In most respects, the late singer and actor David Bowie conformed to what I have labeled as the “classic gay boy” syndrome: a boy with a detached and unloving father, certain effeminate traits, and an interest in the arts. Part and parcel with this feeling of loneliness and alienation from the father goes a marked idolization of larger-than-life mythic figures from entertainment, in his case, Bowie repeatedly described his childhood fascination with American rock singers, such as Elvis Presley; and, with the movie star James Dean; he said of Dean: “James Dean epitomized the very thing that is so campily respectable today–the male hustler…He had quite a sordid little reputation. I admire him immensely.” In turn, Bowie, served as a “gay” icon to the generation which followed him, in particular for Boy George, Madonna, and Morrissey; of Bowie, Morrissey said: “When he [Bowie] launched himself on ‘Top of the Pops’ and ‘Lift Off with Ayshea’ singing Starman, there was no doubt that this was fanatically homosexual; it was a darker force and it was in Bowie’s eyes, his mouth, his voice, and it was menace and he really didn’t care at all about dislodging people.”
Bowie remembers his father:
“I could never, ever talk to my father. I really loved him, but we couldn’t talk about anything together. There was this really British thing that being even remotely emotional was absolutely verboten.
I spent so much time in my bedroom. It really was my entire world. I had books up there, my music up there, my record player. Going from my world upstairs out onto the street, I had to pass through this no-man’s-land of the living room, you know, and out the front hall.”
From a 1976 interview with “Playboy” Magazine:
“It’s true–I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well. I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Fun, too…when I was 14, sex suddenly became all-important to me. It didn’t really matter who or what it was with, as long as it was a sexual experience.”
From a 1973 interview:
Interviewer: I remember you saying once that you’ve already have most of the experience that you’re likely to go through in the next 40 years.
Bowie: I feel so—I feel so.
Interviewer: You were through the experiences perhaps but…
Bowie: Yeah—I went through a lot of experiences. I’ve been through a lot as a boy, as a teenager and I’m still going through them now and there is no stop.
Interviewer: This “growing up before one’s time” can at times lead to any amount of various functional disorders.
Other broken boys: