for modern female pop stars such as Lady Gaga, Arianna Grande and Dua Lipa. Her outspoken nature, her ability to push boundaries through music video and her blatant sexuality caused uproar in the early days of her career. If there’s one thing a gay man loves, it’s a rebel.
Madonna is adored by gays of my generation because she was one of the first superstars to come to the rescue during the AIDS crisis. She used her celebrity and influence to bring exposure to the epidemic and to try and curb stigma. Instead of being silent she uplifted our voices and showcased us in her artistic endeavors.
To this day Madonna is still an ardent LGBTQ+ supporter and continues to entertain and dazzle us.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, otherwise known as AOC, is a member of the US House of Representatives representing New York’s 14th District. She is (in)famous for being one of the first female Democratic Socialists of America elected to serve in Congress and for being the youngest women ever elected to the House at 29 years old. Her politics are very progressive. She is an advocate of Medicare for All, free higher education, the abolishment of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and of course the Green New Deal. Her liberal leaning attitudes resonate with a lot of gay men.
As a liberal, of course AOC is an active supporter for LGBT+ rights and equality. She has appeared as a guest judge on Rupaul’s Drag Race and lovingly welcomed the Fab Five from Queer Eye into the Capitol.
A constant target of conservatives, time and again AOC has fought them off with intelligence, dignity and grace. She stands up for what she believes in and is not intimidated into backing down. This, if anything is what we love about her most.