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The Pet Shop Boys closed out the millennium on the Out100 in 1999
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The Pet Shop Boys closed out the millennium on the Out100 in 1999

1999 wasn't just a year of visibility, but also one of progress, laying the groundwork for future generations of LGBTQ+ media.

The Pet Shop Boys released their seventh studio album, Nightlife in October 1999. The album featured a mix of dance-pop and electronic tracks, including singles like "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Anymore" and "New York City Boy." Nightlife received rave reviews from critics and solidified the duo's reputation for creating innovative pop music. Besides their own music, the Pet Shop Boys were also involved in collaborations and side projects in 1999. They worked with artists like David Bowie and Robbie Williams, creating remixes and producing songs.

The duo continues to make strides in music today, still creating and producing music of all sorts. They debuted their newest album Nonetheless in the spring of 2024, and are gearing up for a summer of performances including Dreamworld.

In 1999, LGBTQ+ media reached a future changing moment, marking a year of cultural shifts that would shape queer representation for years to come. The year saw the release of Boys Don't Cry, a powerful film based on the true story of Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was tragically murdered. Hilary Swank's portrayal earned her an Academy Award, bringing widespread attention to transgender issues and sparking important conversations around trans visibility.

Cult classics such as But I'm A Cheerleader took a separate approach to raising awareness during 1999. The film addresses LGBTQ+ themes, particularly the experience of conversion therapy. The film's main character Megan Bloomfield, played by Natasha Lyonne, is a teenage cheerleader who is sent to a conversion therapy camp after her parents suspect she is a lesbian. Megan struggles with her sexual identity throughout the film and eventually embraces her lesbianism. But I'm A Cheerleader shed a light on the insanity and absurdity that is conversion therapy, all while becoming a cult classic in the process.

On television, Will & Grace continued to break the air waves as one of the first mainstream sitcoms to feature openly gay lead characters. The show’s charm combined with its portrayal of gay life, made it a beloved series that challenged stereotypes. The series also garnered 6 GLAAD awards for best comedy series, 83 Emmy nominations, and 18 Emmy wins. All four of the show's leads had taken home an Emmy for their performance on the show. Additionally, Queer as Folk, a British series debuted in 1999, offering a look at the lives of gay men in Manchester. Its raw and honest storytelling provided an unfiltered look into the lives of queer people.

Music also saw influential moments, with artists like Melissa Etheridge and k.d. lang continuing to break barriers, while the rise of queer pop stars like Ricky Martin began to challenge norms of the music industry.

1999 was not just a year of visibility but also one of progress, laying the groundwork for future generations of LGBTQ+ media. The stories told and the characters brought to life during this time helped pave the way for LGBTQ+ stories to thrive in the public eye.

See All 2023's Most Impactful and Influential LGBTQ+ People
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Step into the Out100 Vault & celebrate 30 years of history-making LGBTQ+ folks!
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Step into the Out100 Vault & celebrate 30 years of history-making LGBTQ+ folks!

It's been 30 years since the annual Out100 list started highlighting the best and brightest of the community. To honor that milestone, let's take a look back at the many LGBTQ+ people who have changed the world.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Out100, Out’s storied annual list of LGBTQ+ people who have changed culture — and the world.

In celebration of this milestone, we are so proud to launch the official Out100 Vault, which highlights the Out100 covers from our archive as well as fresh essays and insights from past honorees.

The preservation of the LGBTQ+ past has never been more important, as the recent right-wing attempts at queer book bans and censorship demonstrate. For over three decades, Out has fought against mainstream erasure, telling the stories of the artists, warriors, and changemakers who made our history and our movement. Looking to the future, we hope you find inspiration from them in the ongoing fight for visibility and equality.

And if you, or someone you know, deserve to be on this list, please let us know through the Reader’s Choice submission page. Your stories and accomplishments need to be heard, and Out as always is here to tell them.

Sincerely,


Daniel Reynolds

Editor in chief, Out Magazine

Raffy Ermac

Editor in chief, Out.com

See All 2023's Most Impactful and Influential LGBTQ+ People
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Disruptors
Educators
Groundbreakers
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Storytellers

Gabriella Angelina

Gabriella Angelina is an entertainment journalist with a unique perspective on the world of TV and film. With a motto of "Don't watch me, watch TV," she has become known for her insightful and often humorous critiques of the latest in entertainment.

Follow her on TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.

Gabriella Angelina is an entertainment journalist with a unique perspective on the world of TV and film. With a motto of "Don't watch me, watch TV," she has become known for her insightful and often humorous critiques of the latest in entertainment.

Follow her on TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.