Waymon Hudson

Rocking Gay Moments

Filed By Waymon Hudson | September 27, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment, Gay Icons and History, Living
Tags: music, open thread, rock, spinner

With the recent coming out of Clay Aiken (what a shocker, I know!), Spinner put together its list of the "Top 25 Rockin' Gay Moments." How they made the connection between Aiken and rock music is beyond me, but I digress. It bills the list as "rock's most out-loud-and-proudest moments."

It's an interesting list of gay moments in music history, although I'm not sure I agree with all of them. It's a weird list that includes some publicity stunts, scandal, and other moments I might not call "out and proud." It also has some interesting moments and rankings from LGBT artists.

Check out the list after the jump and let me know what you think!

#25- Alanis' Same-'Sex' Smooch
In 2004, Alanis Morissette's character locked lips with Carrie Bradshaw on an episode of 'Sex and the City,' further popularizing the girl crush among straight women. "It was fun," Morissette, who has described herself as bisexual, said. "I loosely call it acting, 'cause I feel like I was just in this environment privileged to see how these three people work together and interacted."

#24- Halford Hails Homosexuality
In 1988, Rob Halford became the first heavy metal star to publicly declare his homosexuality. "I think that most people know that I've been a gay man all of my life," the Judas Priest frontman told MTV. "This is the moment to discuss it and to go into the reasons, and the whys and the wherefores as to the statement, the so-called coming-out phase." Now that's punk rock.

dusty_springfield_gaym_200-.jpg#23- Dusty Digs Girls and Boys
During an interview with the London Evening Standard in 1970, Dusty Springfield bravely revealed, "I'm perfectly as capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy." The "White Queen of Soul," who has a penchant for gowns and heavy eyeliner, forever solidified herself not only as a gay icon but also as a fashion inspiration to drag queens everywhere.

#22- Wentz Puckers for Dude
It has always been unclear what Pete Wentz wants in a partner. In March 2007, the ubiquitous Fall Out Boy bassist told Blender, "I'll kiss anybody ... I have [kissed boys]. Anybody above the waist is totally fair game." Later the same year, Wentz denied being 100 percent gay but insisted "there's part of me that wishes I was gay." At least his engagement to Ashlee Simspon helped clear things up -- right?

#21- Cobain Helps Cox Come Out
Bradford Cox, who has a penchant for cross-dressing onstage in his role as frontman for Deerhunter, confided to Spin in April 2008, "I'm a 26-year-old gay virgin who eats barbecue and watches Braves games." Cox then explained, "Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain kissed, and Kurt wore dresses. There's no way to overestimate the influence [Nirvana] had on me."

#20- Boy George Finally Tells All
'Take It Like a Man' is the title of Boy George's 1995 memoir, in which he officially confirmed being gay after years of coy androgyny. At the height of fame for his band, Culture Club, the singer kept the public guessing by claiming he wasn't interested in sex: "I prefer a nice cup of tea," he said.

#19- Punks Get Doll-ed Up
The short-lived but widely influential New York Dolls anticipated punk rock with their fearlessly campy cross-dressing. A test case for manager Malcolm McLaren, who went on to assemble the Sex Pistols, the Dolls were a major inspiration for the likes of Morrissey and every hair-metal band.

#18- She Kissed a Girl
Long before T.A.T.U. were singing about fake lesbian love, Jill Sobule was doing it for real. With a video featuring Fabio as a would-be hetero suitor, it's no wonder the pop craftswoman tried swinging the other way on her 1995 signature song 'I Kissed a Girl.'

#17- Lance 'N Sync With His Sexuality
Russia nearly launched gay pride into the stratosphere when 'N Sync's Lance Bass attempted to join the Soyuz space mission. Bass officially came out in a 2006 cover article in PEOPLE magazine, though he did raise suspicions when he claimed to love watching football and drinking beer.

sylvester-200-06060.jpg#16- Disco Queen Gets 'Real'
After being groomed in the Cockettes, the outlandish hippie-era drag show in anything-goes San Francisco, Sylvester became a gay icon with his 1978 disco smash 'You Make Me Feel Mighty Real.' Tall, dark and handsome in full drag, the singer brought gospel ecstasy into the realm of sequins and mirror balls.

#15- Night at the Rock Opera
Inspired by '70s glam rock, Queen and Meat Loaf's 'Bat Out of Hell,' playwright John Cameron Mitchell and songwriter Stephen Trask had an Off-Broadway smash with the transgender-rocker fairy tale 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch.' The show's songs were later covered by cool rockers like Sleater-Kinney, Rufus Wainwright and Bob Mould.

#14- Classic Rock -- What a Drag
"Girls will be boys and boys will be girls/It's a mixed-up ... world." The Kinks' Ray Davies may have been dumbfounded when his 'Lola' turned out to be a man, but the song about an encounter between a naïve young man and a transvestite ranked among Rolling Stone's Top 500 Greatest Songs of All time.

