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Michael Stipe: ‘I’m 80 per cent gay’

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  1. Helen Wilson 7 Mar 2011, 12:30pm

    When you read the Observer article it paint a very different picture to the selective quotations of Pink News!

    “I never identified with gay, that’s all. I will always honour anyone who had to make different choices, then stand by them, and I would hope that honour would extend to me and my choices as well. I’m talking about how one chooses to define oneself, the community within which one feels comfortable. That’s what it’s about, really. It’s the 21st century,” he concludes. “A lot of younger people have a much more it-is-what-it-is approach to sexuality. The black and white binary approach just does not work. So you find the terms that make you most comfortable. Michael Stipe

  2. Paddyswurds 7 Mar 2011, 12:45pm

    Another non story, Pink News…well except for this dudes whineing on about choices……What choices. If you prefer men then whats the choice. If a gay man talks about choices, is it any wonder the religious fatasists say it’s a choice..your gay stoopid. ….meh…pfft.

  3. “The black and white binary approach just does not work.”


    But perhaps it is also true that he is stating this to explain his steadfast refusal to come out of the closet for the 1st 20 years of his career.

    Michael Stipe is free ro define himself how he likes.

    As is anyone.

    It’s always amusing to see longterm closet cases explaining their reasoning for staying closeted.

    How come they NEVER say ‘Well I wanted to protect my income to thought I should deny or evade any questions about my sexuality’.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to protect your income. Just admit it however.

    1. Helen Wilson 7 Mar 2011, 1:19pm

      Stipe was working out his own sexuality in the same way many other people do.

      He never denied his sexuality, he just refused to make it a public matter. When you look at the two/three years of hell the press put him through by claiming he was about to die of aids, you can understand his reticence to disclose anything.

      He is one of the world best songwriters and singers, he has never claimed to be a LGBT rights activist/hero.

  4. The guys creepy. Shame he’s not 100 % like he wanted people to think for so long. And why develop a backbone now , is it to put him back in media spotlight. His music sux as well got a westlife feel to it.

    1. Helen Wilson 7 Mar 2011, 1:45pm

      Oh yes 15 hit albums in 30 years along with the a album that stayed in the UK top ten for over 2 years.

      Nothing like Westlife:

      R.E.M. – Oh My Heart

      R.E.M. – Uberlin

      1. quantity of album sales is not a reflection of quality of music. His music is as dull and bland as he is.

      2. Paddyswurds 7 Mar 2011, 7:52pm

        @ Helen Wilson…Exactly…nothing like Westlife. West life are a very successfrll pop band with 14 no 1 singles in the uk in 12 years and are third only in sales of albums behind Cliff Richards and the Beatles.and are still able to fill stadiums of 100 thousand or more worldwide as we speak . The gay member of the band didn’t stay in the closet or say that homosexuality was a choice like this non entity just to make money . So lay off Westlife, please.

  5. Everyone needs to be nice to him its tough to work out ones sexuality and can take long time.
    Pink news made this look bad with it’s selected quotes.

  6. You hate the term? Well that’s just to damn bad because if you like both the guys and the gals, that’s exactly what you are, regardless of your opinion on it. ¬.¬

    1. PumpkinPie 7 Mar 2011, 6:22pm


      “I don’t want to be called X despite being the literal definition of X, I’d prefer to be called Y which is a special term I invented.”

      This pointless pussyfooting around terms and an aversion to “labels” is one of the big reasons we bisexuals have such a small voice. You don’t have to be 50/50 to be bi. I’m mostly attracted to “feminine” people, which leads to me fancying far more women than men. I’m still bi, though!

      And how is “bi” a label, but apparently “gay” (or “50% gay”) isn’t?

      1. PumpkinPie 7 Mar 2011, 6:22pm

        ^Oops! I meant “80% gay”, of course. :p

      2. PumpkinPie 7 Mar 2011, 6:25pm

        Oh, FML. He didn’t even use the term “80% gay” himself, did he? That’s what I get for not reading carefully. Oh well, the aversion to “bisexual” still annoys me, but at least he’s not a hypocrite.

  7. Man who’s been out as bi but preferring the word queer as choice of label for years, says he’s bi but prefers the word queer.

