A definitive guide to the gay icons of 2022, from M3GAN to The Traitors’ Amanda

Collage of Amanda from The Traitors, Yasmin Finney, M3GAN and Amy Anzel

If there’s one thing the LGBTQ+ community loves, it’s an icon – and as 2022 draws to a close, we’re looking back fondly upon this year’s standouts.

2022 is the year that giveth – historic gender recognition bills, Kate Bush’s renaissance, about 74 seasons of Drag Race – and the year that tooketh away – two Tory Prime Ministers, the Queen and any shred of remaining respect for Matt Hancock after he went on I’m a Celeb.

It might not have been giving exactly what needed to be gave, but along the bumpy and winding road, one thing was always certain – the LGBTQ+ community would be on hand to crown unexpected gay icons.

Without further ado, let’s get into the individuals, moments and concepts (yes, concepts) that made the cut this year. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but we think you’ll agree that the following gems are more than worthy of icon status.

Amanda from The Traitors

Our first entry shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s spent any quality time with a TV or their Twitter feed over the last month.

Amanda Lovett, aka Mama Dragon, took BBC One’s latest game show The Traitors by storm, making even Meryl Streep quake in her Chanel boots with her acting prowess.

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Before she was taken out by ‘fellow’ traitor W*lfred (whose name is starred because we can’t bring ourselves to write it), she won over the hearts of viewers – and the LGBTQ+ community – with her ferocious gameplay and fierce one-liners.

As it turns out, she loves the gays as much as they love her. “To be called an icon of the gay community is just absolutely fantastic,” she told Lorraine of the support from queer viewers.

Petition for Amanda to take the guest judge spot on the next Snatch Game, and honourable mentions for The Traitors‘ “sweary lesbian” Andrea, perpetually tearful Theo and Aaron (for those very tight trousers).

Amy Anzel

Amy Anzel is an example of someone that took the title of ‘Gay Icon’ and, much like one too many vodka sodas, let it go straight to her head.

After appearing on the latest series of Lord Alan Sugar’s reality TV programme (read: vanity project), The Apprentice, Anzel was quickly adopted by the gays thanks to her high heels, American ‘charm’ and lines such as: “I can be nice when I need to be, but when I unfortunately have to be a bitch, I will.”

There’s also the not-so-insignificant fact that she had to apologise for tweeting “OMG getting mobbed by homo’s”, but it is what it is!

Jill Scott and Owen Warner

Lioness Jill Scott and Hollyoaks star Owen Warner made it to the final two on I’m A Celeb this year when they ventured into the Australian jungle and became thoroughly entertaining camp mates.

Scott, of course, became the first LGBTQ+ woman to win the series after viewers fell in love with the 2022 Euro champion’s sharp wit and affable charm.

Warner is on this list purely because of how much we loved this gullible king (and because of his biceps, pecs and abs).


A dancing robotic doll with a thirst for blood. No, it’s not every twink in G-A-Y, it’s 2022’s horror icon M3GAN.

The doll became a viral sensation after the release of the film’s first trailer, which featured the creepy looking android approach a victim down a hallway while busting some pretty spectacular acrobatic moves.

Before you could say ‘TikTok’, she was inducted into the ‘niche gay icon’ hall of fame, with fans saying that she “came to end careers”.

The actual film isn’t being released until 13 January in the UK, but the killer doll is on our list because she came to slay (literally).

Joe Lycett

The 2022 FIFA World Cup generated no shortage of controversy this year, not least because it took place in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal and human rights records are abysmal.

Case in point: David Beckham’s acceptance of a multi-million pound deal to be an ambassador for the “perfect” Gulf state, which swiftly revoked) his gay icon card and prompted queer comedian Joe Lycett to threaten to shred £10,000 in support of the LGBTQ+ community if the former footballer did not pull out of the deal.

Beckham, of course, did not end his relationship with Qatar. While Lycett later shared a video in which he appeared to shred wads of cash, he in fact donated £10,000 of his own money to LGBTQ+ charities, all while wearing a fabulous Pride-inspired loofa.

Beckham’s team went on to share a weak statement justifying the footballer’s involvement, which was broadcast as part of Lycett’s Channel 4 Got Your Back special. Lycett also shredded Beckham’s 2002 Attitude magazine cover. Werk.

This Dominatrix trio

Ever since the C*ck Destroyers split up, we’ve had a gaping hole to fill in our lives, and the last month of 2022 offered up a good substitute.

The trio, who were clad in, well, dominatrix outfits, walked into a city commission meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and demanded a tax-funded sex dungeon, based on the argument that everyone was doing naughty stuff anyway.

There’s not much else to say about this, but it is absolutely iconic – “I look forward to spanking each and every one of you” is how they signed off.

Justice for publicly-funded sex dungeons!

Yasmin Finney

One of Heartstopper‘s breakout stars, Yasmin Finney has made 2022 her year.

Appearing as Elle in the teen romance series alongside Kit Connor and Joe Locke, Finney was praised for giving us a beautiful, heartwarming portrayal of a young trans girl.

Since then, she’s appeared on the cover of Vogue, been announced as Ncuti Gatwa’s companion for when he takes up the Doctor Who mantle next year and consistently given us trans excellence.

Finney for PM!

The White Lotus (as a concept)

It gave us Theo James with a “donkey” sized prosthetic penis. It gave us Leo Woodall’s bare bum on more than one occasion. It gave us Jennifer Coolidge’s iconic “these gays are trying to murder me” line.

In short, it gave us everything we’ve ever wanted.

Mike White’s second season of murder mystery/ comedy/ drama The White Lotus took Twitter by storm, producing countless memes and earning its spot as a gay icon of 2022.

As Britney Spears once said, “Gimme more.”