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Nelson Mandela and Will Young among the gay icons to be showcased at National Portrait Gallery

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Gay Icons, a photography exhibition held to celebrate the contribution of gay people to history and culture, will open at the National Portrait Gallery this summer.

The 60 photographs featured have been chosen by ten selectors: Singer Sir Elton John; Labour peers Waheed Alli and Chris Smith; Ben Summerskill of Stonewall; comedian Sandi Toksvig; actor Sir Ian McKellen; musician Sir Elton John; tennis champion Billie Jean King; and writers Alan Hollinghurst, Sarah Waters and Jackie Kay.

Each of the selectors chose six icons who have inspired them.

The icons, who are not all gay, include Nelson Mandela, Harvey Milk, Princess Diana, Ellen Degeneres, kd lang, Joe Orton, David Hockney and Will Young.

Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “Gay Icons is an exhibition in which inspiring stories – both private and public – are shared. These are stories of brave lives and significant achievements, told through iconic photographic images chosen by selectors who are themselves icons.”

The exhibtion will run from July 2nd to October 18th and is timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York.

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