    Hold the front page! :)

  8. “its tough to work out ones sexuality and can take long time.”


    Or perhaps he was being deliberately evasive about his sexuality for the 1st 20 years of his career to protect his income.

    This is perfectly acceptable.

    However it’s dishonest for him to claim that financial concerns did not play a HUGE part in his decision to stay closeted.

    He was not some teenager struggling to figure out who he was.

    He was a fully grown, sexually active adult in the public eye who chose to avoid discussing his homosexuality / bisexuality to protect his income.

  9. I’m always intrigued by people who talk about this in percentages. How can it even vaguely work?

  10. Riondo,
    I totally agree with your comment. I came out in my early twenties as gay although I had had girlfriends before that. I hadn’t however found love until my mid twenties and it was only then that I realized that I was gay. I would never even think of calling myself bi-sexual as I could never even think about going with a woman again. It must be hard for those like Michael who have to use mathematics to express their sexuality!

  11. Helen Wilson 7 Mar 2011, 3:45pm

    Back in the mid 1990s, when questioned in interviews about his sexuality, Stipe described himself as “an equal opportunity lech”. That was after a period of spiralling rumours that he was HIV positive. In 1999 a writer called Douglas A Martin published his first novel, Outline of My Lover, in which the main character describes a six-year relationship with the lead singer of a successful Athens-based rock group. Stipe and Martin had previously collaborated on a poetry compilation, The Haiku Year, and the latter later confirmed that the novel was indeed a fictional delineation of their relationship.

    1. Helen Wilson 7 Mar 2011, 3:46pm

      Then, in 2001, Stipe told Time magazine that he was “a queer artist”. Last year he curated an exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of Jean Genet’s birth, which he tells me was “kind of like a queer history but from a peripheral point of view, but also about what might have happened if Genet and queer culture had impacted on me more”. He does seem to be a whole lot more comfortable now with his sexuality. Was he troubled by it while he was growing up?

      1. Helen Wilson 7 Mar 2011, 3:47pm

        “Not troubled, no. Not confused either. But I felt there just wasn’t a place for me. I hate and refuse to apply the term bisexual to myself. It doesn’t seem appropriate. It feels like just another label. For a time I was conflicted by how I was represented, and then Aids came, and that’s an era that has still to be spoken about in depth by people of my age. It was a very difficult time to be honest and frank about one’s sexuality. And a very scary time for people like myself, who were not able to be tested anonymously without some concern. I mean, under Reagan, lest we forget, there was a time when they were talking about internment camps for people who were HIV positive. To this day I can’t give blood to the Red Cross because I have sex with a man.”

        1. Helen Wilson 7 Mar 2011, 3:48pm

          Would he still describe himself as “an equal opportunity lech”. He smiles, then turns serious again. “On a sliding scale of sexuality I’d place myself around 80-20, but I definitely prefer men to women. I had sex with, and enjoyed sex with, women until I met someone that I fell in love with, and who is now my boyfriend. That’s the only real news in the last 12 years, but when it’s a slow news day I get dragged out of some closet again.”

          For the record, Stipe currently lives in a spacious Tribeca apartment with his partner, Thomas Dozol, an art photographer.

          1. Helen Wilson 7 Mar 2011, 3:48pm

            We talk for a while about the etymology of the word “queer”, and I ask him why he finds it more acceptable than the word “gay”. “I never identified with gay, that’s all. I will always honour anyone who had to make different choices, then stand by them, and I would hope that honour would extend to me and my choices as well. I’m talking about how one chooses to define oneself, the community within which one feels comfortable. That’s what it’s about, really. It’s the 21st century,” he concludes. “A lot of younger people have a much more it-is-what-it-is approach to sexuality. The black and white binary approach just does not work. So you find the terms that make you most comfortable.

  12. Helen Wilson 7 Mar 2011, 3:52pm

    I think you can see Stipe’s comment’s about his sexuality in full are no reflection of the selected comment PinkNews chose to misrepresent him by.

  13. Nathan,
    I think some people consider bisexual to imply more of an equal attraction to both men and woman – which Stipe doesn’t have. If he doesn’t like to refer to himself as ‘gay’ then that’s something that’s up to him and you’ve no right to say otherwise.

