I saw Bohemian Rhapsody last night and really enjoyed it. Queen's biggest hits were a big part of the soundtrack of my teen years, so the movie, despite its inaccuracies, rocked. As the movie directly addressed Freddie Mercury's sexuality, it got me thinking about music and sexuality and how my attitudes changed over time.
When I was a teenager, I was uncomfortable with homosexuality. I thought that everyone had a right to lead their lives as they saw fit, but public displays of homosexuality made me uncomfortable. I was one of those who thought that being called gay was the worst insult, and, yes, that disco was gay and therefore to be shunned. So, yeah, I was very surprised last night to realize that Another One Bits the Dust was Queen's disco song. Male fragility was a thing, I suppose, for me way back when.
As an adult, I wondered if I disliked Duran Duran, Wham and Boy George because I was homophobic as a teen. Then I realized that I liked Queen, David Bowie and Elton John. So, it turns out that it was the music that was key--that Queen and Bowie and John are terrific and those others very much not. I think that as my teens wore on, my attitudes shifted in part because I liked Queen and the others so much--that these flamboyant men* were incredibly talented and interesting and entertaining. My attitudes also probably began to shift because of a research paper in my senior year in high school on the AIDS crisis just as it was becoming well-known.
* And yes, gay men, not lesbians, challenged my sense of sexuality.
Of course, the real key was going to a college where there were lesbians, gays and bisexual people were out of the closet. While I may have had gay friends before college, I didn't know it. I did know it in college. I was hit on once by a gay friend in college, which probably would have provoked a stronger reaction had it happened in high school. I wasn't really that much more secure about anything at that point in time, but I guess I had started being a bit less homophobic. Then I went on to grad school where I had more gay friends and professors and more since.
When I was playing poker online about ten years ago, I would be surprised that people would insult each other in the chat boxes by calling them gay. My reaction was that I must be playing against 12 year olds--I was surprised that people continued to use gay as an epithet. Some people don't mature, not realizing that there are LGBTQ+ people all around us or not caring if they are aware. And, yes, I was and am aware of anti-LGBTQ+ violence.
Anyhow, I use the Semi-Spew to ruminate about a variety of things. Last night got me thinking about growing up in the last 70s and early 80s, and how specific musicians made a big difference in how I see the world. That diversity is not just something to be tolerated but to be enjoyed. Freddie left us far too early, so I will be playing a heap of Queen (I really don't know any of his solo stuff) in the days ahead. Starting with what I would want as my intro music: