Another repetition of history is at hand. However this time for the greater good. And may it stay and remain for change.
‘Gay Pop’ was a golden era in the 80s, although not really classed as such until the late 90’s early 00’s. With this generation we have begun to see another boom in this expressing of gender fluidity and gay accept ion in music.
Why did it take so long? …we’ll likely due to the AIDS pandemic and public media bashing that the 80s stars were subjected to in the aftermath of their 80s craze.
For many it was the decade that spawned diversity, change and hope. It inspired people to be different and proud to be.
During the 80s the music industry along with many others had gay men at the forefront of the pop movement, some openly out and proud such as Frankie goes to Hollywood and Sylvester. both known for being openly gay and showing every aspect of their nature to the world without shame. Others wouldn’t come out until the early 90 to mid 90s due to the stigma attached to their lifestyle after the pandemic affected them or their loved ones.
George Micheal, Boy George, Pete burns etc all became huge icons for their flamboyant and eccentric looks and top chart singles. They were in their prime when fashion art and music was to express anything and the more controversial at the time the better.
With this openness for the most part it cracked a light in the darkness that was heterosexual dominance allowing people to see what they’d tried hard to keep hidden.
Frankie goes to Hollywood became the most controversial with saucy videos of naked men and orgies and lyrics all about sexual intercourse and subtext lyrics. And they didn’t care. It was a new generation. one that had been subjected to endless secrecy and scrutiny through decades before. Finally an outlet. With that came an openness even by the straight community towards gender bending. Annie Lennox and her menswear or buy George and his long hair and makeup.
The fashion was a tool they used physically but the music was the key to the success of gay frontmen being acceptable. The Synth genre was heavily used for the gay pop and eventually created a romantic wave which included heteros joining in the craze. Eg. Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet to name a few.
The bending of the rules and sexuality became something so profound that it’s why the 80s as an era is probably one of the most iconic due to its vast exploration both in creativity, technology and society challenges.
And what brought these changes during this time was an underbelly of hatred, racism, sexism and human rights. With this led to a revolution in all aspects of people who had enough of the status quo and lived their truths.
It ended abruptly however from the spotlight once the pandemic of AIDS had overcome the world. It became apparent that due to major icons like Freddy mercury losing their life to the disease that a shadow was cast over the gay community not only due to the government labeling it the ‘gay plague’ at one stage but also blaming their lifestyles.
In the 90s stars began to fade away and when they were publicized it was to cast judgement or shock the hetero world with their life choices to shame them.
George Michael became the seedy gay in public toilets while boy George got slammed across newspapers doing community service. Pete burns became a laughing stock for his constant change of male appearance to a female.
All of a sudden 90s boy bands and straight grinder bands were at the forefront and ‘gay pop’ not only died but became scrutinized and shamed. The 80s has been forgotten. A past time ‘dangerous living’ that meant the gay icons got what they deserved.
Bollocks! And we know this because it’s happening right now. A pandemic , racial inequality, Me too movement , homophobia.
Ironic isn’t it?… however like before we are standing up and rising, getting stronger everyday and expression, art, fashion, sexual orientation are headlining our industries again and rightly so .
With pop stars like Troye Sivan, Olly Alexander, MNEK,Sam Smith and Scissor sisters (slightly older) we are back to the spotlight again.
No shame in what they are expressing or what they are singing or alluding to in their music. However we should be ‘Woke’ to the fact that this isn’t new and has happened before and should learn this time to not let media or officials change the dynamic or societies views on these topics but rather keep these expressions of self in the spotlight and shine it brighter than before.
With a whole new generation aspiring to be ‘gay pop’ icons and wave music sweeping the airwaves again maybe it is history repeating itself but perhaps this time we can look back and think yes there was shadows underneath but we shone through it learned from it and next time we’ll be prepared , never forgetting what cane before.
Perhaps the gen x generation can keep this new wave going for good!
Thanks for reading
The Yenner 📠
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