In April 2018, we present three powerful role models for the next generation of LGBTQ youth.

From varying backgrounds and experience, just by living openly and truthfully each one promotes a message of love and tolerance to their global audiences.

Taylor Miller for Gay Times

Gus Kenworthy made history after coming out in 2015 as the first out and proud action sports star. Now with a Sochi silver medal around his neck, the Olympic finalist has become a powerful role model to a new generation of queer youth, diversifying what an LGBTQ person can or can’t be and leading by example.

Speaking exclusively with Gay Times, Gus talks to us on the importance of representation, his close friendship with fellow olympian Adam Rippon, and his upcoming spot as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“I think it’s important for LGBTQ people to have visibility in all walks of life and sports in particular because it’s an area where we lack representation. I think there’s a fear of coming out because it’s so heteronormative and so heterosexually dominated, making it feel isolating and that you’re setting yourself up as an outcast.”

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Julian Burgueño for Gay Times

Love, Simon is the queer movie that we as a community have been fighting for. The first of its kind to be backed by a mainstream studio (20th Century Fox), the movie showcases and normalises a gay love story to the wider world.

Among the breakout stars of the film, Keiynan Lonsdale has emerged as a fierce talent to watch. Identifying as queer himself, he speaks to Love, Simon director Greg Berlanti in an exclusive Gay Times interview – touching on the importance of queer stories for a new generation, and his own coming out experience.

“I suppose if anything, I would identify as queer – that feels the most accurate. My sexuality used to be all I could think about, and now it barely crosses my mind, which is cool. I think in the future we will get to a place where we are just human and there are no made up rules for how or who we should love, but for now it’s amazing and crucial to have a community and words that represent the journey to rainbow freedom.”

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Nino Muñoz

Ricky Martin has long established himself as a true gay icon. Recently catapulted back into living rooms with his portrayal of Gianni Versace’s partner Antonio D’Amico in Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Ricky is again using his platform to diversify and broaden our understanding of love in the 21st century.

Now happily married with two children he lives a far less ‘vida loca’ than previously, but urges us not to forget the past and, in a Gay Times exclusive, reminds us just how important it is for younger audiences to know the story of Gianni Versace.

“What killed Gianni Versace was homophobia. It’s not the way he died, it’s the way it was allowed to happen. Back in the 90s – and we have to be careful because history tends to repeat itself – Gianni Versace was killed by a man that was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. This man was living in Miami but because he was a gay man killing other gay men, everybody turned the other way. That’s what infuriates me.”

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Elsewhere in the issue: Jeremy Corbyn on same-sex sex education reform; Munroe Bergdorf shares her favourite safe-spaces in London; Samuel Barnett on playing alongside Russell Tovey and advocating for change; Kyle Krieger on his battles with addiction; Fred Anderson on his journey to self-acceptance; the legacy of the Gay Liberation Front; the cast of Dreamgirls on the show’s close affinity with the queer community; Susanne Bartsch on her four-decade reign as the Queen of NYC Nightlife; plus fashion, music, film, travel and much MUCH more.

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