The Advocate’s Top 20 Most Googled Gays Analyzed

The Advocate released their 2011’s Most Googled Gays and Lesbians on Monday. Ranking things by how much they’re Googled is awesome because it’s sort of like a bizarro-land popularity contest of curiosity. I particularly appreciated their color blocking number photos.

20. Zachary Quinto
19. Suze Orman
18. RuPaul
17. Portia De Rossi
16. Jane Lynch
15. Nate Berkus
14. Chris Colfer
13. Jillian Michaels
12. Tom Ford
11. Rachel Maddow


10. Dan Choi
9. Alexander McQueen
8. Neil Patrick Harris
7. George Michael
6. Ellen DeGeneres
5. Adam Lambert
4. Marc Jacobs
3. Perez Hilton
2. Elton John
1. Ricky Martin

Newcomers not appearing in 2009’s list were Zachary Quinto, Suze Orman, Nate Berkus and Jillian Michaels. It’s pretty clear that Quinto’s new to the list due to his previous non-outness. As for the others, it varies. Orman’s rise was perhaps do to the March 2011 release of her new book, The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream. Michaels is even less clear. I think maybe after she left the Biggest Loser in 2010, everyone who didn’t hear about it went to Google her when the new season came on?

Topping the list were Perez Hilton, Elton John and Ricky Martin. Perez Hilton dropped from first last year and Elton moved up from fourth. I thought Ricky Martin’s move from fifth to first was fascinating in light of his coming out actually having occurred back in March 2010. “What could have happened?” I thought. “Did I miss a hilarious video of Ricky Martin confronting Michele Bachmann?” Then I realized I’m a giant self centered idiot. Martin put out his first album since 2005, Música + alma + sexo. To everyone who listens to Latin music this is a big fucking deal. It went number one all over the place. Ricky Martin was likely Googled like crazy as people looked for CD and concert tickets.

Another hilarious point of the Advocate’s list was George Michael. As Riese said, “Who Googles George Michael is what I wanna know, it’s not 1992.” I was highly suspicious that the Google numbers have been upped by Arrested Development and the upcoming movie. But then I did some deeply serious investigative research and discovered that George Michael was actually hospitalized and had to cancel his European tour making everyone in Europe cry.

In addition to the celebrities the Advocate came up with, I thought of a few more Googleable queermos who might make the list. Using the handy-dandy Google Trends I mapped out their Google frequency. I’ve displayed them below in terms of Rachel Maddow’s Google numbers. The unit will henceforth be referred to as “One Maddow.”

I wanted to add Lady Gaga to the graph above, but she just didn’t fit.


I think what’s so fascinating about the Advocate’s list is how it shows us the intersection of social progression and technological progression. Whether celebrities are Googled because they have an enormous fan base or because they just came out of the closet or because someone thinks they’re awful and corrupting children, we now have a way to track not just what people like or what people buy, but what people are just thinking about. Ten years ago a list of the Top 20 Most Googled Gays wouldn’t have just been impossible, it would have been unimaginable. And now we have The Maddow! If that’s not progress, then I didn’t just make a series of graphs using only an MSNBC commentator’s face.

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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. I love that Ricky Martin got googled a lot because of his music, not his gayness. Same same with George Michael.

    Also, the Arrested Development/George Michael comment. Also, the Maddow.

  2. “11th on the list, 1st in my heart.”
    The most perfect way to describe my relationship with Rachel Maddow.

  3. RACHEL! I watch every episode of her show, and quote her frequently when I’m debating at tournaments. I swear I mention her name and the judge instantly knows I have won the debate. Such fun.

  4. Also I think the googling of Jillian Michaels’ is because earlier this year she said that she said this: “I’m going to adopt. I can’t handle doing that to my body. Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.” which was misquoted as her saying she “wouldn’t do that to my body” in regards to her leaving the Biggest Loser for the family life.

    But it turns out that she has endometriosis and polycystic ovaries so trying to get pregnant could be a very trying and painful ordeal for her.

    But yeah that was a big thing that was going on.

