LGBTQA+, Fashion, Lookbook

20 LGBTQ+ fashion icons to celebrate this Pride Month

Through their commitment to stylistic exploration, they've redefined fashion in both reality and fiction.

Even at a glance, the contributions that members of the LGBTQ+ community have made to the fashion world are seemingly countless. In fact, it is fair to say that many of the greatest style icons, both past and present, have been part of the community.

As Pride Month begins to wind down, let’s take a moment to appreciate these pioneers of style, both real and fictional.

1. Billy Porter

Billy Porter poses on the Met Gala pink carpet, wearing an elaborate metallic jumpsuit and gold accented headdress and accessories on his dark brown skin. His arms are outstretched, a gold feathery cape made to look like wings behind him.
[Image description: Billy Porter poses on the Met Gala pink carpet, wearing an elaborate metallic jumpsuit and gold accented headdress and accessories on his dark brown skin. His arms are outstretched, a gold feathery cape made to look like wings behind him.] Via Angela Weiss for AFP/Getty Images.
If there’s one person who’s been blazing through the pages of every fashion magazine and the annals of social media these past few months, it’s the wonderful, multi-talented Billy Porter. From his incredible royal guise at this year’s Met Gala to the jaw-droppingly intricate suit-gown hybrids he’s worn on several red carpets, Porter stuns with ever-increasing frequency.

2. St. Vincent

Musician St. Vincent sings into a mic while playing a brown guitar against a dark blue stage. Her black hair is teased up and spiky and she wears a fringed dark red and black dress.
[Image description: Musician St. Vincent sings into a mic while playing a brown guitar against a dark blue stage. Her black hair is teased up and spiky and she wears a fringed dark red and black dress.] Via Frazer Harrison for Getty Images for Coachella.
The wildly creative musician Annie Clark, who professionally goes by St. Vincent, consistently brings that creativity to her style as well as her music. Sporting daring geometrical designs in music videos and on tour, St. Vincent manages to maintain a specific edge to her style without ever appearing stale or half-hearted. And of course, her greatest accessory is that beauty of an electrical guitar she carries everywhere.

3. Laverne Cox

Actor Laverne Cox poses on a pink carpet, rosebushes in the background. She is tall and has deep brown skin, wears a voluminous black dress that curls around her head, and her sea green wig matches her eyeshadow.
[Image description: Actor Laverne Cox poses on a pink carpet, rosebushes in the background. She is tall and has deep brown skin, wears a voluminous black dress that curls around her head, and her sea green wig matches her eyeshadow.] Via Charles Sykes on AP.
Since her groundbreaking roles in shows such as Orange is the New Black, for which she became the first trans person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award, Laverne Cox has been making waves in the fashion world as well. While she often sticks to her signature style of bold, colorful gowns and sleek hair, she definitely isn’t afraid to think out of the box with her looks. This was proven by her look for the Met Gala this year, where she appeared in an elaborate black dress featuring dreamy, uniquely colored accents.

4. David Rose on Schitt’s Creek

A man with white skin and dark hair wearing a flower-patterned shirt speaks to a woman whose back is turned. He is saying the words "I like the wine not the label."
[Image description: A man with white skin and dark hair wearing a flower-patterned shirt speaks to a woman whose back is turned. He is saying the words “I like the wine not the label”.] Via Giphy.
For the first fictional character on this list, it seems appropriate to honor David Rose, a character on the Canadian TV show Schitt’s Creek, played by Daniel Levy. There is much to say about how fashion is put to tremendous narrative use in the show at large, but David, who identifies as pansexual, possesses a style that is deeply distinctive yet consistently fascinating enough that it bears singling out. While he mainly wears shades of black, gray and white, David achieves some surprisingly unique and courageous looks within his limited color palette.

5. Janelle Monáe

Actor and singer Janelle Monáe poses wearing an asymmetric black dress. She has deep brown skin and is wearing several black hats piled on top of each other on her head.
[Image description: Actor and singer Janelle Monáe poses wearing an asymmetric black dress. She has deep brown skin and is wearing several black hats piled on top of each other on her head.] Via Style Blog.
When it comes to exploring and expanding the bounds of artistic possibility, few are as practiced as musician and actor Janelle Monáe. This trait is incredibly evident in the ever-fresh and evolving outfits she wears to events as well as in music videos such as those for her last album, Dirty Computer. Although she was once well-known for her trademark sharp black and white suits, in recent years she’s been branching out. Her style can be summed up in a single word: fearless.

6. Samira Wiley

Samira Wiley stands tall on the red carpet of the GLAAD Awards, wearing a two piece dress in a shiny green fabric with her midriff exposed. She is brown skinned and has short black hair.
[Image description: Samira Wiley stands tall on the red carpet of the GLAAD Awards, wearing a two piece dress in a shiny green fabric with her midriff exposed. She is brown skinned and has short black hair.] Via D. Dipasupil on Getty Images North America.
Another Orange is the New Black alum, Samira Wiley also plays a crucial character on The Handmaid’s Tale. She is married to a woman and forthright about identifying as a lesbian woman, as her OINTB character was. Wiley’s style is notable because she loves to play with texture and shape, from the eye-catching two piece dress above to more edgy metallic garb.

7. Bill Potts in Doctor Who

A woman with brown skin and a black afro is dressed in a rainbow-striped blouse, blue-sheen bomber jacket and black pants.
[Image description: A woman with brown skin and a black afro is dressed in a rainbow-striped blouse, blue-sheen bomber jacket and black pants.] Via Doctor Who 24/7.
Although Bill Potts only appeared on the acclaimed British TV show Doctor Who for one season, she made a lasting impression. Played by Pearl Mackie, Potts was the show’s first openly gay companion, and she was deeply beloved by fans. Potts was visibly proud of her identity, often donning rainbow patterned clothing and accessories. Her outfits were always fresh – quirky, colorful and emblematic of the brightness of her character. It’s that radiance that cements her as one of the most fashionable characters on the show, and on television in general.

8. Vivek Shraya

A woman with blonde hair and brown skin gazes into the camera. She is wearing a brown and black animal print dress, large white earrings and a black bindi on her forehead.
[Image description: A woman with blonde hair and brown skin gazes into the camera. She is wearing a brown and black animal print dress, large white earrings and a black bindi on her forehead.] Via Susan Holzman for CBC.
Vivek Shraya is a multi-talented artist and writer who currently works as a creative writing professor in Calgary, Canada. Due to her work as well as her evocative style, Shraya has been featured in multiple publications in recent years. Her near-constant application of the bindi is a lovely homage to her culture, and the extravagant jewelry she pairs with her colorful outfits is unforgettable.

9. Indya Moore

A collage consisting of three photos of model and actor Indya Moore. They wear, from left to right, a shiny grey satin slip with heavy silver jewellery, a blue skirt with an oversized shirt, and a pleated white dress.
[Image description: A collage consisting of three photos of model and actor Indya Moore. They wear, from left to right, a shiny grey satin slip with heavy silver jewellery, a blue skirt with an oversized shirt, and a pleated white dress.] Via Teen Vogue.
One of the breakout stars of FX’s Pose, which also features Billy Porter, Indya Moore has been blazing through appearances since they started on the scene. Moore, who identifies as non-binary and plays a trans woman on their show, was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World this year. And that influence extends to fashion, as their outfits at various events have been grandiose and intricate. Although they haven’t been working in Hollywood for very long, we’re sure they’ll only continue to wow us with time.

10. Syd

Syd sings into a mic onstage, with purple lights behind her. She has closely cropped hair and deep brown skin, and she's wearing gray overalls over a black hoodie, with only one side fastened.
[Image description: Syd sings into a mic onstage, with purple lights behind her. She has closely cropped hair and deep brown skin, and she’s wearing gray overalls over a black hoodie, with only one side fastened.] Via Scott Dudelson for Getty.
At first glance, popular musician Syd’s style of dressing may seem casual and rather effortless. Often, her tour outfits and appearances involve a simple white tee or a dark hoodie paired with jeans or sweats. But it’s the gravitas with which she wears these often simple ensembles that makes her image so compelling. After all, style isn’t just about being flashy or loud – sometimes it’s about looking just understated enough to spark interest. And Syd always manages to do that.

