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Gately, Stephen (1976-2009)  
page: 1  2  3  

Bands that break up very rarely reunite, but the singers of Boyzone—boys no more—did just that with a charity performance for Children in Need in November 2007. They then embarked on a reunion tour and put out another album, Back Again . . . No Matter What (2008).

The video for one of the songs on the album, "Better," featured Gately embracing Cowles in a montage of romantic couples, according their gay relationship equal status with the heterosexual relationships of the other band members.

The video sparked some controversy, with a Northern Ireland Presbyterian minister, the Reverend David McCullough, charging that it was "yet another subtle effort of the homosexual propaganda machine."

While the sales of recordings and concert tickets did not match the extraordinary levels of Boyzone's heyday, they were nevertheless impressive. After this success, the group began recording another album with a planned release date of 2010.

Gately was also working on another project, a children's fantasy book entitled The Tree of Seasons that had been some four years in the writing. He was excited to land a publishing deal for it in May 2009. His last Twitter post some five months later was about putting the finishing touches on it.

Gately died of acute pulmonary edema on October 10, 2009 at the holiday home that he and Cowles shared in Port Andratx, Majorca.

Expressions of shock and sympathy poured in. Former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern stated, "The Gatelys are in my own constituency. I know the family, I know Stephen. . . . Boyzone and Stephen, they've all been part of Irish life and far wider than that for the last fifteen years, and so successful, so it's a huge, huge tragedy."

Gately's bandmates spoke of their affection for him and the magnitude of his loss. "Stephen was one of the best," said Graham. "He wasn't just a friend to us, he was a brother. We've lost our brother."

Sir Elton John told the press, "David and I are stunned by this tragedy," and added an assessment of Gately's nature that would be echoed by one friend and colleague after another: "Stephen was the kindest, gentlest soul."

A devastated and bereft Andrew Cowles ruefully expressed his regret and bewilderment at his loss: "I just don't understand it. What hurts most is that he was only yards from me in the room next door and I didn't even know he was slipping away. If only I had gone in to check him."

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  British Television

Until recently, British television embraced lesbians and gays as Them rather than Us, but a more diversified and nuanced approach to all kinds of sexuality is likely to be the case in the future.

arts >> Overview:  Music: Popular

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons have had tremendous influence on popular music, though some musical genres have been more receptive to a homosexual presence than others.

arts >> Overview:  Music Video

Gay and lesbian content in music videos was rare in the early 1980s, but with more openly gay and bisexual artists that situation has gradually changed.

literature >> Overview:  Musical Theater

There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.

arts >> Overview:  Rock Music

Although rock music has been closely associated with freedom of expression and rebelliousness, it has not been particularly welcoming to gay and lesbian performers.

arts >> Overview:  Stage Actors and Actresses

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual actors and actresses are among the elite of contemporary theater, but only recently have many come out publicly.

arts >> B-52s

Commonly known as the "World's Greatest Party Band," the B-52sĀ features openly gay members who are active in glbtq, AIDS, environmental and animal rights issues.

arts >> Barrowman, John

Accomplished actor and singer John Barrowman has won plaudits as a musical theater star, as well as for his roles in film and television.

arts >> Bass, Lance

Singer Lance Bass gained fame as a member of the boy band *Nsync; since coming out in 2006, he has spoken on behalf of glbtq rights.

arts >> Bell, Andy

Singer and lyricist Andy Bell, half of the synth-pop duo Erasure, is one of the few openly gay, high-profile rock musicians.

arts >> Boy George (George O'Dowd)

A pop icon with a rich soulful voice, Boy George, who fronted the band Culture Club in the 1980s, managed to survive homophobia, drug addiction, and fame.

arts >> John, Sir Elton

Pop superstar Elton John's combination of melodic skills, dynamic charisma, and raucous performance style have make him a remarkably popular musical artist.

arts >> Martin, Ricky

Singer Ricky Martin, whose good looks and sensuous stage performances fueled an extremely successful career in pop music, avoided answering questions related to his sexuality until 2010, when he came out publicly via a Twitter announcement.

arts >> Michael, George

Popular singer and songwriter George Michael, who confirmed his long-rumored homosexuality after an arrest for "lewd behavior" in 1998, has devoted much effort to AIDS charities since 1992.

arts >> Norton, Graham

A smash hit on British television, comedian and talk-show host Graham Norton has been out, proud, and outrageous from the beginning of his career.

arts >> Pet Shop Boys

The recordings of the British pop duo Pet Shop Boys may be seen as a reaction to events that stirred the British gay community in the last two decades of the twentieth century.

arts >> Scissor Sisters

The American pop band Scissor Sisters was spawned in New York City's gay club scene; frequently addressing issues of transgressive sexuality, the band has cultivated a large glbtq fan base.

arts >> The Smiths and Morrissey

A Manchester pop group that flourished from 1982 to 1987, The Smiths created a highly original brand of punk-inspired music with queer subtexts; the group's singer and lyricist, Morrissey, in his solo career cultivates an androgynous image.

arts >> Somerville, Jimmy

Noted for his diminutive size and amazing voice, Jimmy Somerville achieved fame as the lead singer with the openly gay pop groups Bronski Beat and The Communards; many of his songs are overtly political and deal with such issues as gay relationships and the loss of friends to AIDS.

arts >> Young, Will

The first winner of the British Pop Idol talent show, Will Young has gone on to achieve success as a recording artist and actor, while also using his celebrity to advocate for good causes.


"Boyzone Stephen Gately's Partner and 'Third Man' Speak after Majorca Death." NME Online Magazine (October 13, 2009):

Courtney, Kevin. "The Boy Who Came out of His Shell." Irish Times (October 12, 2009): Features, 16.

Duff, Linda. "I've Wasted Two Years of My Life on Drugs But I'm Back and Happier Than Ever." Sunday Mirror (Eire Edition) (May 28, 2006): Features, 4.

Marshall, Andrew, G. "Don't Hide Your Love Away." The Guardian (London) (June 18, 1999): Art Pages, 4.

Martin, Paul. "Loved for a Reason; Stephen Gately: Stars Say Their Goodbyes: Boyzone Pals Devastated by Death of Their 'Brother.'" The Mirror (Eire Edition) (October 12, 2009): News, 4-5.

"Obituary of Stephen Gately, Singer with Irish Boy Band Boyzone Who Went on to Find Success as an Actor on the Musical Stage." The Daily Telegraph (London) (October 12, 2009): Features, 12.

Ridley, Jane. "Stephen Gately: Boy's Alone." The Mirror (London) (March 1, 2003): Review, 33, 35.

"Gay Pop Star Stephen Gately Died of Natural Causes, Police Say." ABC News Entertainment (October 13, 2009):


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Gately, Stephen  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2009  
    Date Last Updated October 14, 2009  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2009 glbtq, Inc.  


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