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Subject: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: Donnie Darko on 03/04/06 at 1:06 am

Granted, people in the '80s were quite homophobic, but does anyone think the decade paved the way for the (well, increased) acceptance of homosexuality?

People like Boy George, George Michael, the Duran Duran guys (hahaha), the cross-dressing, boys in make-up, etc.  I wonder if this nullified people somewhat to homosexuality.

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: whistledog on 03/04/06 at 2:03 am


Were the '80s a decade for gay people?


Well, since you were born in 1990, I'm gonna say no ;D ;D ;D

I'm just razzin ya ;D

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: robby76 on 03/04/06 at 4:07 am

It's a bit of a generalisation, but every decade should become more tolerable as things become the norm. So yes the 80's was better for gay people. Same can be said for feminism and racism. However this works best in developed nations. In other countries things can go backwards... terrorism, extremists etc.

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: Nostalgic on 03/04/06 at 9:00 am

For a time during the '80s, it became moderately acceptable for guys to wear make up and have big hairstyles, thanks to several male British singers wearing make up and having big hair as part of their image. Think Duran Duran, Nik Kershaw, Robert Smith from the Cure, and of course, Boy George.

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: Trimac20 on 03/04/06 at 10:26 am

The 80s were certainly a decade when homosexuality became more mainstream in the media (Elton John, Boy George.etc 'came out' in the 80s) as well as in society as a whole. I don't think you could identify the 80s as a decade so much with homosexuality, but more that it brought awareness to the social issues regarding 'gay people.'

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: Satish on 03/04/06 at 11:15 am

And don't forget the way Michael Jackson dressed!

But you know, there were guys who dressed and styled themselves in a feminine way in earlier decades. Remember how David Bowie looked in the 70s? And the 60s was when all the hippie guys started growing their hair long. Before that, only women were supposed to have long hair.

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: velvetoneo on 03/04/06 at 4:54 pm

The '70s was the decade when gay men started breaking out of the closet, but in the '80s being gay started reaching more mainstream life and becoming acceptable there as baby boomers started to dominate society. But it was also, from the mid-80s on, anyway, a much less fun decade for gay people due to the AIDS epidemic...alot of people found out more people were gay than they thought the hard way. My mom's doctor died of AIDS in the early '90s, a nice Jewish boy who she had a crush on. But yes, gay things and people became more mainstream acceptable, though the disco/leather/extreme promiscuity '70s scene was totally dead by the mid-late '80s. AIDS made gay life so much less fun...the late '70s was like one giant coming-out-of-the-closet party for gays all across America.

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: Marty McFly on 03/05/06 at 1:35 am


Granted, people in the '80s were quite homophobic, but does anyone think the decade paved the way for the (well, increased) acceptance of homosexuality?

People like Boy George, George Michael, the Duran Duran guys (hahaha), the cross-dressing, boys in make-up, etc.  I wonder if this nullified people somewhat to homosexuality.


Good description -- yeah, I think gay acceptance probably began with all the cultural and mindset changes in the late '60s, picked up in the mid/late '70s (esp. the Disco lifestyle, as others have pointed out), but it started getting mainstream in the '80s.

I think it reached more liberally minded people and cities (i.e. San Francisco), but the "average" person circa 1985, may still have faced some discrimination for "coming out" if that makes any sense.

P.S. I wonder which had a bigger impact - Boy George being a "woman" or Annie Lennox being a "man"? ;D

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: Trimac20 on 03/05/06 at 5:20 am

Annie Lennox is a man? (don't really know who she is) lol,

Yeah, the whole thing about hedonism/promiscuity etc associated with the late 70s/early 80s reminds me of Disco Tex and the Sexolettes, The Village people, and those really weird kinky parties Freddie Mercury used to have. There was some pretty freaky stuff going on by the sounds of it...

I can't really imagine a show like 'Queer as Folk' or 'The L-Word' being shown before the 80s though.

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: robby76 on 03/05/06 at 5:22 am

I also think Jack Tripper being a supposed gay man in "Three's Company" helped with the acceptance from the late 70s onwards.

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: velvetoneo on 03/05/06 at 7:46 am


Good description -- yeah, I think gay acceptance probably began with all the cultural and mindset changes in the late '60s, picked up in the mid/late '70s (esp. the Disco lifestyle, as others have pointed out), but it started getting mainstream in the '80s.

I think it reached more liberally minded people and cities (i.e. San Francisco), but the "average" person circa 1985, may still have faced some discrimination for "coming out" if that makes any sense.

P.S. I wonder which had a bigger impact - Boy George being a "woman" or Annie Lennox being a "man"? ;D


I agree with that. Gay acceptance became more average in the early-mid '80s or so, and certainly by the late '80s, gay people were much more accepted. Of course, there was the backlash against the "gay agenda" by televangelists and the religious right and such, and the "AIDS was sent down by God" stuff. The whole division between the two helped create the liberal-conservative divide that is today almost irreparable.

The gay scene was bigger in the '70s, the gay scene as an isolationist thing reached its peak in the late '70s and the early '80s, but by the mid-'80s gay acceptance began to break out of the scene and into everyday life.

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: ultraviolet52 on 03/05/06 at 9:11 pm

The 80's definetly brought it out mainly because of the onset of AIDS becoming so prevelant and the connection between the two.

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: lleelee on 03/05/06 at 9:14 pm

I think the  80s music scene will always have that homosexual overtones. I was only in my teens when alot of the British groups made it big in the U.S.  I first started watching Mtv in 1982 and I remember seeing Boy George for the first time and no I didnt question his sexuality I guess I was too young. The signs were certainly there. Some artists particularly the British had a soft image in those days and they werent afraid to express their own feminine/masculine side.  Mtv was virtually a new station so they aired their videos on heavy rotation. Its easy to dismiss the 80s pop scene as gay music because alot 80s artists today have come out the closet. George Micheal, Pet Shop Boys, Frankie goes to Hollywood(pretty obvious), Erasure, Dead or Alive and General Public had members come out the closet. Its easy to criticize music scene back then but it just open the door for widespread gay acceptance. :)

Subject: Re: Were the '80s a decade for gay people?

Written By: velvetoneo on 03/05/06 at 10:07 pm


I think the  80s music scene will always have that homosexual overtones. I was only in my teens when alot of the British groups made it big in the U.S.  I first started watching Mtv in 1982 and I remember seeing Boy George for the first time and no I didnt question his sexuality I guess I was too young. The signs were certainly there. Some artists particularly the British had a soft image in those days and they werent afraid to express their own feminine/masculine side.  Mtv was virtually a new station so they aired their videos on heavy rotation. Its easy to dismiss the 80s pop scene as gay music because alot 80s artists today have come out the closet. George Micheal, Pet Shop Boys, Frankie goes to Hollywood(pretty obvious), Erasure, Dead or Alive and General Public had members come out the closet. Its easy to criticize music scene back then but it just open the door for widespread gay acceptance. :)


Yeah, the '80s British music scene was very gay...Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Boy George, Morrissey, the New Romantics, et. al. That British invasion seemed to be very gay-influenced.

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