    1. *rolls eyes* and some people like to call their cat their dog, but it doesn’t make it so.

      Bisexuals are simply people who are blessed with the inborn capacity to form enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of some other gender. Also, individuals may have a preference for one gender over others. That is all.

      And I must say that certainly sounds to me Exactly like what Michael Stipe was describing.

      1. Sally Goldner 8 Mar 2011, 1:07am

        Bialogue – well said.
        Further, I find it sad that so many people want to tell other people about their lives including another person’s identity.
        Doubly sad is that gay media and gay men (some of whom have commented on this article) have been part of a community that has had homphobes make innaccurate comments about their lives – and then they go and do the same to others.

        Finally, Pinknews – Stripe did not say he was 80% gay, he said was 80-20, which makes him 100% whatever he defines himself as , not what someone else defines him as.

  14. TheSuburban Bi 7 Mar 2011, 6:38pm

    Michael Stipe can and should be left alone to call himself whatever he likes — but jumping on the ‘I hate the label bisexual’ bandwagon kinda seems to judge the rest of us who find it works okay to describe whom we are capable of loving. Also, the vehemence with which people state it highlights more what they are running away from, rather than what they are embracing.

    Nowadays it’s very much the way of things to eschew all labels… but I always find it amusing that few people ever bring up the ‘I hate labels’ mantra until someone asks them if they are bisexual. I don’t hear too many men who only fancy men saying, “Oh yeah, I only 100% fancy men, but I just hate calling myself gay” very much (ok, I’ve actually never heard it); or the same with lesbians (I’ve known one same-sex female couple, civil partners, where neither of them could identify with the word ‘lesbian’).

  15. Paddyswurds 7 Mar 2011, 7:57pm

    ……. he is a selfobsessed creep, wandering backwards and forwards between the genders who thinks that to be gay or indeed bisexual is a choice and i for one detest both him and his crap music……

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  17. People need to really get perspective.

    Rem are nothing like westlife. Westlife are a boyband that make sales with the worst music going just as they are a fad at some point in time.
    So what if the guy is uneasy about his sexuality and Doesent shout about it so do millions.

    1. Paddyswurds 7 Mar 2011, 10:35pm

      @ Adam…if your going to post try making it ledgible and that readers can understand what it is you are trying to say……

      1. Paddyswurds 7 Mar 2011, 10:52pm

        Westlife are an Irish Boyband which was put together by Louis Walsh in 1998. They have since that, sold 40 million albums worldwide. They have had 14 no 1 hits in the UK and regularly fill 100 thousand + stadiums worldwide. Contrary to what some begrudgers say about their music, it is valued and liked by over 40 million people as their sales have proven. Being at the top of their game can hardly be construed as a fad at any point in time. Mark Fehily, the gay band member came out three years after the band formed because, as he said at the time, young people need to know that it is ok to be gay. Numerous young men have come forward over the years to affirm that he was instrumental in saving their lives because of his coming out which gave them courage and showed them they weren’t alone. Westlife are outsold only by Cliff Richards and the Beatles in the UK. Who exactly are REM??

        1. “Who exactly are REM??”

          Hmm lets see…the pioneers of alternative rock formed 7 years before I was born and still releasing original material 30 years on? Who doesn’t know the words to ‘Everybody Hurts’!?

          If there’s a new Westlife album out in March 2028 then I’ll admit there was a valid comparison.

  18. He hates the term bi? I’m pretty sure he used that term often enough before growing the balls to say he liked guys. He’s a tool.

  19. Oh dear why does he feels the need to clarify this for ???
    Is this really important

  20. Oh honey, I am 100pct sure your are gay.

  21. bisexual, trisexual, pansexual, who cares? another self obsessed celeb who loves the sound of his own voice.

  22. Michael for me has always been an honourable individual whose record for politics, human rights, and amazing lyrics and songs speaks volumes – his sexuality whether 80% preference for men or more is irrelevant, if he chooses to define himself in this way is not for us to criticise. Being part of the audience of an REM concert (I have been to well over a 100) isnt concerned with his or other people’s view of how he should define himself. The man is a genius, talented, and I salute him.

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