A trailer for the Freddie Mercury biopic has caused a stir by avoiding references to the Queen singer’s bisexuality – how would we do the same to other famous queer figures?
This week’s release of the trailer for Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has rightfully ruffled a few feather boas. Devoid of any references of Mercury’s bisexuality or the AIDS crisis, if the trailer is anything to go by this might as well be a film about any of classic rock’s array of hetero dudes.
Undoubtedly, this is queer erasure in action. Writing Freddie Mercury’s sexuality and the cause of his death out of a film about him is a little bit like a remake of Titanic with no references to icebergs. Or ships. So helpfully – I think – I’ve written some alternative, straightwased plots for potential/existing biopics about some other LGBTQ icons.
Marlene Dietrich
German silent film actress takes on Hollywood while entirely avoiding top hats. All of her tempestuous relationships are with men. Her and fellow red blooded straight gal Greta Garbo are the best of frenemies. At no point during/after her life is she idolised by homosexuals.
James Baldwin
African American man writes on the struggle of being African American. He doesn’t struggle with anything else as far as we know. For the foremost writings on the toxic intersection between racism and homophobia, you’ll have to look elsewhere I’m afraid. He never goes to France.
k.d. lang
Quirky short-haired Canadian musician is involved in some kind of activism, but mostly just wins loads of awards. Lang to be played by Reese Witherspoon. Go easy on the men’s suits.
George Michael
Popstar and enjoyer of brisk walks on Hampstead heath, George Michael, keeps on getting arrested for littering. Luckily this doesn’t interfere with his generic charity work that related in some way to public health, but details schmetials, right?
Oscar Wilde
Victorian banter merchant writes plays. None of them are about a pretty boy and just how pretty the pretty boy is. Marries a woman. Ends up in Reading Prison for “gross indecency” which means telling one too many fart jokes. What a lad.
Ellen DeGeneres
Attractive blonde woman compromises hugely successful TV career by getting a short haircut before America is ready for short-haired women in sitcoms. Makes a comeback when the US becomes a bit less short hair-phobic. Regularly seen eating exsanguinating slabs of beef. DeGeneres to be played by Portia de Rossi.
Harvey Milk
Man becomes the first elected official in Californian history to be out as being named after a dairy product. Which is surprisingly difficult as, up until very recently, it had been illegal to be named after a dairy product. Milk is eventually assassinated by militant vegans.
Dude dresses up as a woman for a joke.
Why is Labour’s one day music festival so bad? Jeremy Corbyn and his party racked up an astonishing array of endorsements from talented and exciting musicians during the election, but the most exciting star due to play at LabourLive – designed as a thank you to party activists for their work in the general election – are the Magic Numbers, a band whose ability to pull in major crowds has waned in recent years.
As Kevin Schofield reports over at PoliticsHome, the result has been a festival that is struggling to sell tickets. It’s strange as Corbyn’s musical supporters include artists as talented and varied as Stormzy, Enter Shikari, and Lily Allen.
The problem is that Corbynites in Labour HQ were split on the issue. Some were passionately excited by the scheme, while others thought it was a waste of time. The compromise measure was to run a festival but without any money to book acts, which meant that the biggest names had to politely decline.

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