Bowie: coming out, from Dylan Jones’s “David Bowie: A Life”

From the very recently published “David Bowie: A Life” by Dylan Jones:

On January 22, 1972, on the cusp of fame, Bowie told Melody Maker’s Michael Watts he was “gay, and always have been.”

MICHAEL WATTS (JOURNALIST): I think he did it deliberately. He definitely felt it would be good copy. He was certainly aware of the impact it would make. I think he’d had a relationship with a man at some point in his life. I think it was something [his manager Tony Defries] encouraged. He understood the news value of something like that. I was aware of a changed mood towards gay people, not just in rock, but in culture as a whole. Bowie was very alluring. You couldn’t help but feel he had a hell of a lot of magnetism. It was a mixture of film-star and rock-star appeal—he was so much better-looking than other rock stars. We met in his publisher’s office, in Regent Street. He was dolled-up as Ziggy—skintight pantsuit; big hair; huge, red plastic boots—dazzling. Only recently had he stopped wearing a dress—“a man’s dress,” he elaborated. He was slightly flirtatious, and made me uncomfortable with myself. “Camp as a row of tents,” I wrote. Soon he was coming out to me. “I’m gay,” he said, “and always have been, even when I was David Jones.”

JOHN LYDON (SINGER): Around Ziggy Stardust, Dave Bowie was an absolute full-on “I’m a homosexual.” That was his image. And it was as challenging to the world as you could ever hope to be at this point, and that was a damn brave statement to make. And yobs, hooligans, basically working-class guys really liked him for the bravery, for the front of it. It was taking on the world, going, That’s what I am and fuck you! A very, very good thing.

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