The 24 Most Iconic Gay Pop Culture Moments Of All Time

The 24 Most Iconic Gay Pop Culture Moments Of All Time
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News, Politics, Culture, Life, Entertainment, and more. Stories that matter to you.pride2023.png?output-format=jpg&output-quality=autoLGBTQ·Posted 27 minutes ago

The 24 Most Iconic Gay Pop Culture Moments Of All Time

Long live Janelle Monáe's vagina pants.

jemimaskelley-v2-19266-1435815028-0_large.jpg?downsize=120:*&output-format=jpg&output-quality=autoby Jemima Skelley

BuzzFeed Contributor


We all love pop culture, obvs. But there's truly nothing better than GAY pop culture – it's just that slightly bit more elevated.


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From dumb memes to important moments that actually help shift the culture, here are the most iconic queer pop culture moments that we'll never forget.


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1. When Ellen came out on the cover of Time.


Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Say what you want about Ellen DeGeneres, but her coming-out moment was quite the culture shift. We're all probably familiar with the story: after months of speculation about her sexuality, the star appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1997 with the words "Yep, I'm gay". Two weeks later, her character on Ellen came out as well, in an episode which drew a record 42 million viewers. 

2. When Lil Nas X pole danced in hell.


Columbia / Lil Nas X

Not only is Lil Nas X's song "Montero" a massive bop, but the accompanying video should be projected in museums for decades to come. As you may recall, it depicts the popstar pole-dancing his way down into Hell and twerking on the Devil. Of course, people got mad for plenty of homophobic reasons – but Lil Nas had some excellent comebacks.

3. When the Queer Eye reboot launched on Netflix.



While Queer Eye For The Straight Guy was an iconic '00s show, it didn't exactly age well. (To be fair, not many things have.) The 2018 reboot was a breath of fresh air: wholesome, uplifting, inclusive, and all about celebrating community.

4. When the Thankgsiving epiosde of Master of None aired.



Aziz Ansari's Master of None was a short-lived but pretty amazing show, especially as the seasons went on and the storytelling got more creative. This specific episode is removed from the regular series storyline arc, and is set over a series of Thanksgiving dinners from the '90s to present day. It details Denise's coming out as a lesbian throughout the years and her parents slow and reluctant acceptance of their daughter. If you haven't seen it, it's truly stellar TV. 

5. When Jennifer Coolidge said that iconic line on The White Lotus.



At first, we thought nothing could be more iconic than the queer manager calling Tanya "Peppa Pig". But then, right near the end of the season, Tanya herself uttered the line that was repeated in a thousand tweets: "These gays, they're trying to murder me." It may have been overused in memes in the weeks following the episode airing, but nothing will ever dim its shine.

6. When Kristen Stewart dragged Trump AND said "I'm gay" on Saturday Night Live.



While K-Stew has been pretty open about being a queer woman for almost a decade, fans were shocked and delighted with her candid "I'm like so gay, dude". Which she dropped while also making fun of Trump's obsession with her and Twilight.

7. When Troye Sivan's dropped a song about bottoming.


Troye Sivan / Universal Music Australia / Via

If you thought Troye Sivan's dreamy pop banger "Bloom" was about spring and flowers – think again. 

8. When David and Patrick got married.



Schitt's Creek has given us many iconic moments, most of them queer. But nothing can top the series finale, where David and Patrick finally wed with Moira as their celebrant. It was stressful, it was funny, and it brought happy tears to all our eyes. What a show. 

9. When Janelle Monáe debuted her vagina pants.


Janelle Monáe / WMG

There's no denying what the pants that Janelle Monáe wore in her "PYNK" music video are meant to look like. I mean, the whole song is about vaginas so it simply makes sense. True artistic vision.

10. When Moonlight won Best Picture.


Wwd / Penske Media via Getty Images

Sure, winning Best Picture is an amazing feeling. But what's even better is winning when you'd already thought you'd lost to La La Land. ICYMI, it's an incredible coming-of-age film that explores sexuality and the Black male identity, and was 1000000% deserving of its win. 

11. When Elton John dedicated "Candle in the Wind" to Diana.


Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

While Elton didn't actually write "Candle in the Wind" for Princess Diana (that honor went to Marilyn Monroe), by performing it at her funeral, he inextricably linked the song with the late royal forever. His 1997 re-release is still the highest-selling single of all time since charts began in the 1950s, with 33 million copies sold. Taylor Swift could never. 

12. When Orange Is The New Black premiered and gave us a realistic picture of the intersectionality of the queer community.



