In this list, we take a look at some of the richest LGBTQ people in the world. They hail from various industries, including entertainment, fashion, tech, biomedical and more. The net worths listed here are as reported by Forbes.
David Geffen, The Co-Founder Of DreamWorks — $9.9 billion
David Geffen got his start in the entertainment business in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency (WMA). He went on to become a talent agent before co-founding Asylum Records with Elliot Roberts. This is where Geffen began amassing his wealth, as Asylum became known for creating the Southern California folk-rock sound. It signed huge names such as the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and many more. In 1994, Geffen went on to create Dreamworks SKG film studio alongside Steven Speilberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. The studio has produced or distributed more than 10 films that have grossed more than $100 million each. Geffen came out as gay in 1992, and in 2007 topped Out magazine’s list of the fifty “Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America”.
Giorgio Armani, Founder Of Armani — $8.1 billion
Image: Milan Fashion Week
The iconic fashion designer got his start in the fashion line working at La Rinascente, a famous Milan department store. This was after Armani completed his military service and dropped out of medical school. Later on, he became a designer at Nino Cerruti before partnering up with his friend Sergio Galeotti to launch Giorgio Armani S.p.A. in July 1975. His company’s first collection was a men’s clothing line, but he later also released a women’s collection. In the 1980s, his popularity in the US skyrocketed when his creations, or ‘power suits’ began featuring on the television series Miami Vice as well as the movie American Gigolo. The latter featured Richard Gere decked out in Armani’s signature style. Over the years, the Armani brand has grown into a formidable force, adding everything from interior design to hotels into its portfolio. About his sexuality, Armani told Vanity Fair in a 2000 interview: “I’ve had women in his life. And sometimes men.”
Peter Thiel, PayPal Co-Founder — $5 billion
Peter Thiel is a German American entrepreneur who co-founded Confinity in 1998, a platform designed to handle payments between Palm Pilots. The following year, the company merged with Elon Musk’s X.com, and PayPal was born. Thiel was PayPal’s CEO until 2002, when eBay acquired the company for a whopping $1.5 billion. The acquisition made Thiel a multimillionaire, but over time, thanks to various investments — including Facebook — and other companies and hedge funds he’s founded, he has accrued wealth estimated at $5 billion. In 2007, Gawker published a feature that claimed Thiel was homosexual. While he denounced the article, he subsequently came out as gay. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Matt Danzeisen.
Jon Stryker, Stryker Corp — $4.3 billion
Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Stryker is the youngest grandchild of Homer Hartman Stryker, founder of multi-billion dollar medical technology company, Stryker Corporation. Stryker is a registered architect in Michigan, and also president of a company that specialises in the rehabilitation of old buildings. The 63-year-old also founded the Arcus Foundation, which great ape conservation as well as LGBT causes. Stryker, who is openly gay, remains one of the world’s top philanthropic donors to LGBT causes. Arcus Foundation is said to give more than $17 million a year to organisations that seek social justice for LGBT people.
Stein Erik Hagen, CEO Of Orkla ASA — $2.6 billion
Hagen is the CEO of Orkla ASA, a Norwegian conglomerate that deals in consumer goods, aluminium solutions and financial investment. In the 70s, Hagen founded Rimi, a grocery store chain with his father. Hagen sold his shares of Rimi in 2004. According Forbes list of billionaires, Hagen is the sixth richest person in Norway, and one of the richest LGBTQ people. Regarding his sexuality, Hagen came out as bisexual on on the Norwegian-Swedish talk show Skavlan. He said on the show that his ex-wives and family has known about his sexuality for “many years”.
Jennifer Pritzker, Hyatt Hotel Heiress — $2 billion
Pritzker is the world’s only known transgender billionaire. She inherited stakes in her family’s Hyatt Hotels chain and other industrial companies run by her late father Robert, and his brothers Jay and Donald. Pritzker is also the CEO and President of Tawani Enterprises, a wealth management company that’s heavily involved in historic preservation, sustainability and other philanthropic efforts. The 71-year-old served in the US Army from 1974 – 2001, retiring with the rank of Lietenant Colonel.
She was later bestowed a promotion to full Colonel by the Illinois Army National Guard. Being a Republican, Pritzker was a supporter of Donald Trump in his presidency campaign. Since his 2017 tweet about his intention to ban transgender people from military service, however, Pritzker has made donations to Joe Biden instead.
Domenico Dolce, Co-founder Of Dolce & Gabbana — $1.6 billion
Born in Palermo, Sicily, Dolce had a very early introduction into the world of fashion. His father was a tailor, and Dolce spent his time working in his family’s small clothing factory while studying fashion. Later on, he moved to Milan to study at the fashion design school Istituto Marangoni but dropped out before he could graduate. In 1980, he met Stefano Gabbana through his then-boss Giorgio Correggiari. The pair became romantic partners in 1982, and subsequently launched ‘Dolce & Gabbana S.p.A.’ in 1985. Over the years, the brand became a fashion stalwart and branched out into fragrance, eyewear and accessories. In 2003, Dolce and Gabbana announced their split, but continued their professional relationship.
Stefano Gabbana, Co-founder Of Dolce & Gabbana — $1.6 billion
Stefano Gabbana was born in Milan in 1962. His father worked in a printing factory and his mother worked at a laundry service. Gabbana completed his design training at the Istituto Superiore per le Industrie Artistiche, in Rome. As mentioned earlier, he started ‘Dolce & Gabbana S.p.A.’ with his then-partner Dolce in 1985. The following year, Dolce & Gabbana made its runway debut at Milan Fashion Week. By then the brand was known for its extravagant style and animal prints. Dolce & Gabbana’s big break, however, occurred when Madonna picked them to design the outfits for her ‘Girlie’ tour.
Tim Cook, CEO Of Apple — $1.3 billion
Cook got his foot in the door in the tech business by working for the computer manufacturer International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) from 1982 to 1994. He left the company as director of North American fulfillment. Over the next few years, he lent his expertise to various other tech companies including Compaq Computer Corporation. Cook joined Apple as senior vice president of worldwide operations in 1998, when was on the verge of collapse.
With Steve Jobs at the helm once again — he rejoined the company in 1997 after first leaving in 1985 — began making a comeback through a slew of new products including the iMac, iPod and eventually, the iPhone. Key to the company’s success was Cook’s ability to streamline supply chain and operations. He took over the reins in 2011, when Jobs died, and a decade later, Apple is nearing a market value of $2 trillion. Cook came out as gay in 2014, via an editorial for Bloomberg Business. He said, “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
Michael Kors, Founder Of Michael Kors, — $600 million
Michael Kors’s passion for the fashion industry began from a young age. He began designing while still living in his mother’s suburban home in Merrick, New York, and even designed her wedding dress when she married his stepfather. He then moved to New York City in search for a career, and ended up working a French boutique called Lothar’s. Kors designed and merchandised his first collection there. The success of the collection allowed him to launch his own line in 1981, and it was sold in NYC’s high-end department stores.
Over the years, Kors grew his brand into a fashion superpower, achieving worldwide success. The ‘MICHAEL Michael Kors’ brand, launched in 2014 has over 770 stores around the world, including Paris, Milan, London, Cannes, and Tokyo. It was reported in 2014 that Kors had a wealth of more than $1 billion. That has since shrunk to $600 million, but he is still one of the richest LGBTQ people in the world today. Kors married his longtime partner Lance La Pere in August 2011, shortly after gay marriage became legalised in New York.