I was reading an interview and came across this so I thought I'd share it.
There are a million reasons to memorialize the passing of David Bowie, but none more so, at least for me, than because of his legacy as the patron saint of strange gay boys everywhere. Because he ultimately married and had children with women, Bowie wasn’t exactly "gay" himself—though he did stoke the flames of queer rumors in interviews from the 1970s long before it was fashionable to do so, telling Playboy in 1976 that he was bisexual, while in the same breath admitting that his sexual fluidity was something of a publicity stunt. "I just got my leg over a lot," he told British talk show host Jonathan Ross with a laugh and a smile in 2002 when asked about his youthful relationships with men. "I was incredibly promiscuous and let’s leave it that." But his heyday said enough: The pink and yellow outfits, the fluffy orange mullet, the dramatic makeup, the way he’d seductively gaze into the camera lens. His body was so thin and lithe that he bore the elegance of a female swan. He never even needed to actually be gay—to have sex with men—to be gay. He was one of us whether he ever really was one of us. Bowie’s gender and sexuality were probably more outerspace alien than anything found within the narrow confines that we’ve created here on Earth—and we loved him.
For so many gay men, the first pangs of childhood shame have actually nothing to do with an attraction to other boys and everything to do with the emergence of certain traits often described as "feminine." Not all gay men are "girly," that’s true. But I was. I remember drawing on my hand with pastel bubbly pens before a particularly joyless middle school Latin teacher pulling me aside to tell me that that’s something that only girls do, and ordering me to wash it off. I scrubbed my skin so furiously with hot water that it hurt.
For so many, it’s only much later in life that you discover that feeling girly—indeed feeling all shades of the gender rainbow—can be wonderful, no matter who you choose to sleep with or how you were born. If you’re like me, the eventual embrace of the traits that you were once told to hate was helped along, in no small way, by David Bowie. When I discovered Bowie a little later in high school, he was the first person I can recall doing the opposite of what that teacher did: he made being a girly boy seem not just brave, but pretty cool, too. As a college kid, I used to (intentionally?) mishear the lyrics of one of Bowie’s most famous songs, "Life on Mars," as "Look at those gay men go" when, as I’d discover later, the actual lyrics referred to "cavemen." No matter: I heard what I heard when I needed to hear it, and I had enough evidence in his outfits and music videos and appearances that Bowie did, in fact, believe that swishy gay men were worth looking at. You couldn’t enjoy any aspect of his career without confronting his own femininity there staring you in the face with a smirk, shiny bracelet, and a cigarette on the front of Young Americans and shimmering beneath his white wig in Labyrinth.
If gayness were a church, I’d say we make Bowie one of its anointed saints. I cannot quantify precisely the effect he has had on the increasing visibility of gay and trans peoples throughout the world, but there are few figures, at least in the influential world of pop culture, that I’d give more credit to for expanding the boundaries of what we think of as beautiful. Through my sadness, I keep remembering that he does not have to be alive for some fresh new 16-year-old boy—or girl, or girl wanting to be a boy, or boy wanting to be a girl, or some person who in fact has no gender at all—to discover Bowie, and help whomever needs it to reimagine that not so long after that part of queer life that seems like hell, it will feel like heaven.
where are the LIES