Thursday, July 9, 2009

Was Michael Jackson Gay?

It's been just two weeks since the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson, passed away, and already there's a book in the works which claims the singer was a gay cross-dresser. The book,
Unmasked: The Final Years Of Michael Jackson by Ian Halperin
, describes Michael as "having a taste for young men, not boys", and that the singer had a secret lover in Las Vegas. According to Halperin, this secret lover signed a "confidentiality agreement" with Jackson, before becoming intimate with the pop icon. Halperin also alludes to Jackson's cross-dressing at his Neverland Ranch estate in Los Angeles. While not exactly a surprising revelation about Michael Jackson, these claims, if true, would cast a new light on the singer's life.

If Michael was, in fact, living on the "down low", this would amplify, not diminish, his greatness as a musical genius and philanthropist. For all that Michael struggled in his life with, for all his suffering, if it were shown that he revolutionized pop muusic as we know it in spite of the adversity he faced, this would make his success all the more epic in scope. Struggling with issues of sexual orientation in a largely homophobic society can be a crushing, even fatal ordeal for many of us. That there are plenty of people already vilifying Halperin for daring to even suggest Jackson was gay speaks to this ongoing climate of bigotry and intolerance with which the LGBT community must contend. The attitude is, how dare anybody "besmirch Michael's name and reputation as an American icon", by suggesting this?

What these people don't understand is, if Michael was gay, that's not something against him. In fact, his sexual orientation, as is true for so many LGBT artists, actors, writers, and musicians, might have been the very thing that gave his musical genius its expression. Creativity and homosexuality have long been understood to be deeply connected, and this would doubtless hold true even in Michael's case, if Halperin is borne out by other revelations of fact concerning Michael's life and sexuality. It's a fascinating glimpse into the possibilities behind the unmistakable power of MJ's talents. One day, perhaps, it will no longer matter whether a performer is gay or straight. There will just be the artist and his or her art. But until then, it's worth remembering that if an artist be gay or lesbian, sometimes it's that very aspect of themselves that makes them shine, makes them great. It's not hard to imagine this being true of Michael, too.

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