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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > February 2017 > remembering GEORGE MICHAEL

remembering GEORGE MICHAEL

Who was the first celebrity you remember being gay? The first one to really seep into your consciousness in your formative years? For literally millions of us, it was George Michael. He was one of the biggest-selling British artists of all time, selling more than 100 million records worldwide as both a solo artist and as one half of Wham!, and topping the charts on countless occasions with the likes of Careless Whisper, A Different Corner and Wake Me Up Before You GoGo. But more importantly, he was passionately, candidly and unapologetically a gay man.

Who else could’ve been shamed by the world’s media when he was arrested for cruising in a public bathroom in Beverley Hills in 1998, but go on to turn the experience into a glorious chart-topping hit in Outside? Even today, weeks after his death, with national newspapers shaming him for having had excess in 500 lovers in seven years, he’s a bastion of unapologetic hope for gays, queers and anyone else on the LGBT+ spectrum the world over.

The term ‘gay icon’ is thrown around all too much these days but, in truth, there’s perhaps no better way to describe George. And there’s no better way to remember his life and his legacy than hearing about it from the man himself, in his own words. We were honoured to have George on the cover of Gay Times back in July 2007, for a rare interview which proved to be one of his most honest and candid ever – and we’ve printed it in full over the next few pages. It actually took place in his home in Highgate, days before he was due in court on charges of being asleep at the wheel. His solicitors had begged him to keep his mouth shut but thankfully, as we’ve come to know about George, that’s quite an impossible thing to do…

So put your feet up, whack on your copy of Faith and read for yourself as the late, great George Michael – who was taken from us way, way too soon – talks with grace, humility and great humour about his own self-acceptance, coming out, sex, the great loves of his life and, of course, the one gift he leaves us behind – his music.

INTRODUCTION ryan butcher INTERVIEW richard smith AND steve pafford

IMAGE CAROLINE TRUE

OK. Let’s start at the day you were born. That’s what the song on your last album [Patience], My Mother Had a Brother, is about. But what’s the actual story? Your uncle killed himself and he was definitely gay? Not that he was definitely gay, but I think he must have been for my mum to have this fear of me being gay. She had a definite fear that I was going to be like her brother – she thought that would mean I couldn’t cope with life. She almost felt like she’d brought this gene… So there were very pointed areas where she let my dad be – supposedly protectively – homophobic.

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About Gay Times

In our TV and Travel issue, Benidorm’s boy wonder Danny Walters returns to flaunt his new physique and to talk about his Hollywood ambitions. Elsewhere in the issue, the launch of GT Travel: Curated Experiences for Men; Hong Kong's endless culture, world-class food and vibrant gay scene; the natural beauty of Michigan; and tips for finding the best gay-friendly accommodation when travelling. Jack Falahee, of How to Get Away with Murder, on ‘coming out’ as straight; Layton Williams on taking on the iconic role of Angel in RENT; and foul-mouthed drag legend Lady Bunny on bringing her new show, Trans-Jester, to British audiences. Finally, don’t miss our tribute to George Michael, where he talks with grace, humility and humour about his own self-acceptance, coming out and the great loves of his life.
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