11. Jason Wu

 A tall, dark-haired model stands in front of a clothing rack as designer Jason Wu adjusts part of her black dress. He is also wearing black, and they stand close together in a white-walled room.
[Image description: A tall, dark-haired model stands in front of a clothing rack as designer Jason Wu adjusts part of her black dress. He is also wearing black, and they stand close together in a white-walled room.] Via Masato Onoda for WWD.
It would be truly remiss to compile a list like this without including any actual fashion designers. Jason Wu is a trailblazing designer who identifies as gay and, despite being only 36 years old, has established an international brand beloved by people such Michelle Obama and Meghan Markle. His designs involve classic and daring silhouettes alike, with a skillful selection of colors and shades for each garment. He’s an important representative of and for both the LGBTQ+ and the Asian-Canadian community.

12. Ezra Miller

Ezra Miller is wearing a feathery, puffy white top and his black hair is teased up with silver on some strands, while silver makeup covers much of his face.
[Image description: Ezra Miller is wearing a feathery, puffy white top and his black hair is teased up with silver on some strands, while silver makeup covers much of his face.] Via Samir Hussein on Getty Images.
There’s an otherworldly sheen to Ezra Miller, a kind of cryptic gloss that is inextricable from his public appearances and interviews. This must certainly serve him well in his recent role in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise. It undoubtedly does when it comes to his outfits, particularly in recent years, as he’s become increasingly inventive not just with his clothing but his makeup and accessories as well. We can only look forward to whatever he’ll unveil next, a slight hint of anticipation in the air.

13. Raveena

Raveena, a brown skinned woman with her black hair in a braid, looks into the camera, an orange background behind her. One hand is braced on her cheek and she wears orange eyeshadow, large circular earrings and a tikka, jeweled headpiece, over her forehead.
[Image description: Raveena, a brown skinned woman with her black hair in several braids, looks into the camera, an orange background behind her. One hand is braced on her cheek and she wears orange eyeshadow, large circular earrings and a tikka, jeweled headpiece, on the center of her forehead.] Via gal-dem magazine.
Raveena Aurora is an Indian-American singer based in New York City who identifies herself as bisexual. She recently released her first full-length album, entitled Lucid. Not only is she musically talented, Raveena also has an impeccable sense of style. Much of the clothing she wears on tour and in her music videos are made by her sister, Reena Aurora, and they are imbued with the same dreamy beauty that distinguishes her music. Effusive with bright colors and luxurious silhouettes, her outfits make the visual aspect of her performances deeply enjoyable.

14. Tessa Thompson

Actress Tessa Thompson poses on a red carpet, holding her shimmering rainbow-colored dress. She has brown skin and short dark hair.
[Image description: Actress Tessa Thompson poses on a red carpet, holding her shimmering rainbow-colored dress. She has brown skin and short dark hair.] Via Twitter.
Few actors in Hollywood have inspired the level of buzz Tessa Thompson has in the last couple of years, and with good reason. Not only is she extraordinarily talented, having taken roles in various culturally relevant projects, she’s a wonderful advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. Many characters Thompson has played have had impressive wardrobes, such as Detroit in Sorry to Bother You (2018) and Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok (2017). But Thompson’s own style rivals theirs, as she consistently stuns in sleek, daring ensembles.

15. Keiynan Lonsdale

Actor Keiynan Lonsdale stands facing the camera wearing a dark shirt and jacket. He has brown skin and a patterned bandana tied over his dyed pink-purple hair. A yellowish light effect obscures most of the background, but some greenery is visible in one corner.
[Image description: Actor Keiynan Lonsdale stands facing the camera wearing a dark shirt and jacket. He has brown skin and a patterned bandana tied over his dyed pink-purple hair. A yellowish light effect obscures most of the background, but some greenery is visible in one corner.] Via Catherine Powell for NKD Magazine.
While we love Keiynan Lonsdale’s characters, most notably Kid Flash and Bram in Love, Simon, we adore his off-screen persona even more. The imaginative way he uses fashion to reject traditional gender norms is an inspiration, both culturally and aesthetically.

