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A gay icon is a historical figure, celebrity or public figure who is embraced by many within lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities; Dykon, a portmanteau of "dyke" and "icon," has recently entered the lexicon to describe lesbian icons.
Qualities of a gay icon often include glamour, flamboyance, strength through adversity, and androgyny. Such icons may be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transgendered; they may also be closeted or open with their sexual orientation and gender identity. Although most gay icons have given their support to LGBT social movements, some have expressed opposition, advocating against a perceived homosexual agenda.
Historical icons are typically elevated to such status because their sexual orientation remains a topic of great debate among historians. Modern gay icons, who are predominantly female entertainers, typically garner a large following within LGBT communities over the course of their careers. The majority of gay icons fall into one of two categories: the tragic, sometimes suicidal figure or the prominent pop culture idol.
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