    • I nearly had a heat attack! When I was coming out I played “Freedom 90” like it was going out of business. I am pretty confident to say it is one of my favorite songs….in my young life.

      • Oh my god yes I love that song! I totally just listen to it on repeat when I’m feeling down or in need of some George Michael oomph. :B

  5. Do you think we can make anything of the fact that there are 14 men on that list, and only 6 women? I don’t want to go all “BLAME IT ON THE PATRIARCHY!” here, but somehow I wasn’t surprised by that statistic.

    If I were to make a broad, completely unscientific guess, I’d say that gay men are just more accepted as a whole than gay women, and as such, there are more big popular gay male celebrities out there. Anyone else want to speculate?

    • Yes. Also straight women care about gay men but straight men don’t care about gay women unless they’re porn stars.

      • Straight woman also don’t care much about lesbians either which is also a factor. I don’t know that it’s because gay men are more accepted than lesbians. I doubt that since most anti-gay politicians focus most of their ire towards gay men than they do lesbians.

        What I think the biggest thing is that their just aren’t as many out lesbians in Hollywood as their are gay men. Certainly not as many in high profile projects that everybody knows and not just the LGBT community. I mean everybody knows who Jane Lynch, Rosie, and Ellen are. But does the average straight person know who Linda Perry, Jill Bennett, or Leisha Hailey is?

          • greater visibility is probably rooted in preference for one kind of gay over the other.

            and i think gay men aren’t really more accepted so much as more fetishized and desexualized, making them safe. charactarizations like will truman and the pocket gay friend (or whatever the fuck that is) are dehumanized and funny, therefore non-threatening. those stereotypes can be extended to gay celebrities for the same effect. the same stereotypes don’t really exist around lesbians. female masculinity is far more threatening to patriarchy than (minority) male femininity and more difficult to neutralize.

          • I could be wrong, but in light of the whole Glee debacle and the fact that Netflix seems to have 10 gay man movies for every 1 lesbian movie available (this isn’t a real statistic, but it might not be that far off), and a few other annoyances, I always feel like the media is more gay man friendly. I think EVERYONE seems to think that lesbians are more accepted than gay men because straight guys think it’s hot. As a result of this, if a movie or tv show or whatever is trying to make a point about homosexuality as a whole, they tend to use gay men as the more suppressed minority. In real life, this might be true (I wouldn’t doubt that there are more violent attacks on gay men than lesbians), but in media life, it seems to equate to unequal representation.

            Or it could just be that gay men are more likely to be involved in the arts. Or perhaps it’s a comment on patriarchy as whole that goes into the fact that the percentage of women directors vs. male directors hovers around 10%… I don’t really know, I have no answers I guess, just a lot of irritation.

    • Think lesbians still suffer somewhat from Victorian era invisibility… just not really on people’s radar?

      Maybe the patriarchy still just doesn’t want to alert women to the fact that the possibility exists, haha?

      New Year’s 2012 resolution: to google more lesbians, more often! ; )

  6. When I first read George Michael, my mind immediately went Arrested Development. My reaction was, “wait, he’s gay? I thought he was in love with his cousin.” Then it dawned on me.

    Intelligence. I has it.

  7. George Michael is a HUGE international star; the 1992 comment (besides being off by five years) was the kind of snark that is neither helpful nor funny.

    The author didn’t question Elton John (who had a child), but he questioned George, who had a sold-out tour across Europe, released two singles and was then hospitalized (and went home just yesterday), forcing him to cancel all remaining shows.

    More than just a slap across George’s face, it also shows how out-of-the-loop the writer is.


    • It is a rather America-centric list, though I wonder if the numbers differ according to which Google you use (.com,, etc etc). I’d imagine an Australian list would more prominently have Darren Hayes since he has a new album out this year.

  8. I was going to complain about why Amber Heard isn’t on the Advocate’s list, but then I remembered she’s not gay. I also remember something else that makes me feel awkward. I’ve never seen an episode of the “Rachel Maddow Show” and I didn’t know until today what channel it’s on. **hides in corner** This feels like the time I told a group of lesbians online that I’ve never listened to Tegan and Sara. The shock they displayed with their emoticons . . .

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