Morrissey’s Sexual Orientation Is the Least Interesting Thing About Morrissey


We haven’t got our copy of the Morrissey biography yet — it’s coming back on a plane from London sometime tomorrow — but like everyone else on this side of the Atlantic who hasn’t got a questionable ebook hook-up or a friend in England who’s quick on the express-mail action, we at Flavorwire have been devouring the various excerpts and quote roundups that have appeared on the web so far. There’s been plenty to discuss, but most of the attention seems focused on the singer’s “revelation” that he had a two-year relationship with one Jake Walters at some point during the 1990s. This has been widely taken as confirming that Morrissey is capital-g Gay, so much so that he felt it necessary to clarify that he isn’t: “I am not homosexual. In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans. But, of course, not many.” Is he gay? Isn’t he? Who cares? And why are we even arguing about this?

It’s really rather astonishing that in 2013, people are still trying to pigeonhole others’ sexualities. After all, the Kinsey scale has existed for some 65 years, and outside of the world of Christian fundamentalists and other dogmatists, it’s not exactly a radical idea that human sexuality is fluid and constantly evolving, defying both neat categorization and definitive labels. The words “gay” and “straight” are both simplistic and exclusive; the idea that we can all be put into neat little boxes, where we remain for the rest of our lives, is hopelessly outmoded and rarely reflected in reality. Sure, some people are entirely homosexual and some entirely heterosexual. Most of us fall somewhere between those two poles.

Including, it appears, Morrissey. As is entirely his prerogative, he’s remained tight-lipped about his preferences for his entire career — but still, it’s hardly a shocking revelation that he’s apparently had at least one affair with a man. And really, who cares? As a society, we seem to have a prurient yet ultimately quite boring and banal obsession with being able to place celebrities in boxes (see also the constant speculation about Kevin Spacey, and the questions that dogged Michael Stipe for years, and so on).

As a result, people have been arguing about Morrissey’s sexuality for decades — which is unfortunate, because it’s pretty much the least interesting thing about the man. And yet, here we still are, three decades into his career: his comments have been reported everywhere in the past several days, “ending years of speculation,” and the Guardian is even holding an open forum to address such burning questions as, “Is Morrissey right in refusing to pigeonhole his sexuality? Is our sexuality simple enough to be confined to binary categories? Does it change over time?”

I can answer all those three questions for you right now: “Yes,” “no,” and “yes.” The end. By the sounds of it, Morrissey’s book raises plenty of topics worthy of discussion — his experiences of depression, his childhood, his curious preference for the present tense, his borderline pathological hatred for the admittedly hateful Julie Burchill — but the fact that such a singular individual would also have a singular approach to sexuality isn’t really one of them. If Morrissey says he’s not gay, then he’s not gay. End of story.