22 years ago today, on what would have been his 67th birthday, Freddie Mercury became the first rock star to die due to complications relating to AIDS
The Queen front man is still regarded as a musical genius today, well known for his flamboyant stage performances and wide ranging musical interests, even being the writer of the catchiest song ever. It’s hard to not know at least a handful of Queen songs.
Likely his biggest legacy however is what he’s done for AIDS awareness and in turn helping society’s view on homosexuality change.
France decriminalise homosexuailty in 1791 becoming the Western European country to do so, while we were running around the world blowing things up and generally winning at things, the French were beating us at LGBT rights, their actions were only matched by our government in 1967, although most of our overseas territories, the channel islands and the rest of the UK had to wait differencing amount of times for homosexuality to be no longer considered a criminal offence, but we got there in the end.
A good example how attitudes have changed would be the Chris Bryant incident, found to be a subscriber to the online gay dating site, Gaydar accompanied by a photo of him in his Y fronts. Imagine if 30 years ago (and assume they had the internet back then) something similar had happened they would’ve been hounded out of political office never to return – however the most offence thing about the whole incident was the fact he chose Y front, which only 3% of women like. Apparently. Compare that to the treatment of Peter Wildeblood. Now however, MP wannabes can be openly gay and stand outside the traditional areas like Brighton.
The trend is continued in the United States. The US hardly has a reputation of being a gay friendly place, but there’s proof that the States are getting better at not hating things. In 2001 73% of Americans knew someone who was homosexual (or bisexual); in 1983 this figure was just 24%. As of November 2013 33% of the US population live in an area where you have access to gay marriage, that’s only 104,621,550 people. Only.
Opposition is changed from supporting re criminalisation to opposing civil partnerships onwards to opposing Same Sex Marriage. When your opponents are getting more and more liberal, it’s surely must be a sign of improvement. Yougov finding that 54% of the British public support Same Sex Marriage, this may seem like to some still a dream, but in the summer of 2014, two men or two women will be able to enter into a marriage that hold the exact same legal rights as their straight counterparts.
We live in a time where some are even starting to question the need of ‘coming out of the closet’; finally we are starting to hit an age where there needn’t be a grand ceremony of worry. We’re beginning to enter a better period where being homosexual is considered exactly what it is, normal.
I think Freddie would be proud of that.