11 Fashion Icons On The LGBTQ Spectrum

by Gina Jones 2

On Aug. 23, Lily Rose Depp came out as being on the LGBTQ spectrum by taking part in the Self Evident Truths Project — a series of photographs of 10,000 Americans who identify as anything other than straight. The project, founded by artist and activist iO Tillett Wright, aims to humanize queer individuals, represent the vast amount of diversity that exists within the LGBTQ community, and help spread awareness of the myriad of meanings the word "queer" can actually hold from human to human.

The efforts of the project also prove that there's no way to determine somebody's place on or off the "straight to gay" spectrum based on their appearance. By giving her face and name to this project, Lily Rose Depp has come out in an arguably nonchalant yet totally empowering way. The 16-year-old actress and model has already been making waves in the fashion industry, but perhaps now she'll be making waves in the intersection of fashion and LGBTQ rights as well.

Saying that there are gay people in the fashion industry is almost like saying water is wet, or that people are "sorta" upset about the rumors of One Direction's split: An understatement, to say the least. There are arguably fashion icons out there who specifically became fashion icons because of their place in the LGBTQ community. But there are plenty more who's sartorial presence in the fashion halls of fame has nothing to do with their sexuality. These icons will always be icons, regardless of who, how, when, or where they're having sex.

To celebrate Depp's inspiring move, here are 11 fashion icons who also fall on the LGBTQ spectrum and remind us all that there's no right or wrong way to have a sexuality, or to wear clothes.

1. David Bowie


David Bowie is the messiah as far as I'm concerned — in music terms, in fashion terms (hello, Ziggy Stardust and all-around androgyny), and in queer terms. Although he's never openly disclosed his bisexuality (even though there have been entire films dedicated to it, like Velvet Goldmine), in an interview with Jonathan Ross, Bowie admitted to sleeping with many different types of people.

2. Brooke Candy

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Brooke Candy is the queer pinup babe of our day. Her commitment to outlandish looks means her Instagram is one of the best accounts I follow. Based on interviews she's done, it seems her sexuality is more fluid than that of many other pop stars, once calling herself a "lesbian that identifies as a gay man," and saying there are "no boundaries" to her sexuality.

3. Joan Jett

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If you've yet to see The Runaways, well, you have to get on that. Joan Jett the ultimate rocker babe as well as a solid fashion icon whose bold, edgy, and androgynous style has been empowering women since the '70s. In a Q&A with Interview Magazine , she said the reason she never addressed her bisexuality to the press was because the focus would've been taken away from her art and placed onto her personal life.

4. Grace Jones

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When you think of "androgyny," some of you might think of waifish white people. But you're wrong, because Grace Jones basically invented androgyny and still reigns supreme as its queen. She also thinks "it’s ridiculous for a woman to say that she’s not attracted to other women."

5. Courtney Love

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Courtney Love was famous well before Kurt Cobain came into her life for her outspoken personality, her kinderwhore style, and her infamous attitude. Although she was one half of one of the most famous heterosexual relationships possibly ever, Love has said that she goes "to women about every two years," and that she's dated a lot of bi guys, too.

6. James Dean

James Dean's sexuality is obviously still a bit of a mystery, but most biographists who've followed the macho star's story agree that James Dean was bisexual, or that he was a gay man who experienced several brief affairs with women. If it's true, it brings a whole new level of cool to the timeless hottie who taught us all how to truly rock leather.

7. Hari Nef

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Hari Nef's talent for modeling and acting have shot her into the public eye, and her outspoken Tumblr account is a recipe for feeling connected to her thoughts on a personal level. Hari Nef uses her platform as a famous trans woman to speak out about social issues. She told DAZED, "The rise of trans visibility has coincided with the rise of trans violence. Even the ability to profess a trans identity is a privilege in itself. So I'm building this platform. I want to be a powerful trans woman; I want to be a voice within the community."

8. Gerard Way

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Gerard Way was my first introduction to feminine men, and I haven't stopped being attracted to them since. For many Millennials, Gerard Way was the first man we saw wearing makeup, and he quickly cemented his status as a fashion icon for all former emo kids. Although happily married to Lyn-Z Way, with a daughter named Bandit, Gerard Way came out as non-binary this year in a Reddit AMA session.

9. Beth Ditto

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Where are you hiding, Beth Ditto? I miss you so. Beth Ditto officially married long time partner Kristin Ogata at the start of this year, having already had a gorgeous ceremony in 2013. She's also the queen of all sulky glamour, and for that I will always be a devoted fan.

10. Freddie Mercury

Something that saddens me about Freddie Mercury's legacy is the misconception that the Queen singer was a white, gay man. Freddie Mercury was a bisexual Asian man, and robbing him of his identity also removes representation of a queer narrative outside of the cis white male gay experience.

11. Kurt Cobain

“I mean, I’m definitely gay in spirit and I probably could be bisexual... if I wouldn’t have found Courtney, I probably would have carried on with a bisexual lifestyle,” Kurt Cobain said in 1993. It's incredibly important for those both inside and outside of the LGBTQ community to acknowledge that even if a bisexual person is in a heterosexual relationship, they are still allowed to retain their queer identity. Besides being so forthcoming about his sexuality, Cobain was and remains an icon for all things grunge.

These fashion icons through the generations prove that it might not have always been fashionable to be LBGTQ, but that queer people have always been present and inspiring thousands in the sartorial world and otherwise.