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A triptych of Ronan Farrow, Young M.A, and Nicolas Ghesquiere.

Welcome to the 2019 Out100

This year's list honors the queer and trans people who are changing the game—and those we've lost.

Dear Reader,

The Out100 is our magazine's greatest and most well-known tradition: a prestigious compilation of the year's most impactful and influential LGBTQ+ people. For quite some time, I've found it an absolute treasure trove of discovery--a mix of the celebrities we all know and call our own with the activists and community leaders who are pushing our agenda forward.

This year, of course, is no different. Hopefully you've seen by now one of six special covers we've produced, featuring a stunning roster of incredible talent.

Many of our cover stars are each doing their part to advance the limits of representation and push (sometimes, quite hard) against the boundaries of respectability.Jeremy O. Harris, the creator and writer of Slave Play, which bowed on Broadway this year, has become the golden child of the fashion and media worlds, all while embracing his role as the enfant terrible of the theatre. Our senior editor Mikelle Street compiled an oral tradition of the show's "Blackout Night," where the audience consisted entirely of people of color--an anomaly for the (aptly named) "Great White Way."

And then there's the brilliant metamorphosis of multiple Grammy-award winner Sam Smith. Sam's personal evolution has been, they reveal, long in the making, and in this photo spread by Terry Tsiolis, they finally got to play with both clothes and makeup that--much like them--blur the lines of gender.

But beyond the boldfaced names, there are so many people to celebrate in this portfolio, including the trans people fighting for our rights at the Supreme Court to the organizers of this year's Queer March, who reminded us all about the true origins of Pride. Over the course of one week, our team will be publishing stories to this website honoring the many individuals who makeup the Out100--and we'll be adding them here for your viewing ease.

No matter what, though, I hope you look at this list and only realize how vast our community is, and how far-reaching our talents and contributions are. There are so many people who deserve to be held within these pages, and every time we publish this magazine, I can't help thinking how we've fallen short and will do better next time. Numbered lists, like these, may be great for celebration, but they always raise questions about who's not present, who can't be visible, or who's no longer with us. With that said, I hope the Out100, with this expansive tribute to so many wonderful and deserving queer folks, is just a starting point.

In 2020, may we all make it a resolution to uplift and celebrate one another, regardless of whether or not magazines or Hollywood or scores of Instagram followers call us special. Next year, we will need community more than ever--so let's start embracing each other now.

Thanks for reading, and have a Happy New Year.


THE 2019 OUT100:

The Covers

Evolution of the Year: Sam Smith
Showman of the Year: Jeremy O. Harris
Rapper of the Year: Young M.A
Journalist of the Year: Ronan Farrow
Designer of the Year:Nicolas Ghesquiere
Introducing: The Trans Obituaries Project

Culture and Entertainment

Film, TV, and more: From Pabllo Vittar and Dan Levy to Ts Madison and Crissles
Party of the Year: Papi Juice
Drag Queens of the Year: Trixie Mattel, Sasha Velour, Shangela
Showgirl of the Year: Charlene Incarnate
Breakout of the Year: Bowen Yang

Fashion and Beauty

Fashion Designers of the Year: from Miss Fame and Sir John to Tokyo Stylez and Drew Elliott
Beauty Figures of the Year: Prabal Gurung, Christopher John Rogers, Stefano Pilati
Models of the Year: Aaron Philip and Teddy Quinlivan


YouTube Creators of the Year: Lilly Singh and Carlos Maza

HIV Activists of the Year: Gareth Thomas, Dr. Steven Thrasher, and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis + Dr. Oni Blackstock

Contributors of the Year: ALOK, Tourmaline, JP Brammer, Kimberly Drew

Advocates Who Took on the White House: Aimee Stephens, Chase Strangio, Gavin Grimm

Advocates Who Fought Against HIV/AIDS: Gareth Thomas, Dr. Steven Thrasher, Drs. Demetre Daskalaskis and Oni Blackstock.

Leanne Pittsford of Lesbians Who Tech

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Ryan Pfluger
9 Breathtaking Portraits of Interracial LGBTQ+ Lovers by Ryan Pfluger
Ryan Pfluger

9 Breathtaking Portraits of Interracial LGBTQ+ Lovers by Ryan Pfluger

In their new book of LGBTQ+ couple’s portraiture Holding Space, Ryan Pfluger lets love guide the lens.

Ryan Pfluger

“I exist at the intersection of marginalization and privilege. I am queer — I am nonbinary — but I’m also white. Grappling with how to handle that as an artist — for my work to investigate a nuanced and complicated space — has been a long journey,” begins photographer Ryan Pfluger (he/they) in his introduction to Holding Space: Life and Love Through a Queer Lens, a revelatory new book of portraiture centering interracial LGBTQ+ couples.

In Holding Space, the meaning of the introduction is layered. The reader learns of the intent of Pfluger’s project — to explore intersectionality through photography of these subjects. But it’s also an introduction to Pfluger, who reveals that his career choice was influenced by an upbringing where he felt powerless. “My father a drug addict, mother an alcoholic. I was outed by my mother at 13 — an age when I didn’t even know what that meant for me. Control became an abstract concept that I was never privy to,” Pfluger shares.

“The driving force to be behind the lens though, was my instinctual desire for people to feel seen, thoughtfully and lovingly,” they add. “From my own experiences and of those I love, I know how damaging being seen through the eyes of judgment, racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and so on can be.”

Gaining control — guiding the lens and the narrative — was an early driving force behind his work. (A renowned celebrity photographer, Pfluger will be known to Out readers for their 2015 Out100 portraits, which included Barack Obama and Caitlyn Jenner.) As photography became “less of a craft and more a part of my being,” however, “I discovered my gift to create art also held space for others—that relinquishing the control I had so desperately craved can be more powerful than possessing it,” Pfluger says. “Photography became a vessel of healing.”

To heal, hold space, and explore intersectionality in a way not seen before through their medium, Pfluger set out to photograph interracial LGBTQ+ couples within their social circle. This time, he did indeed relinquish control and let his subjects tell their story. They could choose the setting and their style of dress or undress. The only requirement was that they touch one another in some fashion.

By the project’s conclusion — “two cross-country trips, over a thousand rolls of film, and sixteen months later” — Pfluger had documented over 120 couples, many of whom were recruited through social media and the internet. Some had broken up over that time period and pulled out of the project. Others wanted to share their heartache. Their stories, in first person, accompany their portraits, which launch Holding Space from the genre of photography book to a work of nonfiction, a chronicle of queer love in the 21st century.

“That is the beauty of relinquishing control,” Pfluger concludes. “Allowing the space for things to evolve and change — for marginalized people to have control over their narratives regardless of my intentions. To listen and learn. That is why Holding Space exists.”

Over 70 portraits and accompanying essays are featured in Holding Space, published by Princeton Architectural Press. The book also boasts excerpts from luminaries like Elliot Page, Bowen Yang, Ryan O’Connell, and Jamie Lee Curtis, and a foreword by director Janicza Bravo. Find a copy at, and see a selection of photography below.

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Akeem (he/him) & Samuel (he/him)

Ryan Pfluger

“Despite our different desires, truths, and fears, there was a unique familiarity that made space for us to better understand each other.” — Akeem

“We challenged the system when we decided to be together, and we’re challenging it again by staying in each other’s lives and preserving the bridges we’ve built." — Samuel

Liz (she/her) & Carlena (she/her)

Ryan Pfluger

“Each and every day I am humbled by the intersectionality of our love. By the way our individual ethnicities, races, upbringings, and queer identities guide us toward an even deeper understanding of self and other.” — Carlena

“My hope is that by continuing to love one another openly and fearlessly, future generations will be inspired to also love without any bounds.” — Liz

Chris (he/him) & Joe (he/him)

Ryan Pfluger

“We are proud to be one of the few queer interracial couples within our immediate or extended family/friend circles, which has encouraged us to speak to our experiences and help others learn alongside us.” — Joe

Jobel (he/him) & Joey (he/they)

Ryan Pfluger

“The beauty that we are coming to experience in owning our sexuality is that we can define what it means for us and how we want to experience it.” — Jobel

Luke (he/him) & Brandon (he/him)

“Our differences are a plenty, but this love does not bend.” — Luke & Brandon

David (he/him) & Michael (he/him)

Ryan Pfluger

“We started our relationship at the height of the pandemic, and it was amazing to be able to run to Michael and feel safe in his arms.” — David

Milo (he/him) & Legacy (he/they)

Ryan Pflguer

“Queer relationships aren’t tied to the limited, binary expectations that typically define heterosexual relationships.” — Milo

“Creating more healthy space in our friendship has been peaceful for us. I feel we are embracing a new form of love.” — Legacy

Coyote (he/they) & Tee (she/they)

Ryan Pflguer

“Loving you feels instinctual, like a habit I was born with. It feels like I was born to love you.” — Tee

“I can feel you loving something deeper than the surface of me and it makes me feel so alive.” — Coyote

Jo (they/them) & Zac (they/them)

Ryan Pfluger

“What can I say other than it is incredibly life-affirming when Jo and I are able to achieve the level of coordination needed to experience the sensation of ‘them,’ and that it helps when I say, ‘I love them’ or ‘I trust them.’” — Zac

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Phillip Picardi