Music's greatest gay icon: Diana Ross or Donna Summer? | The Tylt

Music's greatest gay icon: Diana Ross or Donna Summer?

Diana Ross and Donna Summer are both queens of the '70s and '80s. These legendary female musicians had two things in common: similarities in their aesthetics and admiration from gay men. Diana became a gay icon with "I'm Coming Out," a gay anthem that's direct, prideful and empowering. Donna is revered as the Queen of Disco, so most of her music was beloved by the gay community, with smash hit after smash hit. Who is music’s greatest gay icon? 🎤

FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Music's greatest gay icon: Diana Ross or Donna Summer?
A festive crown for the winner
#LoveDiana
#LoveDonna
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Music's greatest gay icon: Diana Ross or Donna Summer?
#LoveDiana
#LoveDonna

For the past several decades—LGBTQ and women music artists have openly declared their "true colors,” supported gay rights, empowered LGBTQ communities, and gave the gurls some of the most iconic gay anthems of all time. There is no better way to celebrate Pride Month than to honor the popular music artists who have influenced LGBTQ movements by ultimately picking which of them is the greatest gay music icon of all time.

In our first round, it's Judy Garland versus Liza Minnelli, Diana Ross versus Donna Summer, Elton John versus David Bowie, Cher versus Cyndi Lauper, Freddie Mercury versus George Michael, K.D. Lang versus Melissa Etheridge, RuPaul versus Madonna and Janet Jackson versus Lady Gaga. Who's the greatest gay icon?

Don't forget to cast your vote for the rest our “greatest gay icon" debates below!

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#LoveDiana

If Diana Ross' star power, glamor, sparkling gowns and big hair didn't make her a gay icon, then the love she received from drag queens sure did. Just ask RuPaul, BeBe Zahara Benet, and iconic Ms. Ross impersonator Tommie Ross

Billboard reveres Ross as a gay icon, and "I'm Coming Out" is one of the main reasons why. Da'Shan Smith writes:

July 12, 1979 will forever be known as the day disco died. That night, rockists filled Chicago’s Comiskey Park to destroy and burn tons of records in a Disco Demolition. Soon the genre was deemed uncool, and artists found themselves avoiding it to please consumers. The following year, Diana Ross went against the trend, and released a disco heavy self-titled album which included “Upside Down” and her boldest career single, “I’m Coming Out.”
After attending a drag performance featuring various Diana Rosses, songwriter Nile Rodgers wanted to embrace the fall of disco with a flamboyantly, rebellious anthem. He noted that the jam was also influenced by the Disco Demolition Night, where he realized no black or LGBT people were in attendance, basically categorizing the infamous event as racist and homophobic towards the true fans of the genre. The song reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and would later on become a stepping stone for those truly needing to come out. In 2016, “I’m Coming Out” topped Billboard Pride’s list of gay anthems. 

Below are some significant lyrics from Ms. Ross' reigning gay anthem, "I'm Coming Out," per Genius

🎶I'm coming out. I want the world to know. I got to let it show. I'm coming out. I want the world to know. I got to let it show.🎶

Watch her perform the hit single below.

#LoveDiana

Donna Summer is the Queen of Disco who brought never before seen black female sensuality to her music in the '70s, becoming a gay icon in the process. Her vocal range, infectious dance beats, big and flowing hair, and sparkling gowns catered to her queer following. She scored major hits with "Love to Love You Baby," "Last Dance," "On the Radio" "MacArthur Park" and "Hot Stuff."

She garnered backlash as a gay icon for reportedly making homophobic comments in the '80s, but denied the anti-gay remarks ever occurred. 

The Advocate interviewed Summer in 1989 and the publication revisited the profile in 2012. 

For a profile in the July 4 1989, issue of The Advocate, writer Kevin Koffler visited the entertainer at her suite at a Los Angeles hotel. Before his interview Koffler pondered the remarks that had been attributed to Summer, whose early success was largely due to her significant gay fan base. "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," is one comment Summer, who'd recently announced she was a born-again Christian, was alleged to have said at a concert in 1983, as the AIDS epidemic had begun to wreak havoc on the LGBT community. "I have seen the evils of homosexuality; AIDS is the result of your sins" was another. Later in the interview Summer denied ever making either remark.
The following is an excerpt from the 1989 profile:
“In the past two years, I’ve done several AIDS benefits, but I’m not going to do AIDS benefits to prove to something that I’m not antigay. Some of the most creative people in this country are gay and have given great things. I have people on my family who are gay. I have people in my life, who have been in my life before any of this stuff went on, who are gay.
“I never started a war against gay people. It all started with one newspaper writer [Jim Feldman, in a 1983 review of Summer’s post-born-again Atlantic City comeback concert, in the Village Voice]. I did not make those statements… The guy who wrote it, I think was angry at me for accepting God. But his attack wasn’t on God; it was on me.

Still, her songs like "I Feel Love" remain revered as gay anthems, and Summer—even as a born-again Christian—continued to champion her innocence and her love for gay people until her death in 2012.

Below are some notable lyrics to "I Feel Love," per Genius.

🎶Heaven knows, heaven knows. Heaven knows, heaven knows. Heaven knows. Ooh. I feel love, I feel love. I feel love, I feel love. I feel love.🎶

Watch a live performance below of "I Feel Love."

FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Music's greatest gay icon: Diana Ross or Donna Summer?
A festive crown for the winner
#LoveDiana
#LoveDonna