‘Homoseks can make your career quite harm’

Freelance journalist Tim Devriese looks back on the life of George Michael, whose sexually ambiguous image is not always appreciated. “Homosexuality may for many not be a problem, the homosexual act is often abhorrent.’

A message from a fan with flowers for the house in London of the death of singer George Michael, december 26, 2016. © AFP

George Michael was much more than a musical icon. He was a sex symbol.

It’s playing on my mind. It’s dancing on my soul. It’s taken so much time. So why don’t you just let me go. I’d really like to try.(from I want your sex by George Michael from 1987)

The British pop star George ‘Yog’Michael died. Just like other international stars in 2016 are coming to go, he was more than just a talented musician. He was an idol, a symbol, a public figure, that the limits of decency shifted.


Homoseks can make your career quite a harm.

The genius of David Bowie dolde with his sexually ambiguous image and was getting praised. Prince was a brilliant artist and a self-declared virile icon. Both men were artistic as well as social much acclaim. Their sexuality was not in the way of an artistic appreciation.

Not so for George Michael.

In 2016 when toxic masculinity reigned, devastating to lose Prince, Bowie & George Michael, who showed there’s no one right way to be a man

— Ilissa Gold (@Goldni) December 26, 2016

Music journalist Stijn Van de Voorde said on the radiojournaal that George Michael yet the most would be remembered because of his ‘personality’, to ‘weird music’ or ‘the way in which he looked’ – in spite of his qualities as a songwriter.

Which statements would you be able to put out as innocent observations (and to the millions of fans to ignore that his music is great and important but there is more to the story.

As a digression to the year 1995. The British actor and audience favorite Hugh Grant is caught with a (female) prostitute and is arrested. He was on the verge of breaking through. Fin the career so, you might think. But no hear. He was the male romcom-star of his generation. Despite (or thanks to) the public sex. By George Michael that was a little different. His close encouter in 1998 with a man, an undercover cop in a public restroom meant as well as the end of his music career. He, and with him his sexual appetite, were dismissed as undesirable and borderline perverse. His ‘personality’ was clearly more in the way than that of Hugh Grant.

Homoseks can your career so considerably harm. Is a sexually active gay person where a dominant heterosexual society struggles with? George Michael thought it could. In an interview in the British newspaper The Guardian in 2009, he said:

‘You only have to turn on the television to see the whole of British society being comforted by gay men who are so clearly gay and so obviously sexually unthreatening. Gay people in the media are doing what makes straight people comfortable, and automatically my response to that is to say I’m a dirty horny fucker and if you can’t deal with it, you can’t deal with it.’

Gays, society and sex. It is a difficult menage à trois. The sex life of the LGBT community has been around for centuries a moral minefield. Homosexuality in itself may for many not be a problem, it is the homosexual act that is abhorrent. Openly homosexual acts, from love to sex in toilets, often lead to violence, harassment and repression. Openly heterosexual acts are not.

The openness of George Michael about his sexuality in his life and work is an inspiration. Not because of the juicy stories delivers to the bar, but because of the thousands of young men and women the notion advised him that sex is okay, good, desired, safe, pleasant and visible. Homoseks is no schaduwactiviteit or a crime. It is, of course, it happens. That was a message that arrived. Certainly in the heyday of His career, the eighties and nineties, when homoseks amounted to a certain death by the aids epidemic.


— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) May 13, 2011

George Michael was not only a brilliant songwriter – he wrote the popklassieker Careless Whisper when he was 17, he was also a sexually unashamed role model. In contrast to many other public gays (of his generation) he was a sexually proud man. He would not let himself be cast as an asexual accessory, a pervert or a musical boon, with a pornosnor. He was a proud man. Like Bowie, like Prince.

This text was originally published on Medium.Tim Devriese, you can follow on Twitter.

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