Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Michael Stipe (R.E.M.)

As lead singer for R.E.M., Michael Stipe (b. 1960) headed one of the most influential alternative rock bands of the 1980s and ‘90s. R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, in recognition of having produced a string of classic hits such as Losing My Religion, It’s The End of the World As We Know It, The One I Love, Man on the Moon and Everybody Hurts – a testament to Stipe’s unique style of singing and songwriting ability. R.E.M.’s debut album, Murmur (1983) received critical acclaim, beating out Michael Jackson’s Thriller for Album of the Year in the Rolling Stone Critic’s Poll. In 1996, R.E.M. signed the largest contract of its kind with Warner Brothers Records, valued at $80 million.

After Stipe wore a hat in 1992 that proclaimed, “White House Stop AIDS,” rumors began circulating about his sexual orientation. At the time Stipe responded that he was an “equal opportunity lech,” and did not call himself gay, straight or bisexual. In 1994 he stated publicly that he was attracted to, and had relationships with, both men and women. Finally Stipe ended years of speculation by coming out in Time magazine in 2001. He revealed that he had been in a three-year relationship with an amazing man and referred to himself as a queer artist. He divulged that he felt that public figures and celebrities should be open about their sexuality in order to “help kids somewhere out there.” Subsequently Stipes became known for his social and political activism – all the while turning out hit after hit, featuring his surreal lyrics.

On September 21, 2011, the members of R.E.M. announced their retirement in a news release on the band’s website. The band had been performing for thirty-one years, and Stipe was 51 years old.

To our Fans and Friends: 
As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening – R.E.M.

Bad Day (2006)

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