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updated 4/3/2006 9:59:43 AM ET 2006-04-03T13:59:43

In a contest between Liza Minnelli, Cher and Barbra Streisand to determine who’s the No. 1 gay icon, Cher would win — or so Minnelli says.

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“I think probably Barbra and maybe even Cher and myself in school felt like outcasts because we didn’t have standard looks,” Minnelli told Newsweek for its issue hitting newsstands Monday.

“Maybe what a gay icon is, is a person who is rooted for — in other words, cheered on — by people who feel different,” Minnelli said as her legendary 1972 concert “Liza With a Z” airs on Showtime and comes out this week on DVD.

But being a gay icon doesn’t necessarily mean “gaydar” comes with the turf. She says she didn’t find out until two weeks after she married her first husband, Peter Allen, that he was gay.

“Honey, I was 17 when I met him,” Minnelli told Newsweek. “But I was the last one to see him before he died because we stayed friends, and that was tough.”

She may be a legend, but Minnelli said she mingles with all the classes.

“One of my best friends is a taxi driver; another is a maintenance man,” she said. “I go everywhere. People are wonderful. They say hi and I say hi, and we keep going. That’s New York.”

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