For years, queer characters in movies and TV shows have been reduced to stereotypes. But any representation is better than none, right? When OITNB hit Netflix in 2013, it was a huge win for the queer community. Yes, all the characters were technically criminals, but the wide spectrum of different types of queer women was like nothing that had been shown on such a mainstream platform before. 

13. When Jojo Siwa came out as queer.


@jojosiwa / Via

The former Dance Moms star came out in the most Gen-Z way possible: by lip-synching to Lady Gaga on TikTok then by dancing with members of Pride House LA, and then again on an Instagram Live. 

14. When Emma D'Arcy revealed her favorite cocktail.


HBOMax / Via

Sorry, but "a Negroni... Sbagliato... with Prosecco in it" is probably the gayest sentence ever uttered in human history. It wasn't just Emma's words, it was their intonation. Forever entrenched in queer history. 

15. When a Project Runway contestant name-dropped the Kushners in relation to Karlie Kloss.


On an episode of Project Runway, the contestants were tasked to create a design that host and model Karlie Kloss could wear to an upcoming event. When designer Tyler Neasloney was told by one judge that his dress didn't look like something that Karlie would wear, he hit back with: "Not even to dinner with the Kushners?" (FYI, Karlie is married to Joshua Kushner, the brother of Jared Kushner, whose wife is Ivanka Trump.) Truly a moment that we will never forget.

16. When Chrishell and G Flip got married.

View this photo on Instagram

@chrishell.stause / Via

A reality star and real estate agent meeting, hooking up with, and then MARRYING an Australian singer and drummer? We never saw it coming, but it's just one of those things that'll be remembered forever. Yeah, it turns out that it wasn't *quite* official, but we're still obsessed. 

17. When we were given the iconic phrase "Leave Britney Alone".


Chris Crocker / Via

An early entry into the annals of queer social media history, this is probably one of the first viral videos that we can all remember watching. Poor Chris Crocker was mocked for his passionate defense of Britney, but it turns out that he was years ahead of his time. 

18. When Blaine sang "Teenage Dream" on Glee.


FOX / Via

This one's for all the Gleeks out there. Yes, we had some truly iconic queer moments handed to us during the six seasons that Glee was on the air, but the Warblers' rendition of "Teenage Dream" might have to be one of the best. It was Darren Criss' first time singing on the show, and it cemented Klaine in our hearts forever. 

19. When Conchita Wurst won Eurovision.


Manfred Schmid / Getty Images

Back in 2014, drag queen Conchita Wurst won Eurovision for Austria, with the song "Rise Like a Phoenix". Though the song content is already a very queer-coded event, it was iconic AF to see a drag performer take the crown – especially after several Russian organizations called for a boycott of the event after Conchita was announced as a performer. 

20. When Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers covered "Iris".


Maggie Rogers / Via Twitter: @maggierogers

"Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls is unquestionably an excellent song. A classic '90s staple. But it wasn't until a cover of the song was released by indie powerhouses Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers that it became a truly iconic piece of gay culture. It came about in November 2020, when Maggie tweeted that she would cover "Iris" if Donald Trump lost the election. The pair released the song for one day only on Bandcamp, and again for one day in 2022 to raise money for an abortion care group.

21. When Eliot Page came out as trans.


Steve Granitz / FilmMagic

In December 2020, the Juno star came out as trans on Twitter, writing "I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot". He shared a moving statement, in which he said that he "can't express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self." The actor was starring in The Umbrella Academy at the time; Elliot's character, Viktor, also transitioned in the first few episodes following his announcement. Iconic stuff all round. 

22. When Lady Gaga dropped "Born This Way".


Lady Gaga / UMG / Interscope / Via

The lead single from Gaga's second album, this 2010 song wasn't just iconic, it was an important message at a time when it was rare to hear about anything other than heterosexuality in pop music. It was (obvs) a massive hit, with Forbes calling it the next gay anthem. As the icing on the cake, Gaga later revealed that she wrote it in ten minutes, comparing the process to an immaculate conception. 

23. When Frank Ocean came out.


Karwai Tang / WireImage

Frank Ocean came out in 2012 via — you guessed it — a Tumblr post. That in itself is iconic, but it was also a massive moment for the Black queer community. Frank's announcement was heartfelt and incredibly brave, and paved the way for other queer POC musicians to be themselves. 

24. And finally, every single meme to come out of Drag Race.



If you were tasked, with a gun to your head, to name the SINGLE most iconic moment from the history of RuPaul's Drag Race, you probably couldn't. Since 2009, the show has served up quotable moment after quotable moment. Supercuts of all the iconic lines on YouTube run over 10 minutes long, and that's only scratching the surface. May the show live on forever. 

Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out all of BuzzFeed's posts celebrating Pride 2023.


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