The A+ List of Well-Known Gay & Lesbian Celebrities
As I perceive it, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, Ryan Murphy and Rachel Maddow are today's most overexposed gay personalities (or, as Barbara Walters might refer to them as, the most fascinating). However, a Google search I did on more than 300 gay celebs turned up many others who seem equally high profile (the top 50 can be found at the end of this post).
20 years ago there were very few "out" celebrities so it made sense that the token few, e.g., Harvey Fierstein, Melissa Etheridge and kd lang, received extensive media coverage. Since then there's been a proliferation of openly gay celebs (a good thing), but an inordinate amount of attention still goes to a rather select group.
Of the 300+ included in this analysis, the typical celeb had 500,000 search results. They ranged from 16,000 (for Steve Kmetko - remember him?) to 19 million (Calvin Klein). There were thirteen well-known LGBTs whose names each generated more than 5 million search results - I guess you can call them the gay A+ List. At the other end of the spectrum, there were 50 celebs/former celebs with fewer than 100,000 mentions. (For some perspective, I, a mere gay mortal, had 5,000).
Naturally, some of the names among the top 50 have been in the news of late, including newly out actress Ellen Page, figure skater Johnny Weir and stats guru Nate Silver (pictured, far left). (Surprisingly, neither Michael Sam or Jason Collins were in this select group, ranking 59th and 61st). By age, six of the top 50 were older than 65, with Giorgio Armani, at 78, the oldest. Seven were younger than 30, with Tom Daley (pictured) being the youngest, at 19. Ellen DeGeneres had the most search results for lesbians, but only ten others joined her.
Actors, singers and fashion designers dominate the upper echelons of gaydom, comprising two-thirds of the top 50. (The designers were, no doubt, boosted by their eponymous clothing labels.) Outside of these fields we have statistician Nate Silver; personal trainer Jillian Michaels; Apple CEO Tim Cook; photographer Annie Leibovitz; blogger Perez Hilton; interior designer Nate Berkus; and drag performer Ru Paul.
And where do the five I thought were most overexposed rank? Neil Patrick Harris is second; Ellen is fifth and Anderson Cooper, 30th. Rachel Maddow and Ryan Murphy, however, are further down the list at 65th and 68th, respectively. Still respectable but not nearly as high as I expected.
Who was I surprised to see among the elite 50? Besides Calvin Klein at #1, I was also taken aback by the inclusion of singers Robbie Williams (pictured, far right), George Michael, Mika, Tracy Chapman and Boy George; Jillian Michaels fom Biggest Loser; fashion designers Alexander Wang, Jason Wu (pictured) and Zac Posen; and British actor Steven Fry. And those who I was surprised to see lower than the top 100 include ABC's Robin Roberts (#112); fashion guru Tim Gunn (#142); sexy Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters (#164, pictured near right); diving legend Greg Louganis (#177) and gay blogger Andy Towle (#294).
|TOP 50 GAY PERSONALITIES|
|(Ranked by # of Google Search Results)|
|Calvin Klein||Fashion Designer||19.1|
|Neil Patrick Harris||Actor||14.6|
|Marc Jacobs||Fashion Designer||11.0|
|Ellen DeGeneres||Talk Show Host||10.8|
|Michael Kors||Fashion Designer||10.6|
|Tom Ford||Fashion Designer||9.4|
|Pet Shop Boys||Pop Music Duo||5.8|
|Giorgio Armani||Fashion Designer||4.6|
|Tegan & Sara||Pop Music Duo||4.5|
|Rosie O'Donnell||TV Personality||4.3|
|Alexander Wang||Fashion Designer||4.3|
|Frank Ocean||Rap Singer||3.6|
|Portia de Rossi||Actress||3.4|
|Tim Cook||Business Executive||3.0|
|Johnny Weir||Figure Skater||2.5|
|Jason Wu||Fashion Designer||2.4|
|Don Lemon||News Anchor||2.3|
|Anderson Cooper||News Anchor||2.2|
|Jean Paul Gaultier||Fashon Designer||2.1|
|Zac Posen||Fashion Designer||2.0|
|Andy Cohen||Cable TV Executive||2.0|
|Jesse Tyler Ferguson||Actor||1.7|
|John Galliano||Fashion Designer||1.7|
|Nate Berkus||Interior Designer||1.6|
|Graham Norton||Talk Show Host||1.6|
|(For period 3/20-24/2014)|
I'm guessing the results for Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and anyone else who has a company bearing their name are heavily skewed due to that. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way to determine which searches are for the person and not the company.
Also, it seems like the results would be skewed for anyone with a somewhat 'common' name like Robbie Williams, Ellen Page or Tim Cook. While names such as Elton John or Neil Patrick Harris... or Rob Frydlewicz... would be more reliable.
Posted by: Maury Schott | 03/26/2014 at 10:18 AM
Maury, I was going to address these issues but I didn't know how much readers wanted to know "how the sausage was made." Regarding the fashion designers, I did adjust their numbers by adding "fashion designer" after their name. This reduced the number of search results significantly. I also made an adjustment for celebs with names that were shared with other notable non-gay persons (e.g., Larry Kramer is also a writer for USA Today. I did this by linking a "not" to the profession or company of the other like-named person.
Posted by: Rob | 03/26/2014 at 02:25 PM