How George Michael Cured My Homophobia

I really need to get this off my chest before the man drops dead and I’m accused of pandering to a dead celeb.

Between the ages of roughly 15-17, I was a bonafide homophobe. Coincidentally, this was around the same time I found religion.

My friends & stalkers know that I grew up in the secular winter wonderland known as Russia (1985-1995) raised by parents so far removed from faith that I thought we were Hindu till the age of 9 (the family is muslim-lite). I grew up sans indoctrination, with my only connection to religion being comic books about hindu gods, who were the X-Men before there were X-Men.

Whatever you do, don’t ask Shiva about his ‘3rd eye’. He makes the worst puns.

All that changed after spending a few years in India and Bangladesh, where my tendency to describe 4-handed gods and illiterate messiahs as “fairy tales” – along with an unhealthy dependence on science and reasoning – was a massive social liability. Day after day, week after week, in mosques, in temples, in schools, at home or in public, the gays and the jews (more on that later) were portrayed as morally corrupt western invaders, ruthless in their single-minded effort to destroy your life and convert you to homosexuality and blood sacrifices to the tune of Boyzone. Homos are bad, unnatural errors of creation, and they must be punished.  The system got inside your head early and never went off-message. Slowly but surely, I bought what they were selling. Burn the fags.

Make no mistake, one didn’t need a grand stage to spout such “wisdom”, for these notions were so deeply embedded in society that they were taken as facts that require no emphasis. It simply was, and every so often, you’d hear a reminder from a cleric or your schoolteacher or your girlfriend. Boy did I ever hate the gays.

Then one day, I channel surfed onto a George Michael interview. I was a fan and this was pre-3rd-world-internet, so very few knew that he had already been outed as an Evil Gay Overlord. Plus this was a rerun of a TV special from the 90s and as far as I knew, he was a superstar superstud. A Hetero Hero. You get the idea. I thought he liked pussy.

Early 90s Straight


It was an absolute tear-jerker of an interview. Through heavy pauses, GM spoke of his mother, what her presence at his unplugged show meant to him, and the gut-wrenching pain of losing her to cancer. I learned that he wrote “Jesus To A Child” in memory of a lost love who years ago had succumbed to a brain haemorrhage; a special someone still on his mind every single day. As a hormonal teen in the throes of on-again-off-again puppy love myself, I was glad there wasn’t anyone else around to watch me bawl like a little girl as they played a few verses of that song. This guy GETS ME. Why is love so hard? I got something in my eye DONTLOOKATME. He was going through an unmitigated nightmare in his personal life and the suffering was etched on his face.

Then they displayed a picture of the object of his affection – his deceased lover.

Anselmo Feleppa.


My jaw dropped. It actually, literally, hung suspended in mid-air for a full minute. I did not understand what I was seeing.

As I sat there in stunned silence, it slowly dawned on me. George Michael was no demon. There was nothing inhuman about him at all. His pain was no different than anyone else’s. He was just another guy who lost someone he loved. There was nothing sinister nor devious about it. There was no evil gay agenda, no plan to turn me into a buttlovin’ queer. He just happened to be in love with a man. He was heartbroken, and his mother had recently died. And holy shit, when I thought he was straight, I could actually RELATE. Then what’s so dangerous about him that we must exterminate his kind?

Within a span of 30 minutes, I went from a raging homophobe to a rational human being. Just. Like. That. It made sense now. People are different, and as long as they don’t force their beliefs onto each other, we can live our lives penetrating whatever orifices we fancy. If gays are normal, even talented mother-loving (you know what I mean) humans who can hurt like me, then what else did the system get wrong? Do the Jews really thirst for my blood? Is Jihad necessary?  Was vehicular Voltron really the Antichrist?

The game was over. I never quite forgot the disgust I felt towards those who promoted such lies. I understood 3 basic truths – Homophobia is wrong. Religion is a sham. And people really suck at thinking for themselves.

Homophobia is only possible when you systematically strip the humanity from a gay person’s identity, and that’s what “civil” society did and still does in almost every corner of the world. Before my western readers smile a self-congratulatory smile, or eastern readers fire up an angry retort or effigy, remember that this is a problem of SCALE. While homophobia is now unacceptable in the west, it is still alive and well in schools across North America. I can’t recall which comedian tweeted this – and I really want to say Bill Maher – but chew on this paraphrased bit of wisdom – If todays youth are so tolerant, why do they still bully gay kids?

Baby Boomers – Are They Dead Yet?

AKA: Trickle Down Theory And Other Fairy Tales

When I was your age, I *worked* and *saved* for school, a home and a jacuzzi. You lot are spoiled and lazy. Get a job instead of complaining all day.”  – Baby Boomer Logic

Trickle Down Theory – If you reward the most successful members of society (corporations & the rich) via tax breaks and friendly laws, the subsequent benefits will reach all sectors of life. The benevolent Successful Class will reinvest their savings, create more jobs, grow their companies and spend money in your local coffee shop. They’re gonna make it rain y’all!

This experiment started in the 80s and is as flawed today as the initial opposition expected. THIS IS GRADE-A BULLSHIT. Today’s politicians claim that begrudging this unbalanced system is Class Warfare (OH NOES). It’s warfare alright, but Class has nothing to do with it. It’s Generational Warfare.

That’s right, blame old people. I fucking said it. Baby Boomers are currently in charge – from leaders of major corporations to influence-peddlers to most heads of state, they echo their Boomer values: pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and work for your own success. Solid idea. However they forgot one crucial detail: opportunity. They grew up in an economic paradise :  the post-war world in the 50’s was a time of cheap higher education, affordable healthcare and a veritable buffet of jobs. University didn’t cost a limb, you didn’t need 3 years slaving at Starbucks to pay off tuition, nor did the title of Head Barista seem like the only career option in a world where teens and seniors competed for the same damn job. Boomers literally tripped over employment options after graduating, and once you worked for The Company, The Company took care of you. A small town nobody could become a Big Shot, and quite often that is exactly how it went. Kudos. Hell, with opportunities knocking on your door like Jehovah’s Witnesses, even a complete moron could become President.

Boomers developed a misguided belief that their success came purely from their hard work, business savvy and innate superiority. Never experiencing the hardships their Nazi-killing parents endured during the Great Depression, they developed a sense of entitlement from their overblown exploits in a Time of Plenty. Nobody did me favors, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps. There’s a good fucking reason they’re called The Clueless Generation. They grew up in Paradise but convinced themselves it was a Trial by Fire.

What did they do with their bounty? In their capacity as CEOs & Presidents & VOTERS, they made it harder for upcoming generations to attain the same heights. They spent their entire lives believing in their personal prowess and grew a selfish streak we are paying for to this day. Imma get what’s mine bitch. They took their misguided self-confidence and built barriers for others. They used their positions of power and influence to reshape the law to benefit ONLY THEMSELVES. Cost of education skyrocketed, so enjoy your crippling debt. Tax laws were remoulded to favor the Top and squeeze the Middle, so we bail them out after they lose OUR money. The MAJORITY of wages stagnated and the needs of corporations superseded the national interest of every country. This self-centered philosophy is why 99% of the planet is suffering through an unrelenting recession. It is now harder than ever to move from one economic class to the next (class mobility), unless you’re heading downwards.

But their argument remains – If they could do it all on their own, so can you. With fewer opportunities. And less education. Oh and fuck health insurance, privacy and basic freedoms (SOPA anyone?)

I cannot wait for this generation to go extinct.