Boy George Hangs Up On ‘Gender Bender’ Questioning


Boy George shut down a radio host in a most awesome way. After a series of tone-deaf questions from Fran Kelly of Australia’s ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program, The Boy responded with a deafening click, dial tone, buh-bye. 

The Culture Club singer was promoting his band’s upcoming tour and a stint as guest judge on The Voice Australia, when Kelly laid into the star with a series of tone-deaf, poorly researched questions on the pop singer’s gender self-identification. Kelly, who is known as an aggressive radio personality, didn’t waste time in veering the conversation towards one topic – if Boy George thought his, “gender bending” adversely affected children in the 1980’s. “Talking about your looks, talking about the sensation you were because of your make-up, your clothes, your outrageousness,” the radio personality continued, “I don’t remember if you were openly gay back then, but, like David Bowie before you, you were certainly celebrated for being ‘gender bending.’ You were a ‘gender bender’.”

The outspoken icon, never one to hold his tongue, was not having Kelly’s goading and fired back, “You keep referring to me in the past context and we’re actually talking in real time.” After Kelly persisted, Boy George was done, “You’re boring me, good bye,” he snapped back and hung up. Shortly after the interrogation, Boy took to social media explaining, “Sometimes it feels like a person has a rigid script and view of you that is fixed. It was zero to do with the questions.”

A bit of research by Kelly would’ve better prepared the radio host for her interview, as her series of questions ignored the singer’s already on-the-record statements on his identification and offensively insinuated that the singer’s ‘look’ was the source of his fame, not his acclaimed body of work.  

Boy George had opened up about his queer identity, stating in the 2006 documentary The Madness of Boy George that he considered himself “militantly gay.” The declaration was meant to confirm his gay pride, in response to the infamous coyness with which he neither denied nor confirmed his homosexuality in the 1980’s. As talk-show host Russell Harty explained, the pop icon’s androgyny and outrageousness was enough to set loose the wrath of homophobia, which as Harty noted, “he had to wear a bulletproof vest because of the death threats,” adding that, “with admirable insouciance, he worried that it made him ‘look chunky.’”

Had Kelly done her research, she might have learned that as the Huffington Post noted in an interview with Boy George in 2014, ‘he created a genderqueer image, before genderqueer was a word’. The incomparable and individualistic pop star himself explained the vulnerability in being who he was, “I’ve always said that drag is a kind of butch thing to do because it’s putting your head on the chopping block.”

The results of the historic national Australian plebiscite vote on marriage equality are set to be revealed tomorrow, November 15. We’re hoping someone other than Fran Kelly will cover the historic story for ABC Radio.


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