#13- Georgia Peach Gets Frutti
Macon-born Little Richard's explosive introduction to the pop charts was a thinly veiled song about homosexuality: 'Tutti Frutti,' in its original form, included the followup phrase 'loose booty.' We wonder who broke this news to later 'Tutti' tackler Pat Boone.

melissa-etheridgee-200-0606.jpg#12- Melissa Says 'Yes I Am'
The strumming Kansan waited until the Republican '80s were officially over, coming out at Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993. Later that year, she released her fourth album, 'Yes I Am,' flouting the new president's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

#11- R.E.M. Man Reveals
The guarded R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe explicitly identified himself as "a queer artist" in 'Time' in 2001. For much of his career he resisted answering rumors about his sexuality, once calling himself "an equal opportunity lech."

#10- Glad to Be Gay
British songwriter Tom Robinson, onetime Ray Davies disciple and future Elton John collaborator, took the punk era's urge to shock into new territory with his pride anthem 'Glad to Be Gay.' Now married with children, Robinson titled his last studio album 'Having It Both Ways.'

#9- Universal Mother
Four-time mother Sinead O'Connor declared herself a lesbian in a 2000 interview. She has since revised her position, claiming to be "three-quarters heterosexual, a quarter gay." Ladies -- those are still better odds than one in 10.

#8- Bowie Says He's Bi
Glam's crown prince outed himself as early as 1972, later explaining to Playboy that he used his bisexuality as a marketing advantage. Boys, keep swinging!

kd-lang-200-06060.jpg#7- Equality Rocks!
k.d. lang, the Pet Shop Boys, George Michael, Melissa Etheridge and Rufus Wainwright were among the headliners at Equality Rocks, a football-stadium-sized concert event that took place in April 2000, on the eve of the gay-rights Millennium March on Washington.

#6- Madonna Kisses Britney, Xtina
In 2003, the MTV Video Music Awards featured three of pop's most seductive divas making a case for the uselessness of men. Reprising Madonna's grindhouse performance of 'Like a Virgin' from the first VMAs, her heirs apparent, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, played the wedding-cake "groomsmen" and locked lips with her.

#5- 'Stan' by Your Man
Eminem made amends with critics who accused the potty-mouthed rapper of homophobia when he performed his hit 'Stan' with Elton John at the Grammy Awards, closing with a big, sloppy man-hug. Whatever the PR benefits, Em didn't exactly earn himself any genius awards when he claimed not to know that Elton is gay.

freddy-mercury-200-06060.jpg#4- Hail to the Queen
Six months after the AIDS-related death of Queen's lead singer, his surviving bandmates hosted the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness. Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Elton John and Robert Plant led an all-star cast celebrating that crazy little thing called love.

#3- Macho Men
Even little old ladies and truck drivers love a man in uniform. 'Y.M.C.A.,' the the "hangin' around the gym" anthem by gay icons the Village People, has endured as one of our most family-friendly singalongs, as inevitable at wedding receptions as it is as ballparks.

#2- I Want Your Sex
George Michael turned a PR disaster -- his 1998 arrest for a lewd act in a public bathroom in Beverly Hills -- into masterful spin with his video for the single 'Outside,' which featured kissing policemen and a line about how he'd "service the community."

rufus-wainwright-200-06060.jpg#1- Friend of Dorothy
Show-tune queen Judy Garland's triumphant Carnegie Hall comeback in 1961 is often called "the greatest night in show business history." Garland's spiritual son, Rufus Wainwright, had his own finest hour in this business of show last June, when the new pop diva recreated Judy's historic set at Carnegie. His flair for the dramatic goes back to childhood, when Rufus would serenade his famous folk-singing parents, Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, and their friends with over-the-top renditions of 'Over the Rainbow.' Now that's entertainment, sister.

Like I said, it's a weird list. I love the fact that Freddie Mercury, Dusty Springfield, and Sylvester are on there, as well as Melissa Etheridge- but Madonna kissing Britney? And Eminem?

What do you think, Projectors?


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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 27, 2008 10:13 AM

"Forget your troubles come on, get happy!

Why don't you chase all your cares away?..."

I agree, strange list. However, any list of this nature is bound to lean with individual tastes and biases. Highpoint for me: SYLVESTER, which, IMHO, should have been #1 on any list of proud gay moments. Rarely have we seen someone so proudly and unapologetically black & gay bring gospel and drag together to move so many people.

Clay Aiken's 'coming out', while hardly a news flashe to anyone, still shames all those who I believe follow in the footsteps of Sylvester yet lack his balls and sense of self. There are many black gay stars out there, but they're hardly shining brightly, or proudly, or understand what Sylvester's song "Mighty Real" really meant.

I thought it was a pretty good list actually.

I love that george michael one, where he tells the police officer that he can't understand public sex because he's not gay. Too true!