20 Iconic Musicians You May Know Not Were LGBTQ+ 

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The LGBTQ+ community has been a vital part of the musical industry since the dawn of time. Some of the most memorable artists showed support to their peers, while others openly spoke about the stigma that followed them throughout their careers. Others never truly talked about their romantic partners, though it was well-documented that they were part of the LGBTQ community. Though music lovers likely know most of these names, some might surprise you. 

Billie Joe Armstrong

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Green Day’s frontman is bisexual, and he spoke about how he came to terms with his sexuality in a song, Coming Clean, from the band’s iconic album, Dookie. The rocker said he believes he was born bisexual, and despite the society’s stigma, he said it was beautiful to be true to yourself.

Frank Ocean

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The singer, songwriter, and rapper publicly opened up about his bisexuality in 2012. He shared that his first love was a man. Ocean, whose albums Channel Orange and Blonde are claiming on Billboard charts, uses his celebrity to help the LGBTQ community. Some are still wondering whether Ocean is gay, but he is a private person, which makes his confession only more powerful. 


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The singer-songwriter was known for his flamboyant appearance and falsetto. His hit song, You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real), is still a treat at every party, and though he passed away in 1988, the music scene only saw a handful of such expressive and gender-bending artists. Sylvester was openly gay, which was uncommon at the time, especially for Black male artists. 

Tom Robinson

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Singer, bassist, and activist Robinson also came from the late 1970s. He talked about realizing he was gay at 13. He came out less than ten years after he was legalized in the UK and is considered to be a pioneer among rock musicians. Robinson has dedicated part of his life to LGBTQ activism. 

Amy Winehouse

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The singer/songwriter, who died in 2010 at only 27, reportedly was bisexual. The troubled star’s sexuality was examined in a 2021 BBC documentary, Reclaiming Amy, which spoke to Amy Winehouse’s alleged girlfriend, among others. The British superstar was known to show support to her LGBTQ fans.  

Lil Nas X

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While having a number-one record, Lil Nas X, always one of the best-dressed on the red carpets, came out as gay in 2019 and helped his brother face his bisexuality. The rapper, whose Old Town Road was the longest-running No.1 song in history, proved a true ally to the community. 

Brendon Urie

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Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendon Urie is attracted to people, regardless of their genders. In 2018, he confirmed he was pansexual. While speaking to PAPER Magazine in the same year, Urie said he was in love with his wife, but his sexuality was always clear to him – it’s about a person. That same month, he donated $1 million to GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), which works to create inclusive and safe conditions in schools.

Rebecca Black

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American singer-songwriter Rebecca Black came out as queer in 2020 on the podcast Dating Straight. She always felt accepted by the queer community, and the young artist later talked about the challenges she faced before coming out, including she was told many times to switch pronouns in songs so they don’t reveal her sexuality. 

Ma Rainey 

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The “Mother of the Blues,” Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, inspired an army of musicians and was a true LGBTQ trailblazer. She was one of the first women to blend styles, from jazz to country and blues, and though she never talked about her relationships, Ma Rainey sang about them, so it is unclear whether she was gay or bisexual. 

Freddie Mercury

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Nowadays, everyone believes that Freddie Mercury was open about his sexuality, but the Queen frontman never publicly discussed his relationships. In fact, he would tell journalists he slept with everyone and denied any labels. One of the most significant rockers in modern history was powerful, energetic, and flamboyant until the end, which came in 1991, at 45, when the British icon died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS. 

Janis Joplin

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The charismatic and immensely talented Janis Joplin did not directly address her sexuality. However, she was spotted with men and women alike, so people believed that Joplin was bisexual, which fitted her uninhibited and bohemian lifestyle. One of the best female vocalists died at 27, but her music lives on. 

George Michael

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George Michael was outed by the police after years of struggling to accept his sexuality and then live his authentic life. What is less known is that the British superstar’s first real relationship was with a Brazilian designer who died of AIDS in the early 90s. Even before he was outed, Michael supported the LGBT community and campaigned for HIV/AIDS charity fundraisers alongside David Bowie and Princess Diana. 

Ricky Martin

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There are many rumors that Martin, like Michael, was advised not to come out. However, inspired by Elton John, the Puerto Rican musical sensation came out in 2010, and just last year, he separated from his husband of six years, Jwan Yosef. Martin also had family support, and his father, a psychologist, encouraged him to come out to the public. 

Leonard Bernstein

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The man behind the music for West Side Story, Peter Pan, and On the Waterfront finally came out in 1976 after years of rumors. The composer was openly anti-war, pro-Black Panther Party, and pro-rock and roll. His ex-wife reportedly wrote him in one of the letters that he was gay, and though some claim he was bisexual, those close to Bernstein said he was gay. 

Jason Mraz

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The famous American musician came out as bisexual in 2018 and talked about the shame and guilt he felt until he accepted himself. Mraz confessed that he had relationships with men during his marriage with Christina Carano. His now ex-wife helped him through the process before their divorce. 

Dusty Springfield 

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Dusty Springfield was a lesbian. Yet, it was an open secret because, at the height of her fame, homosexuality could have cost her everything. When she came out as bisexual, she went from hero to zero. This was in 1970, and things dramatically changed a few years later. Today, Springfield is considered to be a forgotten LGBTQ icon. She married Teda Bracci in 1983, though it was not recognized legally. 

Michael Stipe

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R.E.M’s Michael Stipe says he’s 80 percent gay, but he strongly dislikes being called bisexual. Stipe calls himself queer. Two decades after coming out in 1994, he told the Guardian that coming out made him a better person. The Georgia-born rocker was once portrayed as a ladies’ man, but fans noticed the band’s songs were giving Stipe away. 

Clive Davis

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Though not a musician, Clive Davis has been one of the most powerful record producers ever. He is best known for his work with legends like Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow, Santana, and Billy Joel. Davis came out as bisexual in 2013 at 80. In his autobiography, The Soundtrack of My Life, Davis described relationships with two men, though he was married twice to women. 

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