The phrase "gay icon" gets tossed around a lot, but why is it that some figures amass more of a gay audience? Welcome to Gay Iconography, a feature where we present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts.
“I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest."
With those words, Neil Patrick Harris became the most visible openly gay actor in Hollywood. He wasn't the first out actor, but his coming out in 2006 marked a turning point. He bucked the narrative of gay actors' inability to convincingly play straight.
Not only did he play straight -- he played really straight. Whether it was as the womanizing Barney Stinson on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, or in the over-the-top portrayal of Neil Patrick Harris (not quite himself) in the Harold and Kumar series, NPH became the proof point about out actors in hetero roles. His relatively drama-free coming out -- absent the hand-wringing of the time that plagued the likes of Lance Bass and T.R. Knight -- only further endeared him to audiences.
It didn't hurt, of course, that he's almost supernaturally charming, handsome and talented. A singer, dancer, actor and all-around weapon of mass likability, Harris' appeal is tough to resist.
Check out some legen … wait for it … dary NPH moments and share your thoughts on the former Doogie Howser, M.D., AFTER THE JUMP …