I have loved Elton John since I was little. My dad would play mix tapes in his 1998 Plum Mist Corolla, and one had two of his songs on it: “Your Song” and “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.” Pretty standard and very popular songs, but I liked them. They were different than anything else I had ever heard. They were a mix of rock and pop, with a little bit of musical theatre. Yet, they were only on piano, they only had one voice, and they were unbelievably honest. I also knew Elton John as that Lion King singer, which was definitely not a bad thing in my book. When I started to buy CDs and become generally obsessed with music, I purchased a Greatest Hits collection, and I started to really enjoy Elton John’s music. I discovered the songs that were popular but that I wasn’t aware of and I found some of his lesser known tracks as well.
It only occurred to me later, when I was older – I don’t know how I found out – that Elton John was gay. It didn’t matter to me. I guess I didn’t see the significance of someone in the spotlight being so open about their sexuality. I never listened to his music because he was homosexual, and I didn’t stop listening because of that either. Maybe his sound, style and overall persona were affected by his sexual orientation, but this is not something I took into account—especially at such a young age.
But around the time when I did discover that Elton John was gay, I also found out about other musicians, actors, celebrities, writers, and general pop culture figures that were also identifying with a different sexual orientation than heterosexual. It’s not that my gaydar was bad, it’s just that I was too young to realize, and probably too young to care. Maybe I was surprised by some of these reveals, but it never changed anything for me as I continued to listen to their music, watch their films and read their work.
It’s a scary thought when you feel as though your identity is slipping away from you.
The one thing that you are supposed to be sure of is your identity. At a certain point, you realize who you are. What makes you truly you. All the likes, dislikes, and facets of your personality…these come together and create your identity. From your favourite movie to your sexual orientation to your religious beliefs to your pastimes.
It’s a scary thought when you feel as though your identity is slipping away from you when you were so sure of something and it turned out to be false.
But I wasn’t lying to myself.
I was sure, and then things just changed.
Not all of a sudden one day, not overnight.
Gradually, I started to realize.
I wasn’t lying to myself and I was never lying to any of them.
I loved them and the feelings were real.
But things just changed.
I grew into something else.
I figured it out.
What I wanted, or needed, or both: to be happy.
I am still me. I haven’t changed. Sure, what I was in the past is still a large part of my personality, it’s important to me, but I haven’t changed. I’m still proud of the community I was part of. I still support and understand them. I still consider myself there, but as an honorary member. I’m a bit different now. Different, but still the same.
Maybe it was easier to accept before, but for those who don’t want to or can’t handle it now, kindly let yourself out.
Because I don’t want to tolerate the awkwardness, the offensive comments or the dirty glares.
For those who understand, please stay.
I came out once, and then I came out again.
So maybe it wasn’t graceful. I didn’t burst out of the closet, or came out running.
I was precarious. Tip-toeing out.
1976: Elton John comes out as bisexual.
2008: I start coming out as bisexual.
2011: I officially come out as bisexual.
1988: Elton John comes out as gay.
2013: I come out as gay/lesbian.
(Am I Elton John?)
Julie Foster is an artist….or at least she claims to be. Originally from Toronto, she enjoys reading, writing, theatre, playing the banjo, and all things Muppet-related.