It should come as no surprise that Ellen DeGeneres is by far the most visible lesbian in America, according to the results of a Pew Research Poll released this week.
Her syndicated daytime talk show remains a strong ratings hit after more than a decade on the air five times a week.
But it is a bit a surprise that Jason Collins, an NBA player most people had not heard of until he came out publicly last month, is already the most visible gay man – even more visible than Elton John.
The Pew Research Center conducted a national sample of 1,504 adults, 18 years of age or older, on a variety of gay-related topics including who is the most visible gay or lesbian figure.
DeGeneres easily came in first with 32% naming her as most visible. In second place was Collins with 7% of the vote followed closely by Elton John with 6%.
Tied in fourth place with 3% each were Rosie O’Donnell, Anderson Cooper, retired US Congressman Barney Frank and the late Rock Hudson. Ricky Martin and the late Liberace each got 2% while Neil Patrick Harris was mentioned by 1%.
Despite that increased number of famous actors and TV personalities who have come out in the past few years – Zachary Quinto, Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Sam Champion, among others – 38% of the public could not name any gay or lesbian public figure. This includes 61% of those age 65 and older and 57% those with no more than a high school education.