Michael Stipe on Lou Reed

Also part of the tribute to Lou Reed in Rolling Stone are twenty or so contributions from various people in music and the arts. The one from Michael Stipe is interesting, pointing out something I wasn’t really aware of:

[Lou Reed] was the first queer icon of the 21st century, 30 years before it even began.

As early as the late 1960s, Lou proclaimed with beautifully confusing candidness a much more 21st-century understanding of a fluid, moving sexuality. He saw beyond – and lived outside – a society locked into a simplistic straight/gay binary division. Through his public persona, his art and music, he boldly refused labels, very publicly mixing things up and providing a “Whoa, that’s possible?” avenue of sexual exploration and identity examination, all with whip-smart nonchalance. He was indefinable, he was other, he was outside of society. He spearheaded a new cool, and he did not care if you “got it” or not. Lots of people did get it…

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