16. Carol Aird in Carol

A woman with short blonde hair and white skin smiles, tilting her head to the left. She is wearing a light green jacket with two long flowery brooches pinned to her chest.
[Image description: A woman with short blonde hair and white skin smiles, tilting her head to the left. She is wearing a light green jacket with two long flowery brooches pinned to her chest.] Via Giphy.
When you think about influential queer films within the last few years, it’s no surprise that Carol (2015) immediately springs to mind. The character of Carol Aird, played by Cate Blanchett has ensconced herself in the LGBTQ+ film canon, and with good reason. One of the ways Carol asserts her power in the film is through her impeccable, graceful wardrobe. It makes it all the more simple to fall for her along with Rooney Mara’s character, Therese.

17. Sarah Paulson

Actor Sarah Paulson is pictured in a head-and-shoulders shot, wearing a red and black patterned dress. She has light skin, dirty blonde hair and is smiling.
[Image description: Actor Sarah Paulson is pictured in a head-and-shoulders shot, wearing a red and black patterned dress. She has light skin, dirty blonde hair and is smiling.] Via Jean Baptiste Lacroix for WireImage.
A familiar face to viewers of American Horror Story and Ocean’s Eight (2018), Sarah Paulson is a talented actor with a quirky yet elegant sense of style. She has a penchant for designs that might feel a little peculiar at first glance, and is not afraid to stray out of her comfort zone.

18. Big Freedia

Musician Big Freedia stares off to her right, standing against a black and yellow and pattered background. She has brown skin and loose blonde curls, and she is wearing a silvery shirt and a black jacket with a multicolored shiny pattern.
[Image description: Musician Big Freedia stares off to her right, standing against a black and yellow and pattered background. She has brown skin and loose blonde curls, and she is wearing a silvery shirt and a black jacket with a multicolored shiny pattern.] Via Tim Mosenfelder for WireImage/Getty Images and Angela Hsieh for NPR.
As the person credited with helping the genre of bounce music gain mainstream acclaim, Big Freedia is certainly accustomed to having a huge impact. While her forte is music, her sense of style also merits attention as she’s carefully cultivated a wonderful, eccentric image that brings the effervescent joy of her music to her appearance as well. We can definitely see why everyone from Beyoncé to Drake has been highlighting her influence in their work!

19. Tegan and Sara

Sisters and musicians Tegan and Sara stand against a white wall. They both have pale skin, dark hair and are wearing black jackets, though the sister on the left wears a striped shirt while the other wears a white shirt. They are staring into nearly opposing directions and wearing heavy green and blue pigmented eye makeup.
[Image description: Sisters and musicians Tegan and Sara stand against a white wall. They both have pale skin, dark hair and are wearing black jackets, though the sister on the left wears a striped shirt while the other wears a white shirt. They are staring into nearly opposing directions and wearing heavy green and blue pigmented eye makeup.] Via Pamela Littky.
A Canadian pop band formed by identical twin sisters, Tegan and Sara have cemented themselves in the annals of the genre with their irresistible hits and ever-relatable ballads. In addition to their prolific music career, they are both openly gay and support the LGBTQ+ community through various channels. The synchronization in their music crosses over to their style as well, since they often wear complementary outfits in public.  With their trademark chic jackets and angled dark bobs, they have become iconic for exuding an effortless sense of cool.

20. Hayley Kiyoko

A blonde woman on the streets, dressed in a bold patterned dress and jacket.
[Image description: A blonde woman on the streets, dressed in a bold patterned dress and jacket.] Via Trevor Flores on Harper’s Bazaar.
Dubbed “Lesbian Jesus” by her fanbase, Hayley Kiyoko is one of those figures in pop music who make us glad to be living in this era. Since her hit Girls Like Girls was released in 2015, Kiyoko’s advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community has continued to grow. Her style is quirky and colorful with just enough edge to keep us guessing at what she does next.