American artist, writer and musician
The trans son of pop diva Cher, Chaz made an award-winning documentary about his gender transition and helped promote transgender visibility in the US with his appearance on last year's Dancing with the Stars.
American CEO, Apple
Steve Jobs's successor is probably the most powerful gay business figure in the world and has steered the company towards ever greater profitability.
The CNN news anchor came out earlier this year. "The tide of history only moves forward when everyone is fully visible," he said.
Puerto Rican boxer
Last month, the 31-year-old became the first boxer to publicly declare himself gay. He said: "I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career."
American pop star
The fabulous disco-punk diva continues to inspire. This year, she has released a fifth album and a frank autobiography, Coal to Diamonds: A Memoir.
Jamaican dancehall musician
The reggae-fusion singer-songwriter came out as lesbian in June this year — an especially courageous act given dancehall culture's endemic homophobia. She wrote on Facebook: "I am... woman... mother... aunt... Jamaican... American... international artiste... singer... songwriter... band leader... friend... lover... entrepreneur... goddess! among other things and yes!!!… I am a lesbian."
The young R&B crooner made headlines the world over when he released an open letter about falling in love with a man on his Tumblr account. His subsequent debut album Channel Orange proved every bit as beautiful.
Mugisha is the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda and continues fearlessly to lead the fight for gay rights in the African country after the murder of fellow campaigner David Kato in 2011.
Icelandic Prime Minister
Recently announced she will retire from politics next year after three years at the top, but she has sealed her place in history as the world's first openly gay head of state.
US film director, screenwriter, producer
The co-director of The Matrix and the upcoming Cloud Atlas alongside her brother, Andy, is Hollywood's most prominent trans woman. Her profound, funny and moving speech at a recent awards ceremony drew widespread acclaim.