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It has been said (by the writers of Game of Thrones, among others) that someone is powerful when others believe that person powerful. But Out has a much more precise definition: According to the magazine's sixth annual list of the most powerful gay men and women in America -- powerful people are those who "influence the way others live -- either through their public personas, politics, or wealth -- and affect cultural and social attitudes."
By this definition, Out has named Apple CEO Tim Cook the most powerful gay man in the United States today. "Last year, Cook was still the man-in-waiting, assuming control of Apple, but still in the shadow of Steve Jobs," says the magazine. "Cook is now fully in charge of the world’s most valuable company -- it surpassed Exxon Mobil in 2012 -- which means it's his show to run."
Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres has snagged the No. 2 spot on the list because, with Oprah Winfrey off the air, Ellen "reigns supreme with her talk show, using her pulpit to change public opinion."
And DeGeneres is far from the only celebrity on the list. Glee creator Ryan Murphy clocks in at No. 4 for being "the foremost proponent of queer characters in mainstream culture." Journalist, talk-show host, news anchor and "silver-haired heartthrob to countless Middle-American housewives" Anderson Cooper has earned the No. 6 slot. And actor Neil Patrick Harris hits the list at No. 11 thanks to his How I Met Your Mother-feuled popularity, as well as his "time spent in the spotlight as a loving dad of two young children he's raising with partner David Burtka."
Other notable inclusions on the list of 65 public figures are political commentator Rachel Maddow (No. 5), Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen (No. 10), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (No. 12), financial guru Suze Orman (No. 25) and controversial celebrity blogger Perez Hilton (No. 39).
As you can see, power comes in many guises -- and can even be had by those who got there start scrawling nasty notes (and genitalia) on celebrity photos.(Here's to you, Perez!)
Click here to see who else made Out's Power List.