Bowie may have had a massive effect on me, but his impact on the rest of the world cannot be understated. His revolutionary music challenged and then changed the face of popular music. His flamboyant individuality confronted and then changed the face of fashion. And the way he tackled sexuality made enormous ripples in a time when LGBT people were those to be feared. Initially he came out as gay, then bisexual, then simply as 'promiscuous'. He presented a fluidity of sexuality that the world had talked about but not seen before, but Bowie was unabashed and unashamed. He was only going to be who he wanted to be and because of his talent, people began to realise that they simply didn't care. He, like Freddie Mercury, somehow transcended homophobia itself and received acceptance from a society that didn't realise they were ready for him.
Defying and defining our modern ideas of gendered performance, he didn't just push boundaries, he reinvented the very concept of them. And with songs like 'Starman', 'Space Oddity', 'Changes', 'Just Dance' and 'Life On Mars' in his back catalogue, he had the goods to match the packaging. On Friday, Bowie released his twenty-fifth studio album, which, heard in retrospect, is a haunting commentary of a man dying from cancer. The Queen of Reinvention long before Madonna appeared, Bowie's iconography is everywhere in pop culture; from the distinctive talk-singing he made his modus operandi, through to the iconic thunderbolt on his face. He fused Queer Culture and Pop Culture long before it was cool, but his legend stood on its own two feet. So what if he wouldn't define his sexuality? So what if he played with gender on stage? Nobody cared one iota, because Bowie was above definition and above our judgement. He became one of the greatest gay icons of all time and he was exactly what my fifteen year-old self needed.