Arts & entertainment
49 min

David Bowie’s influence on queer culture

How the Starman flipped the script on gender and sexuality in pop culture

News of David Bowie’s death at age 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer has shocked the world — which somehow seems appropriate since he continuously shocked the planet throughout his six-decade career as a singer, musician, actor and artist.

He was the starman who fell to earth with a mission to defy all the rules of music, pop culture, gender and sexuality by openly exploring ideas of what it is to be human.

Bowie became an instant gay icon through his music, chameleonic fashion, film career and personal life. Pinknews.com published an excellent little piece on the history of the artist’s swaying of sexual orientations throughout the years, as his identity ranged from gay to bisexual to simply “incredibly promiscuous.”

To celebrate the legend of our favourite un-earthly icon, we’ve put together a list of his most influential queer moments. Not only did David Bowie impact queer culture around the world, he often steered it, flipped it on its head and made everyone, gay or otherwise, re-think sexuality.

“Starman” on Top of the Pops

David Bowie and Klaus Nomi perform “Keep the boys Swinging”

Bowie speaks about his sexuality on the Jonathan Ross show

Bowie and Iman. Enough said.

Bowie and his famous men:

Lou Reed 

Mick Jagger

Bowie and his famous divas:

Grace Jones

Tina Turner

Mick Jagger

Queen and Annie Lennox

Bowie and his bulge in Labyrinth

Bowie as Ziggy

Bowie as the Thin White Duke

New wave Bowie with “Let’s Dance,” which was produced by Nile Rogers of Chic

(Blackstar) His 25th album, released Friday, Jan 8, 2016, two days before his death. A perfectly dramatic goodbye present to the world.