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PinkNews’ top 10 Jewish gay and lesbian icons

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As we enter into the Jewish New Year 5775, we figure now is best time to recount some of the most fabulous and influential Jewish gay personalities to date.

Obviously there are so many to list, and, with such a wide range of different talents and faces on offer, it would be impossible to deliver anything remotely definitive.

But in any case, we’ve attempted to strike the ideal balance between three main categories: personal prestige, historical significance, and celebrity status. At the very least, some of these might surprise you:

10. Joel Simkhai, Founder of Grindr

PinkNews’ top 10 Jewish gay and lesbian icons

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny Grindr’s huge influence on the global gay community.

Thanks to Joel Simkhai, and his idea to combine a gay-dating site with GPS, gay men all over the world now have a universal platform for dating, hooking up, or just hanging out.

Not only that, but the app has found plenty other uses as well. Recently – and humorously – a Tumblr user managed to poll 655 Grindr users on how they would vote in Scotland’s independence referendum. The results speak for themselves.

Joel Simkhai himself claims to have even found love “several times” on Grindr, which is surely a ringing self-endorsement if ever I’ve seen one.

9. Simon Amstell, Comedian/Actor


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Simon Amstell, probably best known for making celebrities feel uncomfortable during his time on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, has been a huge icon for gay and Jewish communities.

Occasionally working his identity into his comedy, Amstell is both brilliantly self-deprecating and at times refreshingly honest to watch.

His latest tour, announced this year, is titled ‘TO BE FREE’.



Judith Butler is best known for her philosophy work in gender theory, but she’s written just as much about her Jewish heritage and sexual identity as well.

Describing sex and gender as “performative” she has shaken the foundations of academic writing about human sexuality. Butler doesn’t believe we are ‘born this way,’ she believes that our attitudes towards our bodies are a part of our culture and language – historically open to change.

alt.culture describes Butler as “one of the superstars of ’90s academia, with a devoted following of grad students nationwide”.

Butler’s work on sex and gender has been so influential, in fact, that even Pope Benedict XVI has written critically about it.

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