Music's greatest gay icon: Freddie Mercury or George Michael? | The Tylt

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Music's greatest gay icon: Freddie Mercury or George Michael?

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!


"I Want to Break Free" is only one of Queen's frontman Freddie Mercury's memorable androgynous moments. He quite literally intersected masculinity with flamboyance. While his sexuality wasn't his defining feature as an artist, his identities catered to his showmanship, becoming known as one of the greatest live performers of all time. 

Mercury announced he had AIDS in late 1991 and was one of the first celebrities to openly reveal he had been diagnosed with the disease. He died days after the public announcement in November 1991, but his death marked a turning point for the HIV/AIDS awareness. His solo music, as well as his classics with Queen, cemented Mercury's legacy not only as a gay icon, but one of the greatest to ever fill an arena.

Below are Queen's notable lyrics to classic "I Want to Break Free," per Genius.

🎶I want to break free. I want to break free. I want to break free from your lies. You are so self satisfied I don't need you. I have got to break free. God knows, God knows I want to break free.🎶

Watch the bold '80s music video below.


While George Michael wasn't out as a gay man at the height of his success, his coming out was both groundbreaking and controversial in the late '90s. He paved the way for other queer artists to be open about their sexuality. Though he was at his peak in the late '80s and early '90s, his success continued after his coming out and quickly became one of music's greatest gay icons. 

Below are some significant lyrics to his self-declaration pride anthem that is "Freedom! '90," per Genius.

🎶All we have to do now is take these lies and make them true somehow. All we have to see is that I don't belong to you. And you don't belong to me. Freedom. I won't let you down, freedom. I will not give you up, freedom. Gotta have some faith in the sound. You got to give what you take. It's the one good thing that I've got, freedom. I won't let you down, freedom. So please don't give me up, freedom. Cause I would really, really love to stick around.🎶

Watch the iconic music video below.

Music's greatest gay icon: Freddie Mercury or George Michael?
A festive crown for the winner