Today it’s not a big deal when a musician comes out of the closet. “He or she is gay? Okay. Whatever.” But it wasn’t always this way.
Take the experience of the first-ever openly gay rock star. Any idea who that might have been? His name was Bruce Wayne Campbell who adopted the stage name of “Jobriath.” He was California singer who signed a major deal in 1973. His career was launched with great fanfare, including a $200,000 billboard in Times Square.
In interviews, he referred to himself as “a true fairy,” which, for 1973, was a pretty radical thing to do. Unfortunately, this honesty worked against him and he quickly sunk into obscurity and died of AIDs at the age of 37 on August 3, 1983.
It took until almost a full decade into the 21st century before the music industry as a whole began to acknowledge Jobriath’s role as rock’s first openly gay performer.