Everyone knows the music of Queen. You certainly can’t watch TV without hearing one of their iconic songs because Queen’s music sells! And whether you realized it or not, “We Will Rock You” is the greatest arena rock song of all time, played at every football stadium across the U.S.A. But in addition to being the band that everyone loves, their contributions to the social landscape has gone way past their music.
Like many rock icons, Freddie Mercury is one of the most recognizable figures in the world. His enigmatic personality, extreme vocal range and flamboyant style were a force in popular culture. He made waves constantly in the music industry by embracing femininity in his wardrobe and stage presence, and blowing the super jock image of most rock bands in the 1970’s out of the water.
Being a rock star allowed Mercury to push gender boundaries. Mercury was the one who suggested naming the band Queen, which at the time was a derogatory term for a gay man. Onstage, he wore outfits that left gender and societal norms behind. Among his clothing choices were leotards, angel-wing cloaks, tight shorts, and leather or PVC attire that evoked a biker image then popular in gay nightclubs. But at the same time, Freddie kept his private life mostly out of public view, thus hiding his truly authentic self.
Freddie Mercury never offered an in-depth discussion about his sexuality with the public. However, it was well known that this symbol of rock had had relationships with both men and women. At one point he claimed to be bisexual, but he may have been a gay man who got involved with members of the opposite sex because he was trying to survive — and build a career — in the very homophobic world of the 1970s and 1980s. For most of Mercury’s life, the wider world didn’t accept gays and bisexuals. Born in 1946, he grew up at a time when same-sex attraction was considered a mental illness, a tragedy, a joke, or some combination of the three. LGBT people were barely represented in the media, and the message society had to offer was that not being heterosexual was unacceptable. Even Mercury’s Parsee parents practiced Zoroastrianism, a religion that saw being gay as a type of demon worship.
Freddie still didn’t label his sexuality even after his AIDS diagnosis. Having kept his condition quiet for months, Freddie finally issued a statement saying, “Following enormous conjecture in the press, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have Aids. I felt it correct to keep this information private in order to protect the privacy of those around me.” Freddie died the following day from Aids related complications at the age of 45.
In honor of living an authentic life, and encouraging our audiences to do the same, HMC is bringing the thrill of a stadium rock concert to the Folly Theater with more pyro technics in this concert than ever before! In HMC’s nod to this legendary band and their contribution to the social landscape, we hope you will come to see “Rock You!” Through music we shall all come together. Visit HMCKC.ORG.