22.11.11

The Pre Dawn of Gay Culture- Boy George

I was born in 1972 and at that time the world was in the middle of a whole host of changes.  The humanistic movement of the 60's had begun to push gay culture into the lime light.  Still grossly unaccepted as a whole, homosexuality was mostly underground.  It wasn't until the early 80's that things began to really transform.  Entertainers like Boy George, Erasure, The Pet Shop Boys, Elton John, and Cindy Lauper had a huge impact on queer culture.

With their over the top flamboyance and larger than life presence they paved the way for young gay people.  They were in a sense pioneers.  I can remember first seeing Boy George on the television.  He was quite shocking with his full makeup, plucked eyebrows, punk hairstyle and crazy outfits.  It was my first real experience with gay culture having grown up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania.   It gave me a sense that it was ok to be different and that it was also ok to be different sexually.

In the mid 80's we were also in the depths of a very scary paranoia about HIV, or Gay Related Immunodeficiency Disease as it was first labeled.  No one knew where it came from or how it was transmitted and since it first showed up in the gay community, it was labeled as a "gay disease" adding more fuel to the already blazing inferno of gay discrimination. Jerry Fallwell publicly condemned Boy George and said that it was against God to be homosexual and then went on to say that HIV was Gods punishment for the queers.

 It was a scary time to be gay and I was in my earl teen years at this point.  Confused, scared, and still learning to accept myself while living in silence about the whole issue.

 Today, I look back and am amazed at how gay culture has changed tremendously over the last two decades.  We went from silence to being front stage in the political arena with recent debates over gay rights and the media has pushed us into the spotlight even more than before.

The videos below are from a Boy George interview with Barbara Walters done at the height of his career in the 80's.  Have a look at them.  Barbara asks George about his sexuality and at the time he was quite brave for being as open as he was about it , although he still hung onto the "bisexual" label, which in my opinion was his way fitting into a world that still was very against homosexuality.



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