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2012 Out100 cover: Jane Lynch
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Jane Lynch made us laugh as hopeful era of pop culture continued in 2012

Andrew Rannells, Boy George and Sharon Needles were also featured as Out100 cover stars that year.

President Barack Obama was reelected in 2012 for his second term, which meant that this era of hopeful and inclusive pop culture went ahead at full steam. From the release of "Let's Have a Kiki" by the Scissor Sisters," to Lana Wachowski's first public outings as a trans woman to promote Cloud Atlas, to the first-ever edition of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars on Logo TV, this year opened a lot of doors for the celebration and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in mainstream media. Fittingly, Andrew Rannells, Boy George, Jane Lynch, and Sharon Needles were the 2012 Out100 honorees featured as cover stars.

After originating the role of Elder Price on Broadway's The Book of Mormon in 2011, Andrew Rannells had a huge 2012, playing one of the lead gay characters on NBC's The New Normal, the hunky Manny in the Kirsten Dunst-starring comedy Bachelorette, and Hannah's queer ex-boyfriend from college on HBO's Girls. Rannells' career only skyrocketed since then, with subsequent acting credits in films such as The Intern, A Simple Favor, The Boys in the Band, The Prom, and Our Son; TV shows like Big Mouth, Girls5Eva, and Welcome to Chippendales; and theater work that includes Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hamilton, The Boys in the Band, and Tammy Faye.

Rannells started dating fellow actor Tuc Watkins before they were cast to play a couple in the Broadway revival of The Boys in the Band in 2018 — which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play the following year. Rannells and Watkins, who are still together, reprised their respective roles as Larry and Hank in the Netflix film adaptation of the play. As of 2024, Rannells is attached to various upcoming projects that include the sequel to A Simple Favor, the limited series Too Much, and the film Miss You, Love You alongside Allison Janney.

ANDREW RANNELLSANDREW RANNELLSwww.out.com

Boy George had a long legacy as the lead singer of Culture Club in the 1980s and launched his solo career by the end of that decade, which made him a clear honoree for the Out100. George, who maintained an androgynous aesthetic while fronting Culture Club and officially came out as a gay man in his 1995 autobiography Take It Like a Man, was a trailblazer for people in the LGBTQ+ community for several decades.

Over the years, George did face his fair share of controversies, such as an arrest in 2005 on suspicion of drug possession and reporting a false burglary, as well as prison time due to an assault and false imprisonment of a male escort in 2007. George spent the next few years performing in special events and releasing studio albums like 2010's Ordinary Alien and 2013's This Is What I Do. He also joined The Voice franchise in 2016 and became a mainstay coach for The Voice Australia between 2017 and 2020.

BOY GEORGEBOY GEORGEwww.out.com

Emmy Award-winning actress, singer, and comedian Jane Lynch was a breakout star in Christopher Guest films such as 2000's Best in Show, 2003's A Mighty Wind, and 2006's Consideration, as well as blockbuster comedies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Role Models. She then landed recurring roles on hit shows like Two and a Half Men and The L Word, and ultimately became the iconic Glee antagonist known as Sue Sylvester.

Lynch's place in the Out100 Hall of Fame was a given, and she's continued to be one of the hardest-working stars in all of Hollywood since making Out's annual list in 2012. Noteworthy credits include her standout characters on Manhunt, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Criminal Minds, Only Murders in the Building, The Good Fight, as well as a boundless list of voice acting roles. In recent years, Lynch has also received commercial and critical acclaim for hosting Hollywood Game Night and playing Mrs. Brice in the 2022 revival of Funny Girl on Broadway.

Jane LynchJane Lynchwww.out.com

Sharon Needles was honored in the 2012 Out100 after winning season 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race and redefining what fans could expect from the long-running drag competition series. Following a string of traditionally-polished and fashion-forward winners in the first three seasons of Drag Race, Needles broke boundaries, pushed the envelope, and connected to people in the LGBTQ+ community who also considered themselves "spooky" and "weirdos."

Needles released four studio albums over the years and was featured as one of the subjects in the 2019 documentary The Queens. In recent years, however, Drag Race fans and queens alike have held Needles accountable for her long-standing use of racist language and overall racist behavior toward people of color who have since spoken out. While Needles still works as a drag performer, her public image in 2024 is rather different from how she was perceived as an Out100 honoree in 2012.

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
Artists
Disruptors
Educators
Groundbreakers
Innovators
Storytellers

Bernardo Sim

Bernardo Sim is a writer, content creator, and the deputy editor of Out. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim is a writer, content creator, and the deputy editor of Out. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.