The UK’s favourite gay icons named in new Pride Month poll

RuPaul, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, and Judy Garland against a rainbow background.

New research has unveiled the UK’s top ten favourite LGBTQ+ icons to mark Pride month, and the list is made up almost exclusively of musicians.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s queer musician and Queen singer Freddie Mercury who takes the top stop as the UK’s most beloved gay icon. 

The “Bohemian Rhapsody” hitmaker, who died from AIDS-related complications at the age of 45 in 1991, has sold more than 300 million records worldwide as part of Queen. 

In addition to providing non-stop rock bops for the gays and cis-hets alike, the music superstar also provided countless unapologetic queer moments that have made him a hero for the LGBTQ+ community to this day, more than 30 years on from his death.

Almost four in ten UK adults voted for Freddie Mercury as the country’s best gay icon, according to research from condom brand Durex.

Freddie Mercury performing in California in 1982.
Freddie Mercury performing in California in 1982. (Steve Jennings/WireImage)

Coming in second place is fellow queer music legend and “Tiny Dancer” singer Elton John, who secured a third of the public vote.

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John came out as bisexual back in 1976 at age 29, before later confirming to Rolling Stone in 1992 that he is gay. The singer has been in a relationship with his now-husband David Furnish since 1993. 

Despite not being British, RuPaul’s Drag Race host and Supermodel of the World RuPaul takes the bronze medal as the UK’s third favourite gay icon, securing more than a fifth of the public vote.

RuPaul’s public profile in the UK has grown hugely in recent years following the wildly successful launch of Drag Race UK back in 2019, which has created a legion of celebrity drag queens in the country, including The Vivienne, Tia Kofi, and Baga Chipz.

The star featured on season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race. (Getty)
RuPaul, host of RuPaul’s Drag Race. (Getty)

Late musician George Michael comes in fourth place, while US singer and bisexual “Poker Face” icon Lady Gaga is in at fifth.

David Bowie, Madonna, Cher, Dolly Parton, and Judy Garland round off the rest of the top ten – despite a few of them identifying as allies rather than members of the LGBTQ+ community.

In addition to working out who the British public believe to be the greatest LGBTQ+ star of all time, the research uncovered that just six per cent of the population’s queer community had learnt about LGBTQ+ relationships at school.

On the contrary, nearly half of those surveyed felt that LGBTQ+ icons like Freddie Mercury and Elton John provided them with a better understanding of LGBTQ+ sex education than their schooling had.

Earlier this week, to mark Pride month, publication The Independent released its annual Pride List 2024, with Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa – who came out as queer last year – topping the list.

Football pundit and partner to musician Jess Glynne, Alex Scott, came in second place, while Victoria McCloud, the UK’s first trans judge, came in third place.

All of Us Strangers actor Andrew Scott and Labour politician Wes Streeting rounded off the top five.

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