SLIDESHOW: The Out100 Covers
In our yearly portfolio, we capture this year's most entertaining, heroic, and intriguing figures, from all walks of life--including chefs, Obama staffers, a legendary painter, emerging musicians, and even a professional poker player. Our four collectible covers for the 2012 Out100 are no less inspiring.
Funny lady Jane Lynchhas been one of our favorite actresses for years. But it's been her unforgettable role as Sue Sylvester on Glee that has clenched her as the Entertainer of the Year. As she explains her comedic career: "The difference between people like me and Amy Poehler and Tina Fey [is] there's kind of an entitlement that they have to their right to have a seat at the table. They're out there saying, 'This is what I do, and this is why it's funny. And if you don't like it, you don't like it.' But it looks like everybody likes it."
Music icon Boy George has entertained millions for decades. But he has also been mired in controversy in the tabloids for nearly as long. Now his path of self-discovery has led to a more satisfied place in his life. "As I've traveled around the world to places that wouldn't let me in
back in the day, like Argentina or Russia, one of the things I've been struck by is the number of people who've said, 'You're the reason I came out,' " he says. "In the past I might have taken that a bit lightly, and now I feel that it's a real responsibility. What I've realized is that the world hasn't changed -- there are still lots of places where people are having a really, really hard time because of their sexuality, and I think one of the most important things I can do is be a self-respecting gay public figure."
After capping 2011 with a Tony nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for the Broadway blockbuster The Book of Mormon, Andrew Rannells has now transitioned to TV in The New Normal. "I feel very proud to be a part of The New Normal," Rannells says. "I hope that it's considered to be a part of the evolution of gay relationships on television. Coming from Nebraska, it's exciting to me that people I went to grade school with, people that I grew up going to church with, are watching the show." Are we going to be seeing more of Mr. Rannells? We bet.
Who said drag queens can't push boundaries any more? Since beating out her reality TV competition in RuPaul's Drag Race, Sharon Needles has become the drag queen equivalent of a household name, toured the country, made her stage debut, purchased her own hearse, and cut an album, set to be released in early 2013. But she's aware of how fleeting all this can be.
"Nothing lasts forever," says Needles. "Drag Race isn't just a competition I took part in, it's also my favorite television show of all time, so I'm looking forward to sitting in my easy chair and watching the tears, the fashion, and the cat fights."
Visit the Out100 2012 hub page for a complete list of this year's honorees.
SLIDESHOW: View the entire portfolio of images
PHOTOGRAPHY BY M. SHARKEY