Encyclopedia > List of famous gay, lesbian or bisexual people

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List of famous gay, lesbian or bisexual people

This is a list of confirmed and debated famous gay, lesbian or bisexual people (lesbigay for short). The historical concept and definition of sexual orientation has changed greatly over time -- in fact, the word "gay" wasn't used to describe sexual orientation until the 20th century. See homosexuality for more about the primary (and by far the most controversial) distinguishing characteristic of GLBs.

Some historical figures on this list wouldn't be considered lesbigay by today's standards, but they are included here because they were known to have had same-gender relationships. But even by today's standards, a relationship or two doesn't necessarily mean one is bisexual. Many people who identify as gay or lesbian have had different-gender relationships in their youth, and many who identify as heterosexual have experimented with same-sex relationships. Due to social norms that have remained consistent throughout history, little information about such matters when discussing historical figures is available; therefore, one can only make educated guesses based on limited evidence.

It is important to note that the sexual orientation of famous individuals is often fodder for tabloid press. As such, the sexual preference of famous individuals is often subject to rumor simply because of a tabloid article. Some stars, especially those about whom rumors most often circulate, wish to maintain a public image of heterosexuality--believing that assertions to the contrary would negatively affect their profitability--and are vigorous in their legal pursuit of those who would question their heterosexuality. An excellent example of this is actor Tom Cruise, who has been involved in at least three such lawsuits. In 1998, he successfully sued a British tabloid that alleged that his marriage to Nicole Kidman was a sham designed to cover up his homosexuality. He obtained a default judgment against a gay porn actor (Chad Slater, aka "Kyle Bradford") who had given an interview to a tabloid newspaper in which he claimed he had a sexual relationship with Tom Cruise, and he sued Michael Davis, a magazine publisher, who alleged that he had photographs that would prove Tom Cruise was homosexual: this suit was dropped in exchange for a public statement by Davis that Tom Cruise was heterosexual. Because of the threat of litigation, it is considered prudent not to assert the homosexuality or bisexuality of a celebrity unless the celebrity has personally publically asserted it. Some gay groups (eg, Outrage!, have followed a policy of outing public figures regularly for political purposes. However, such a policy is generally condemned within the lesbian and gay community as an unfringement on a person's right to privacy, because of concerns about their family, their right to cope with their own sexuality on their own terms, or the risk of discrimination or loss of reputation.

Note that several of the people on this list were prosecuted for their behavior under existing "sodomy laws".

Wikipedians: Edit this list with caution, because "outing" living individuals can lead to a charge of libel. It has not been tested whether Wikipedia's sponsor, Bomis, is liable for libel in the 'pedia. Furthermore, "outing" historical figures no longer alive to define their own sexual orientation will inevitably lead to countless pointless debates. In either case, cite evidence on the individual's biography page for why you have added him or or her to this list. It is important that evidence about living persons be a self-description by that individual--evidence of homosexual behavior is insufficient, because some individuals who experiment with same-sex relationships do not describe themselves as lesbigay.

Persons of confirmed sexual orientation The following list includes those people who have confirmed their sexual orientation or whose sexual orientation is not debated.

Persons of debated sexual orientation The following list includes those that some people believe there is evidence the person was gay, lesbian or bisexual. More information about what is known about each individual's sexuality should be available in the individual's biography.


See also: homophobia, Homophobic hate speech, The Closet, List of transgendered people, List of heterosexuals



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