Today’s GLBT History Month Icon: Musician Rufus Wainwright

Today’s GLBT History Month icon is musician Rufus Wainwright. Born July 22, 1973, Wainwright is an accomplished singer/songwriter. He has produced six albums and is the recipient of two Juno Awards and five GLAAD Media Awards.

From Equality Forum:

Wainwright’s musical talent was shaped by his folksinger parents, Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III. He was born in Rhinebeck, New York, and holds dual United States and Canadian citizenship. After his parents divorced, he spent most of his youth with his mother in Montreal.

At age 14, Wainwright broke into the entertainment world with a song he composed and sang in the film “Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller,” earning him a Juno Award nomination for “Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year.” That same year, he was sexually assaulted by a man he met at a bar. Deeply disturbed by the attack, he remained celibate for seven years.

In 1998, following the release of his first album, Wainwright was named “Best New Artist” by Rolling Stone. He composes music for theater, dance and opera, and has contributed to numerous film soundtracks, including “Moulin Rouge” and “Brokeback Mountain.” Additionally, he has acted in “The Aviator” and “Heights,” among other films.

As a collaborator, Wainwright has worked on albums with music greats Rosanne Cash and Elton John. John hailed him as “the greatest songwriter on the planet.” His first opera, “Prima Donna,” premiered in 2009 at the Manchester International Festival and was the subject of a documentary film that premiered on Bravo! in 2010.

Despite fame and success, Wainwright struggled with crystal meth addiction, a habit he eventually recovered from in 2002. With two decades of performing under his belt, Wainwright assures his fans that he won’t be retiring any time soon: “I am a self-sustaining, vibrant, long-term artist, and I’m not going away!” 


Video of Rufus Wainwright:



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Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin4 years ago

JRS: Go Wai!

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman5 years ago

Thanx for article.

James R. Stewart Jr.

I understand that it's a free country, but I just am very tired of having to listen to it. Please, just go do whatever you do and shut up about it.

ruth a.
ruth a.5 years ago

Margaret C. you took the words right out of my mouth: "Great singer, made a wonderful contribution to the Leonard Cohen documentary "I'm Your Man"."

ewoud k.
ewoud k.5 years ago

Well, let's say that this LGBT-history month stuff allows to get to know/redecover great people.

Had forgotten about his father, and didn't know the son that well.

Let's stream some music.

Margaret C.
Margaret C.5 years ago

Great singer, made a wonderful contribution to the Leonard Cohen documentary "I'm Your Man".

Tori W.
Past Member 5 years ago

thanks, i didn't know about him until this article. these are really good choices.

Diana S.
Diana S.5 years ago

OMG - he's the son of the author of "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road!!!" "Dead Skunk" was banned from Redding (CA) radio station KRDG in the last half of the 60s, and no one under forty could understand why!

Thanks once again for a great article.

Robert O.
Robert O.5 years ago


Carole Cherne
Carole Cherne5 years ago

Love him and his parents. Thanks for the article.