You have likely watched Laverne Cox on "Orange is the New Black," and you've probably heard a Sam Smith song or two, but here are 11 lesser-known LGBTQ entertainers to put on your radar.
Parson James left South Carolina at 17 for New York City, choosing to exchange his conservative hometown for the Big Apple’s possibilities. After signing with RCA, he collaborated with Kygo on the hit single “Stole The Show.” The singer channeled his experience as a gay man into his EP “Temple.”
Hip hop artist Mykki Blanco, who is also a poet and performance artist, is known for his music and vibrant style, but it was a string of tweets that pushed Blanco front and center. Twitter was set ablaze when the artist took LGBTQ media to task for frequently choosing cisgender, Caucasian men for magazine covers.
Adore Delano is a Mexican-American drag queen and singer. While the entertainer started out as a contestant on the seventh season of “American Idol” (using his real name, Danny Noriega), it was a stint on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” that took Delano’s career to the next level. You can catch her on the upcoming second season of "RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race."
Mya Taylor was one of the stars of last year’s critical darling, “Tangerine.” The actress and her co-star, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, became the first trans actresses to be supported by a film producer for their Academy Award campaigns. While neither won, Taylor did win Best Supporting Actress at the 31st Film Independent Spirit Awards. The actress will next be seen playing Marsha P. Johnson in the short film, “Happy Birthday, Marsha!”
Who Is Fancy
Who is Fancy, whose real name is Jake Hagood, started his career in secrecy when he released his debut single “Goodbye." After following up with a viral music video, the artist revealed himself during an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Fancy later teamed up with Ariana Grande and Meghan Trainor for single “Boys Like You.”
Some may know Lena Waithe for her role on Netflix’s “Master of None,” but only because most of her work has been behind the camera. She was a staff writer on “Bones” and served as a producer on last year’s “Dear White People.” In addition to returning for the second season of "Master of None," Waithe has teamed up with Common for a Showtime drama set in Chicago.
Desiree Akhavan is an Iranian-American director who is best known for her film “Appropriate Behaviour.” Like Akhavan, her character in the film is bisexual. Akhavan has appeared on HBO’s “Girls” and the dark comedy series “Flowers.”
Cameron Esposito is an American comedian known for her stand-up acts, which revolve around her lesbian identity and other LGBTQ topics. Her recent roles include parts in the film “Operator” and on the comedy series “Maron.” She is also developing a comedy series based on her life with “You’re the Worst” creator Stephen Falk.
The African-American actor has discussed coming out in Hollywood and has helped LGBTQ youth in the past. Domingo has appeared on Logo’s “The Big Gay Sketch Show” and in films including “The Butler,” “Selma” and “Lincoln.” The actor, who is currently a series regular on AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead,” will next be seen next in the film “The Birth of a Nation.”
Ryan O'Connell is a blogger who got his start writing for the MTV series “Awkward.” O'Connell, who has cerebral palsy, wrote a book titled “I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves.” Actor Jim Parsons and Warner Bros TV optioned the book, and they are developing a half-hour sitcom based on the story. If the series is optioned, O’Connell will serve as executive producer.
Big Freedia is a rapper known for raising the profile of the New Orleans hip hop genre known as "Bounce." The rapper, who has been honored by GLAAD in the past, was recently seen in Beyonce's “Formation" music video. “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce,” the reality show based on her life, returned for its fifth season on Fuse earlier this month.