2019 Icons

  1. Ethel Allen
  2. Kwame Anthony Appiah
  3. Gladys Bentley
  4. Jackie Biskupski
  5. Kate Bornstein
  6. Ana Brnabić
  7. Pete Buttigieg
  8. Eliza Byard
  9. Brandi Carlile
  10. George Chauncey
  11. Lou Chibbaro Jr.
  12. Sharice Davids
  13. Babe Didrickson
  14. Cheryl Dunye
  15. Lillian Faderman
  16. Ronan Farrow
  17. Jewelle Gomez
  18. Emma González
  19. Sherenté Harris
  20. Rock Hudson
  21. Robert Indiana
  22. James Ivory
  23. Anne Lister
  24. Arthur Mitchell
  25. Julia Morgan
  26. Anaraa Nyamdorj
  27. Jared Polis
  28. Angela Ponce
  29. Keshav Suri
  30. Lillian Wald
  31. Edith Wharton

Dusty Springfield


b. April 16, 1939
d. March 2, 1999

“My sexuality has never been a problem to me, but I think it has been for other people.”

Dusty Springfield was an English singer and record producer best known for her sultry, soulful sound. Born Mary Isobel Bernadette O’Brien in London (she got the nickname Dusty for playing football with the boys), Springfield was one of the most successful British female performers in history, with six top 20 singles in the United States and 16 in Europe. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the U.K. Music Hall of Fame.

In 1958 Springfield joined her first singing group, The Lana Sisters, later forming The Springfields with her brother. She first received attention for her hit “I Only Want to Be With You,” and later with a string of solo songs like “Wishin’ and Hopin’” and “Son of a Preacher Man.”

Springfield received acclaim in 1969 when she released “Dusty in Memphis,” an album that was awarded a prestigious spot in the Grammy Hall of Fame. She also became known for her blonde bouffant, heavy makeup and colorful evening gowns—a style emblematic of the Swinging Sixties. 

Springfield spent many years out of the public eye, reappearing in 1987 to collaborate with the Pet Shop Boys on “What Have I Done to Deserve This,” which topped both the U.S. and U.K. music charts. By the 1990s, Springfield’s music was experiencing a renaissance, appearing on several film soundtracks, including “Pulp Fiction.”

During the late 1960s and early ’70s, Springfield was romantically linked to Norma Tanega, a California-born singer-songwriter who wrote a few of Springfield’s songs such as “Go My Love.” During an interview in 1970, Springfield said, “People say that I’m gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. I’m not anything.” 

She was linked to many women during her life, including photojournalist Faye Harris and singer Carole Pope. In 1982 she married actress Teda Bracci, whom she met at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Though the wedding wasn’t legally 

recognized, they lived together for two years. 

Later in life, Springfield became a camp icon, attracting gay fans and drag impersonators. In 1994 a breast cancer diagnosis took a toll on her career. 

Springfield’s inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame came just two weeks after her death. At the induction, her friend Elton John said, “I just think she was the greatest white singer there has ever been … Every song she sang, she claimed as her own.”