If there was ever a time to be out now is that time as more celebrities are wearing the title of being gay, bisexual and lesbian proudly. People come and people go, and this—our league table of America’s most influential gay men and women—reflects an awful lot of coming and going since it debuted in 2007.
Although Ellen DeGeneres finds herself back in pole position, many names have fallen or dropped out altogether (au revoir Rosie), while others have rocketed up (Rich Ross, Tom Ford) as their successes warrant. And then there are those we never saw coming, such as one Adam Lambert, whose attention-grabbing run on American Idol was largely interpreted as a referendum on tolerance.
Not everyone has to be a Lambert fan to appreciate the power of his position to influence our cultural and social attitudes for the better—one of several factors taken into consideration when compiling this list. The others are political clout, individual wealth, and a person’s media profile. And as always, new entries are marked with a star, with arrows indicating changes from last year’s rank.
These are the most powerful Out and influential gay and lesbians on the planet.