June is pride month, as you probably know. As a great music lover, I got to learn more than just lyrics; I got to know the artists. And some of them struggled with their sexuality as much as some people still do. But their paths, no matter how hard, are helping people and we are here to honor them.
Singer-songwriter left some of the incredible music, but he was forced to come out in a very disgusting way. He was finally outdated by Major of Beverly Hills. His fans knew already that Michael was gay, check out the “Older” album and you will understand. Forcing some to come out is never an option, but the guy is a legend, so let’s celebrate with Outside.
The singing Greek is no longer with us, but his legacy is. His struggle started when he was 19 and continued until he met Brazilian lover, who died from AIDS, just two years into their relationship. Yog, as he is still known to his friends and fans, was one of the most honorable and charitable people on the planet. His personal life is in his songs, so listen without prejudice.
You know how the great Freddie Mercury died. But his voice, energy, his passion for life are inspiring. He sang until the end, he wrote songs, played instruments, he did not want to be defined by what was then known as “gay plague.”
Freddie loved life, he loved women (not in a romantic way), but he was attracted and emotionally attached to men. The story is almost always the same: he thought he was bisexual. His then-girlfriend, later his best friend and confidant, open his eyes. But Mercury did not want to be labeled, and we first and foremost respect his work, dedication, and sense of humor.
Well, we know he wasn’t gay. But Bowie was and still is a fighter for justice. He played with his sexuality to get people talking, not just about him, but about the issues they had with a person being gay, bi, transgender,… Bowie is probably the most significant musician of the XX century, and everything David Bowie said or did was meaningful.
He went against racism, sexism, and homophobia, knowing well that he can make a change. And he did, so much so that he inspired many LGBTQ artists and gave them something to believe in: It is ok to be different, to seem strange, in fact, it may even be cool. Just ask Boy George, he adores Bowie.
The first lady on our honorary list came out in 1992. Since then, she supported many HIV/AIDS charities, and she is an animal activist, human rights activist, her words and her life are inspiring: “Art transcends gender. As an artist, it’s imperative that you go right past the genitals and right into the heart. That’s my job; that’s why I’m here; it’s my assignment.” This lady has so much integrity and so much to teach the generations to come and come out, that no one can deny her positive influence and all the hard work she put into becoming an icon. Not just LGBTQ icon, but someone everyone should inspire to be.
Remember that Elton John had a wife? He tried to be a good husband, he tried not to be himself, but that’s not how it works. Sir Elton used drugs and alcohol to struggle with his shyness and yes, his sexuality. And he wasn’t the only one. Luckily, he is clean and happily married to his long term partner; they also have two adorable sons. Despite all the heartache, he was and still is one of the most charitable people in the industry. But not all people are as lucky as John, and he knows that. So should you.
Ah Mer Ah Su
From white supremacy to heartbreak, Ah Mer Ah Su is a modern revolutionary. Ah-Mer-Ah-Su is black, transgender, and she is doing her best to show the world that the trans community can make great art. This is not music just for one group of people; her music is for everyone who ever experienced feeling out of place or just being heartbroken. “Are you growing?/Are you showing any sign of change?” These lyrics do not know if you are male, female, gay, bi, black, they are about self-growth, so again, listen.
The ultra-famous band has never been shy about sexuality. Stefan Olsdal, the bassist/guitarist for the glam band, is the gay one. Brian Molko, a vocalist, is the bisexual one. Check out their performance in “Velvet Goldmine,” you are going to fall in love with them all over again. BTW, the movie with Johnny Rhys Meyers, Ewan McGregor and Christian Bale, made in the late 90s, was way ahead of its time. Music, outfits, sex scenes, acting, everything is perfect 10, yet many never saw it. Because it is pro LGBTQ?
Being a black gay or bi man was not acceptable. Little Richard is a legend, but his childhood was a nightmare. He got kicked out of his family home for being too feminine. Later he said he was pansexual, then he called himself gay. Does it matter? He is not straight, he wore, and he became a living legend. He was one of the first people to break the race barer, making it possible for James Brown or Otis Redding, his fans, to do the same.
The Gossip’s Beth Ditto
Beth Ditto’s voice is so powerful that you might think you are back in the golden era of music, which ended some two decades ago. She is a lesbian, involved in women’s rights and LGBTQ activist. She is involved in many body positivity projects. She is energetic, strong, a perfect example that talent still matters.
She may not have the perfect vocals, but Madonna is a true survivor and a fighter. During the height of the AIDS crisis, she pushed back with controversial videos and lyrics, understanding that her voice has power. She remains one of the most important women in music, and if you ever had any doubts in yourself, don’t be afraid to “Express Yourself.”
Many artists are considered to be pioneers of breaking the stigma around sexuality. Lou Reed, Prince, Pet Shop Boys, R.E.M., Boy George, Tracy Chapman, St. Vincent, they did, or they are still doing their part. Stepping out of stereotypical gender roles and mocking people who still don’t understand how equality works are what makes musicians and other artists even more powerful, more interesting.
Using fame to promote the rights of all people, understanding that love is love, that we are not our religion, sexuality, the color of our skin, is the only way to make this world a better place. You don’t have to understand to have respect for others.