Music's greatest gay icon: George Michael or Melissa Etheridge?
via AP

Music's greatest gay icon: George Michael or Melissa Etheridge?

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George Michael and Melissa Etheridge are both groundbreaking gay icons who both came out in the '90s. Michael's "Freedom! 90" is rumored to be his low-key coming out celebration and his message of self-liberation. Melissa came out in early 1993, pushing her next single "Come to My Window" and LGBTQ-friendly personality into mainstream popularity. Who is music’s greatest gay icon? 🎤🎸

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#LoveGeorge
74.8%
#LoveEtheridge
25.2%

For the past several decades—LGBTQ and women music artists have openly declared their "true colors,” supported gay rights, empowered LGBTQ communities, and gave the gurls some of the most iconic gay anthems of all time. There is no better way to celebrate Pride Month than to honor the popular music artists who have influenced LGBTQ movements by ultimately picking which of them is the greatest gay music icon of all time.

In our second round, it's Judy Garland versus Diana Ross, Elton John versus Cher, George Michael versus Melissa Etheridge, RuPaul versus Lady Gaga. Who's the greatest gay icon?

Don't forget to cast your vote for the rest our “greatest gay icon" debates below!

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While George Michael wasn't out as a gay man at the height of his success, his coming out was both groundbreaking and controversial in the late '90s. He paved the way for other queer artists to be open about their sexuality. Though he was at his peak in the late '80s and early '90s, his success continued after his coming out and he quickly became one of music's greatest gay icons.

Below are some significant lyrics to his self-declaration pride anthem that is "Freedom! '90," per Genius.

🎶All we have to do now is take these lies and make them true somehow. All we have to see is that I don't belong to you. And you don't belong to me. Freedom. I won't let you down, freedom. I will not give you up, freedom. Gotta have some faith in the sound. You got to give what you take. It's the one good thing that I've got, freedom. I won't let you down, freedom. So please don't give me up, freedom. Cause I would really, really love to stick around.🎶

Watch the iconic music video below.

Melissa was, technically, not in the closet when she came out as a lesbian in early 1993. Her sexuality wasn't really known in the late '80s, but her sexual orientation was always part of her music. She performed in lesbian bars and even submitted a demo to Olivia Records, a lesbian record label in the mid-80s. Though she was rejected, she still became a rockstar, and it was no easy feat becoming a groundbreaking lesbian rockstar.

After she came out, her popularity increased when "Come to My Window" started playing in heavy rotation and ultimately adopted as a gay anthem. Because of the song's significance to LGBTQ people and the success and acclaim of the single, Melissa won Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the Grammys in 1995.

Below are some notable lyrics to "Come to My Window," per Genius.

🎶Come to my window. Crawl inside. Wait by the light of the moon. Come to my window. I'll be home soon.🎶

Watch the music video below featuring a young Juliette Lewis.

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