How Do the Richest LGBTQ People in the World Spend Their Money?

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday January 23, 2021

Elton John
Elton John  (Source:@eltonjohn/Instagram)

A new feature on Business Insider profiles LGBTQ people who have broken into that elite club of millionaires and billionaires. The ten wealthiest LGBTQ people in the world are:

David Geffen — Worth $10 billion, according to Forbes, Geffen started as a Hollywood talent agent and eventually founded Asylum Records with the late Elliot Roberts (manager of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and The Cars) and then Geffen Records, launching wildly successful careers for Guns 'n' Roses, Nirvana, and more. In the 1990s, Geffen partnered with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg to found DreamWorks film studio. Out Magazine deemed Geffen the most powerful gay man in the U.S. in 2007. He founded the David Geffen Foundation in the late 1980s, which has granted funding to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, as well as many other social service, cultural and LGBTQ organizations.

Giorgio Armani — Worth approximately $8.9 billion, the fashion designer was initially going to medical school and then served in the military before turning his eye toward designing men's clothing. After designing for actor Richard Gere in 1980, Armani quickly built a fashion empire that also includes interior design and several hotels. At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Armani donated 1.25 million euros to Italian hospitals.

Peter Thiel — Worth $5.2 billion, the co-founder of PayPal also founded Palantir, a data analytics company valued at $20 billion, and was also an early investor in Facebook. The Trump supporter and Los Angeles resident created PayPal to be an easy and convenient way of exchanging money electronically. Thiel was CEO of the company until eBay acquired it; his stake was allegedly worth $55 million at the time. Thiel recently purchased two Miami Beach mansion for a cool $18 million. Much of his philanthropic efforts are focused on technology initiatives.

Jon Stryker — Worth $4.4 billion and heir to his family's fortune, Stryker's grandfather founded Stryker Corp., a medical supply company, which reported having sold $14.9 billion worth of equipment in 2019. Stryker founded the Arcus Foundation, which works toward expanding LGBTQ rights and protections internationally.

Domenico Dolce — Worth $2 billion, the co-founder of fashion empire Dolce & Gabbana (with Stefano Gabbana) was brought to international attention, in large part, by pop legend Madonna, a longtime friend and champion of the D&G brand. The design duo made a coronavirus-related contribution to Humanitas University to support research.

Jennifer Pritzker — Worth approximately $1.9 billion, Pritzker is the only openly transgender billionaire in the world. The former Army lieutenant came out as transgender in 2013. Pritzker is an heir to part of the Hyatt fortune and supported former president Trump until he announced a transgender ban on military service in 2017. Pritzker then switched support to Biden during his campaign last year. Pritzer donated $2 million (through the Tawani foundation) to the University of Victoria to create the world's first academic chair in transgender studies.

Tim Cook — Reportedly now a billionaire, the Palo Alto resident is known to maintain a relatively modest home despite the wealth he's acquired in his tenure as CEO of Apple since 2011. Cook came out as gay in 2014. Apple is fast approaching a $2 trillion market value. In 2019, Cook donated thousands of Apple stock shares to charity, totaling nearly $5 million.

Michael Kors — Worth $600 million, the fashion designer and former judge on popular reality TV series "Project Runway" started his business in his mother's basement back in the 1980s. His company was valued at $3.5 billion when it became public in 2011. He lives in New York City with his husband, Lance Le Pere. The couple likes to collect art, sharing the collection with fans via a 2018 YouTube video that went viral, amassing more than 5.5 million views.

Ellen DeGeneres — Worth $370 million, the talk show mogul began as a stand-up comic and eventually landed the starring role on "Ellen," a popular sitcom that ran from 1994-1998. DeGeneres' coming out in real life was mirrored by her character on the show, after which she disappeared from the spotlight — at least until 2003 when she launched her successful daytime talk show. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife Portia de Rossi, star of the "Arrested Development" series. The Ellen Fund was established by de Rossi as a gift to her wife, working to protect endangered species. DeGeneres is known for her on-screen generosity, despite recent reports of a hostile work environment on set.

Elton John — Worth approximately $500 million, young piano prodigy Reginald Dwight shot to superstardom as flamboyant glam rocker Elton John in the 1970s. Since then, Elton has been a highly prolific songwriter and recording artist, regularly touring the world and playing shows upwards of three hours. After getting sober in the early 1990s and officially coming out as gay, he founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds AIDS-related research and assists people with HIV/AIDS internationally. Elton and husband David Furnish have been together for three decades and own homes in Atlanta and England.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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