Gay Men, Queer Women, and the Cultural History of the Mustache

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on November 27 2012 5:00 AM ET

The Walrus. The Captain. The Chevron. The Pyramid. The Fu Manchu. Call it what you want but know that gay, bi, and trans men and even a few queer women have helped popularize the mustache over the years. Now Allan Peterkin's new book, One Thousand Mustaches: The Cultural History of the Mo (Arsenal Pulp) offers a lighthearted cultural history of the 'stache — and its many incarnations— through the ages. He includes a handful of gay or bi men, some in multiple categories (Freddie Mercury fits in "gay mustaches" and "mustaches that rock," for example) and since he's a doctor, male grooming expert, and writer (check out One Thousand Beards for even harrier boys), you can bet he knows what he's talking about.

In honor of Peterkin's work, and the Movember movement (in which men around the globe sprout mustaches in November to help raise money and awareness about prostate and testicular cancer), we've come up with our LGBT slideshow of the 'stache through the ages from Bayard Rustin and Rock Hudson to Marcel Proust and Jennifer Miller. 

On the following pages, see our gay gallery of most-famous mustaches.

Remembrance of mustaches past, from left: Marcel Proust, C.P. Cavafy, and E.M. Forster

Mustache kitsch: John Waters

Upper lip politics: Harvey Milk, James Hormel, and Bayard Rustin.

New School/Old School: Rupaul and Rip Taylor

Moving picture mustaches: Errol Flyn, Clifton Webb, and Ramon Navarro.

Sporty 'stache: John Amaechi

The lady's not for shaving: Bianca Casady, Jennifer Miller, and JD Samson.

Mustache rhapsody: Freddie Mercury.

Economical and just: John Maynard Keynes and Judge Vaughn Walker

Iconic and iconoclastic: Frida Kahlo

Dramatis moustaccium: Somerset Maugham, Tennesse Williams, and Edward Albee

Behind the scenes 'staches: Film directors Lee Daniels and Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Tales of the Mustache: Armistead Maupin and partner Christopher Turner

Hollywood types: Rock Hudson, Cesar Romero, and Robert Reed.

Mothership mustache: Glenn Hughes of the Village People