Wednesday, May 4, 2011

InfoStar’s Top 10 Influential Gay Celebrities - 2011 Edition

Wow, has it already been three years since we posted our original top 10 gay Hollywood list?

There have been a few notable newcomers over the last three years so we decided to update our list for 2011. The big change this year is we combined male and female into one category.

We are not haters. We applaud and appreciate these individuals for their efforts and courage to be who they are and do what they do. We should ALL appreciate them for helping to break down the barriers of ignorance and prejudice.

Regardless of how their names got here, these folks are some of Hollywood's most famous and influential talents, and have contributed to some of the greatest works in television, movies, Broadway, internet, social media, and overall charity, advocacy, activism, and awareness.

This list is intended to highlight those celebrities that have moved beyond the social stigmas and actually HELP to break down the stereotypes and ease intolerance.

Ellen DeGeneres
Came out in real life in 1997, and at the time, her relationship with actress Anne Heche made them a hot "celebrity" lesbian couple until their split in August 2000. Ellen is now married to Portia de Rossi and they both are tireless supporters of gay rights and awareness. Ellen frequently uses her show to highlight issues dealing with gay youth and teen suicide.

Elton John
Elton has been a staunch supporter of gay rights for decades. His “Elton John Aids Foundation” has raised millions of dollars for research and education. He helped bring awareness to the HIV epidemic 20 years ago when young Ryan White died from AIDS after a blood transfusion. He married David Furnish in 2005 and their son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born in December 2010 in California via a surrogate.

Chris Colfer
His role on Glee was one of the first for an openly gay actor playing a gay teenage student in a network series. Chris is proud of his sexual orientation and works hard to generate awareness for gay and lesbian rights through his charity work as well as draw attention to the bullying problem in this culture.

Jane Lynch
While her character on Glee is not portrayed as gay, in real life she is married to Dr. Lara Embry in 2010 and is an advocate for several gay and lesbian awareness groups and charities.

Neil Patrick Harris
Doogie Howser grew up to star in “How I met your mother” and is openly gay even though his character is a ladies man. Harris is married to David Burtka and they have twins via a surrogate mother. He was named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2010.

George Takei
Played Enterprise helmsman Sulu in the original 'Star Trek' television series and several "Trek" movies, came out in 2005 at the age 68. He married his gay partner, Brad Altman, in September 2008 in California. George has been an advocate for gay marriage laws throughout the country and is currently a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign "Coming out Project”.

Rosie O'Donnell
When President Bush first proposed a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, the comedian and TV host immediately flew to San Francisco and married her long-time partner Kelli Carpenter. Rosie has worked to change laws to allow gay couples to adopt children, and created “Rosie's For All Kids Foundation”. She also created the LGBT family vacation company “R Family Vacations”.

Portia de Rossi
Starred in "Ally McBeal", "Nip/Tuck" and "Arrested Development". She came out in 2005 and is now married to Ellen DeGeneres. In 2010 she wrote a book about her life and battle with depression. She is a supporter of Family Health International, Locks of Love, and The Art of Elysium.

David Hyde Pierce
Played psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane on the sitcom Frasier and has appeared numerous times on Broadway. Came out in 2007 and admitted a relationship with longtime friend Brian Hargrove. Publicly thanked Brian for his 24 years of support during a Tony Award acceptance speech. The couple married in May 2008. Pierce has been a major supporter of “Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS” and the Doe Fund, and was vocal during California’s Proposition 8 election process.

Sir Ian McKellen
Came out publically when he was 49 while lobbying against the U.K.’s “Section 28” that would have cut off education and assistance for gay and lesbian youth. McKellen is a co-founder of “Stonewall”, a LGB rights lobby group in the United Kingdom, and is Patron of LGBT History Month, Pride London, GAY-GLOS, and The Lesbian & Gay Foundation, and FFLAG.

Runners Up

Adam Lambert
Was runner up on season 8 of American idol and showed America that is was ok to be gay and flamboyant if you had the courage to be yourself. Since Idol, Lambert has gone on to be a much more successful musician and celebrity than the actual Idol winner. Can you remember the winner’s name? Can you name one of his songs?

Perez Hilton
An openly gay and flamboyant gossip blogger, TV personality, and founder of who stirred controversy during a Miss USA telecast that led to a national discussion about gay marriage. Known early on for his sometimes hurtful doodles he scrawled over pictures, and for outing celebrities, people either love him or hate him (most celebrities hate him), but the infamous blogger has forced a national dialog on many aspects of gay Hollywood.

We know there are many names that could have been on this list, but we wanted to highlight those we felt have added constructive ideas to our world and created an opportunity for national discussion on important issues.

Remember -

It’s better to be out than in, it’s better to love than to hate, it’s better to try than to do nothing, and it’s better to do something rather than stand by and watch.

Thank you all for your hard work, dedication, and courage to be who you are.

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