Courting The Gays: How Musicians Achieve “Gay Icon” Status

Milk, Europe’s first outdoor GLBT music festival, took place at Ballinlough Castle in Ireland this past Saturday.  If you were lucky enough to attend, you saw over 50 acts, including performers Samantha Fox, Right Said Fred, Bananarama, and Roisin Murphy.  In light of this ground-breaking event, published an interesting article on “gay music” and why the GLBT community supports the musicians they do.

I typically like to focus on corporate marketing efforts on OGM, but there are a handful of musicians who have done a much better job of marketing themselves to the gay crowd than any corporate entity has.  Pulling heavily from the aforementioned article, here are four guidelines for achieving gay music immortality:

1) Either be gay or flirt with bi-sexuality.  Gays love their own kind, so its only natural for us to gravitate towards musicians like kd lang, Melissa Etheridge, Rufus Wainwright, and Kele Okereke.  If you weren’t blessed with the gay gene, it helps to explore bisexuality and let your gay fanbase know about it – just ask Madonna, Lady Gaga, and David Bowie.  However, entertainers should tread carefully here; there’s nothing we gays hate more than a straightie playing gay for his or her own personal gain.

2) Release a gay anthem.  Gloria Gaynor did it with I Will Survive, Donna Ross did it with I’m Coming Out, and Abba did it with Dancing Queen, and we’re still listening to those songs all these years later.  The article lists two essential ingredients to a great gay anthem:  1) a good baseline, and 2) a theme of self-celebration.

3)  Support the gays as much as they support you.  Over the years, Madonna set the bar in terms of GLBT support, but Lady Gaga is quickly raising that bar (have you seen her current Monster Ball tour?  It’s practically a two-hour gay rights celebration).  Speaking of gay rights celebrations, Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors tour was monumental in raising awareness for gay rights.  And while she’s undoubtedly a brilliant musician, Dolly Parton’s unlikely rise to gay icon has more to do with her unwavering outspoken support of her gay fans than her music.

4)  Be fabulous.  There’s one thing Madonna, Cher, Tina Turner, and Dolly Parton all have in common – they’re f’ing fabulous!  While fabulousness might not get you far with the lesbians, there’s nothing a gay man loves more!


One response to “Courting The Gays: How Musicians Achieve “Gay Icon” Status

  1. Hello, I wanted to let you know that I took inspiration from this article for the page of my website about “gay icons”: – of course I linked your blog from my website.

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