It’s time for the final installment of our wonderful series celebrating the LGBTQ+ stars of the Rockschool grades.
This week’s showstoppers are last but by no means least. We’ve got fantastic pansexual queen Miley Cyrus, not out but still proud Freddie Mercury, and pioneer George Michael. Hope you enjoy!
There are many theories surrounding the meaning of the song “I Want To Break Free”. Some suggest it’s about love and relationships, some say it’s breaking free from a materialistic world, escaping repetition and routine. Other theories suggest a nod towards Mercury’s sexuality.
Freddie Mercury became known for bending the gender binary and pushing social boundaries in relation to sexuality, in both his lifestyle and performance. Despite this, he never explicitly came out as gay or bisexual, though it was often noted that he was not afraid to express his queerness.
Pride Month is about celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, and that includes those who aren’t “out” too. Freddie Mercury wasn’t able to come out, even in death, but he became a queer icon who has undoubtedly inspired future generations.
We all know about the dazzling star that is Miley Cyrus, who shot to fame after her Disney role of Hannah Montana. She became a huge teen idol and someone that young people could look up to.
Miley became a strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. She came out to her mum at the age of 14 as pansexual, saying that she is ready to love anyone that loves her for who she is. Then in 2015 it was reported that Miley was gender fluid, and doesn’t really relate to being a boy or girl. She had to defend her queerness multiple times when she was married to a man.
Having such an open, honest and fierce role model as Miley is something that has helped so many young LGBTQ+ people, and Miley continues this advocacy with her Happy Hippie Foundation, which works to “fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations”. We can firmly say that Miley is a QUEEN!
In 1998, global sensation George Michael came out to the world as gay, but this was not after some truly difficult times.
Michael had always known he was gay, but still engaged in many relationships with women throughout his Wham! days. He says that he always knew these relationships couldn’t go any further, but it was when the AIDS epidemic was ripping through Britain that really put a stop to this.
When it came to the late 1980s, Michael began a relationship with Brazillian dress designer, Anselmo Feleppa. Only six months into the relationship, Feleppa found out that he had contracted HIV, which was utterly devastating news for all around him. Michael had no idea how he could share this terrifying news with his family, who didn’t even know that he was gay yet, and with the potential that he himself could have caught the disease too. Sadly, in 1993, Feleppa passed away due to AIDS-related complications.
Despite this crushing experience, Michael continued to fight for the rights of LGBT people. All proceeds from his 1991 single, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” went to 10 different charities, and he was also a patron for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. In 1992, Michael was also seen wearing a red ribbon, a symbol for the solidarity of people living with HIV/AIDS, at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
There’s no doubt that George Michael was, and always will be, a pioneering and important figure in the LGBTQ+ story.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our mini-series looking at all the LGBTQ+ folk featured across our syllabus. We love them all, and their individual and collective contributions to the life of their community is nothing short of amazing.
Be sure to catch up on the previous two instalments if you haven’t already! And for a more in-depth look, we’ve got Artists in Focus blogs on some of them too, including Lady Gaga, Elton John, Kaki King, Prince, Miley Cyrus and Sam Smith.