Jack’d announced Friday that its members voted Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams as the top new gay icon for 2014. The nomination is the first in a series of announcements resulting from a user poll that surveyed the global Jack’d community on attitudes about gay pride and LGBT celebrities who inspired them most in 2014. With over five million members, 80 percent of whom are between 18 and 30 years old, the results are considered a reflection of young gay men’s dispositions toward gay pride and the traditional icons of the gay community.
Respondents were also given a chance to vote on which gay icons of the past are ready to be retired. Members voted Judy Garland and daughter Liza Minnelli, as well as Funny Girl Barbra Streisand, as least relevant to today’s young gay men.
“With Pride season now upon us, we thought it was important to understand what inspires our community in 2014,” said Jack’d CEO Adam Segel. “It appears that in 2014, the pantheon of gay icons is changing just as rapidly as the culture at large. It’s great to see that Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, is a source of pride for so many young gay men.”
In addition to naming Michael Sam their top new gay icon, Jack’d members also voted him the greatest source of LGBT community pride in 2014. Sam recently captured media attention when he kissed and embraced his boyfriend live on ESPN after he was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft. This event marked Sam as the first publicly gay player to be drafted by the league and stirred up major controversy within the NFL community, polarizing both fans and players.
Second place for top new gay icon for 2014 is Frank Ocean, the R&B artist who came out as gay in 2012 and then won two Grammy awards the following year.
Barack Obama and Iggy Azalea tied for third place in the top new gay icon category. Younger Jack’d members (18 to 25 years old) went for Azalea, a bisexual female rapper whose debut album The New Classic hit the top of the charts in April of this year, while the older set (30-plus) voted for Obama.