Article written by Maya Vukovska

Since the 1960s, rock musicians have been seen as the baddest badasses - they live by their own rules, do all the forbidden things, and get to fuck all the beautiful girls. However, some of the greatest rock stars dared to break the mold by boldly announcing they are actually into boys. Becausе, let’s face it, this musical genre is not exactly the most accepting and tolerant when it comes to “fairies” and such.

Here are some of the coolest gay rock musicians of all time.

Rob Halford

One of the most eccentric-looking rock gods, Judas Priest's frontman Rob Halford, was 46 when he came out on MTV in February 1998 - a moment in his life that he describes as “glorious.” And totally unplanned! At this time, he was doing the rounds in NYC and ended up at MTV talking about a project called Two. “In the casual course of the conversation,” he told in an interview with Apple Music in 2021, “I got carried away and at some point, I said, ‘Speaking as a gay man, blah, blah, blah…’ And then I heard the producer’s clipboard bounce on the floor. It was one of those gay sharp intakes, ‘Oh my God, he’s come out.’ When the interview is over, Rob goes back to his hotel, and he feels relieved. So, that was it - now everybody knows. “It was this enormous feeling of freedom, and the pressure was gone, and there’s no more talking behind your back because you have this ammunition of power as an out gay person.”

Hats down to you, Mister Halford!

Freddie Mercury

This sexuality of this absolute rock icon is of complicated nature. Queen’s frontman never really discussed his sexuality with the public. However, it was known for a fact that he had relationships with both men and women. Although Mercury led quite a promiscuous life throughout the 1980s with guys being the focus of his sexual interest, his greatest romantic love was with a woman, Mary Austin. They never legally married, but Freddie always claimed she was the love of his life. Sounds familiar? Of course, it does, because Mary was the person who inspired Queen’s famous song of the same title. After Mary, he was in multiple relationships with men, among whom a record executive, a chef, a DHL courier, a German restauranteur, and… Jim Hutton, who was with Freddie until his death in 1991.

Adam Lambert

Although he claims he never really was “in the closet”, a couple of weeks after American Idol finale in 2009, the then 27-year-old flamboyant singer made it official in a cover story in The Rolling Stone. He didn’t do it earlier because he didn’t want his sexuality to upstage him, and chose instead to ignore the issue until after the voting ended. He finished as a runner-up and that was the moment that skyrocketed his career.
His real “outing”, however, happened years earlier, when he was still in high school. It was his mom who delicately “outed” him by nonchalantly asking on a car ride home whether he wanted a girlfriend or a boyfriend.

Lambert’s current boyfriend is Oliver Gliese, the Innovation Forum Assistant for Global Fashion Agenda. He made their relationship public by sharing a picture together in May 2021 on his Instagram. Since then, he hasn’t missed an opportunity to brag with his “sunshine”, as he calls Gliese, on social media.

Michael Stipe

The R.E.M frontman did his official “outing” in an interview with Time Magazine in 2001 by describing himself as a “queer artist”. He also revealed he was in a relationship with “an amazing man.” Тhe statement ended years of speculations. Тwo decades later, Stipe confided to The Rolling Stone that back in the 1980s, he was reluctant to get tested for AIDS for fear of quarantine and the threat of having his basic civil rights stripped away, so he waited for five years to get his first anonymous test. “I am happy that attitudes have matured and changed since then, and I feel lucky that I live in a country where acceptance and tolerance toward LGBTQ issues have advanced as far as they are.”

Now, the 62-year-old artist lives between New York and Berlin with his partner, the photographer Thomas Dozol (47).

Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal

He was the 90s’ ultimate queer icon. Cross-dressing, red lipstick and blue nail polish, nakedness and leather - the Placebo frontman Molko knew just well how to shake the boring world of the straight-as-an-arrow Indie guys back then. He regularly referred to his sexual fluidity in the press, refusing to follow the suppressing hetero-gender norms before the term “queer” was as viral as it is now. And while Molko has always identified as bisexual, the bass guitarist of the band, Stefan Olsdal has been publicly out as gay since the early 90s’. In numerous interviews, Olsdal has said that he feared for his life while being on tours in some countries. And not without a reason: in Morocco and Russia, he got death threats. This, however, hasn’t stopped the Swedish-Luxembourgish bassist from being an outspoken LGBTQ advocate.