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May 09 2020
RIP Little Richard — The Queer Architect Of Rock Dies @ 87 Comments (0)

GiphyHe once said he invented being gay as well as rock! (GIF via GIPHY)

Little Richard died today at 87, following many years of ill health. Full obit for the rock legend here.

Richard's story is the story of religion vs. queer identity. He said he was put out of his family home for being gay as a kid, and was bullied for being effeminate, yet in the '40s was performing in drag and experimenting with truly outrageous style, both of which were in direct contrast with his deeply religious upbringing.

He invented rock with “Tutti Frutti,” a song that was explicitly gay until the lyrics were changed to make it palatable.

Before the '50s were over, Richard had already begun to feel the push and pull, and left secular music to become a preacher. He later went back to it, but that struggle never left him.

Here he is saying, at 51, he was done with rock:

Listen to him with Joan Rivers, in which he admits he was gay ... but then jokes (?) about Adam & Steve and implies he was celibate at the time:

Here he is in 1997, speaking about being close with women as the reason he dressed so flamboyantly:

I don't want to give the Christian nuts any views, but in 2017, he renounced gay and transgender people. I agree with this guy: