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The Early Days of LGBTQ Rock

The Early Days of LGBTQ Rock

Update: 2023-03-01


Once upon a time, it was illegal—criminal—to be another other than heterosexual...any hint that you may be something other than straight could get you into all sorts of trouble—and career suicide was the least of your worries...

In 1895, the famous English playwright, Oscar Wilde, was put on trial for homosexual practices...he was found guilty and sentenced to two years in jail...he never recovered from the ordeal and died soon after his release...

In 1959, Liberace, the famous pianist, sued the London Daily Mirror for libel for implying that he was went to trial and on the stand and under oath, Liberace stated that–this is 1959, remember–he had never indulged in homosexual practices...the judge believed him and he won $24,000...

In 1982, a former male bodyguard sued him for palimony–and this time, Liberace had to pay out $95,000...finally, in 1987, he died of AIDS–and the Daily Mirror came calling, looking for a refund of their $24,000...

And look at Elton John...despite the fact that he married a woman in 1984, the rumours of his homo- and bisexuality helped erode his fan base in the late 70s...he had to hide it for decades, something that took a serious emotional toll...

When you put everything into this kind of context, you can see how far things have come today...if someone comes out, this admission is greeted by most with a’s like “”...

And not only that, but sexual orientation is protected by law in much of the world...for example, in late 2004, the French parliament adopted legislation that could get a person one year in jail for insulting homosexuals...this law treats anti-gay and sexist comments in the same way other laws treat racist and anti-Semitic insults...say something homophobic in France and you could end up with 12 months in the clink plus the equivalent of a $75,000 fine...

But it wasn’t always this way, including in the world of new rock, which was supposed to be so progressive, liberal and of some stories of brave people who took a lot of arrows for who they were.

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The Early Days of LGBTQ Rock

The Early Days of LGBTQ Rock