The highly anticipated announcement of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2023 has finally arrived, and it’s pretty gay (and gay adjacent).
A few weeks after the list of potential entrants was announced, music enthusiasts and industry insiders alike have been eagerly awaiting the results.
This year’s winners were chosen through a combination of ballots and input from a panel of esteemed industry experts, as is always the case.
Among the selected artists is one trailblazing musician who was open about his sexuality for many years, and standing alongside his memory are several other beloved musicians who have long been favorites among LGBTQ fans.
Here are the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2023 inductees of particular interest to the LGBTQ community.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2023 includes just one musician who identified as gay, and he’s remembered as one of the best there ever was.
George Michael achieved success both as a member of Wham! and as a solo artist, and for a time, he was both a heartthrob and one of the biggest stars on the planet.
Despite being forced out of the closet decades into his tenure as a star, Michael courageously admitted to being gay following his arrest for seeking a public hookup. He made it clear that he was not ashamed of his identity, and his openness served as a beacon of hope for others in the LGBTQ community.
Sadly, Michael passed away suddenly on Christmas Day in 2016 at the young age of 53, leaving behind a legacy of groundbreaking music and a message of acceptance and love.
Chaka Khan has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ people throughout her illustrious career. Her soulful and funky disco-tinged dance music resonated with the community, who quickly fell in love with her and embraced her in return.
Over the years, Khan has spoken openly about her admiration and gratitude for the LGBTQ community, praising them for their unwavering loyalty to her. This year, after being nominated multiple times in the past, Khan has finally earned her well-deserved spot in the Hall of Fame.
While not a member of the LGBTQ community himself, Bernie Taupin has been a longstanding friend and songwriting partner to one of the most successful LGBTQ artists in history. His partnership with Elton John has produced some of the piano player’s most iconic hits, and his contributions to John’s catalog cannot be overstated.
It would not be surprising to see John in attendance at the induction ceremony later this year, speaking on behalf of his friend and collaborator.
Taupin and John share an Oscar for Best Original Song for their work on “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the film Rocketman, further solidifying the duo’s unparalleled partnership.
Kate Bush has been a longtime favorite of the LGBTQ community, even though she may have only recently gained a newfound widespread adoration from the general public and younger audiences thanks to the prominent feature of her single “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” in Stranger Things.
Aside from her unlikely windfall from the sci-fi series, Bush has been a beloved icon in the U.K. for decades. Despite her tendency to retreat from public life, her influence and impact on music cannot be ignored. This moment is especially significant for Bush, as she is seemingly more popular than ever, despite not having released a new album in over a decade.
Missy Elliott’s sexuality has been a subject of rumors for years, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how she identifies. Since she first broke into mainstream consciousness many more years ago than some would like to admit, she has been recognized for her quirky choices, her odd raps, and her immense talent and status as a beloved icon, especially within the LGBTQ community.
As one of the most successful women in rap music and the first female rapper to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Elliott’s place in the prestigious institution is well-deserved, even if she is not typically associated with rock music.
The Hall of Fame has evolved to include a wider range of musical genres, and Elliott’s inventive style, blending hip-hop with dance, pop, and other sounds, is a testament to her creative talent and a sign that rock influences so many other types of music.
Sheryl Crow may not identify as LGBTQ, but her music has always resonated deeply with the community.
With her unique blend of rocking singer-songwriter vibes, Crow dominated the music scene in the ’90s with hits like “All I Wanna Do,” “Strong Enough,” “If It Makes You Happy,” and “Everyday Is a Winding Road.”
Her impressive body of work has earned her a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year upon her first nomination.
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