Watching the funeral of famed Boyzone singer Stephen Gately today, one cannot help but feel a sense of sadness for the family and friends of this interesting chap. Even if you are too young to remember when Boyzone was together, the breaking of voices as his fellow band members read his eulogy gives anyone watching the impression that the UK has lost someone special.

In Dublin, where he is being buried today, people have turned out in droves to pay tribute to Gately. From the thick jackets and short coats people are wearing in the crowds, it is decidedly brisk out but no one seems to care. His band members speak and mention something we’ve heard again and again since Gately’s death. ‘He never forgot where he was from.’

To Dubliners, this important observation may be one of the reasons why they have joined the family as they say goodbye to their beloved. One could gather that the fans intend on being as loyal to Gately, as Gately was to Dublin.

This touching scene of respect and sorrow seems so much in contrast with the words written by Daily Mail columnist, Jan Moir, who implies that ‘a bitter truth lies beneath’ Gately’s death.’ Moir maintains that something sinister has occurred here, and that the singer’s family members, friends and perhaps even the authorities are desperately trying to cover it up.

The inaccuracy of many of her statements and the fact that she has written them before Gately has been buried are not even the most disturbing aspects of Moir’s perspective.  After all, she owes no one affected by the untimely tragedy a grieving period, not even Gately’s husband. What is most disturbing is her inability to make connections in her own writing that suggests a severe stereotyping of anything to do with gay couples and gay people in general. Moir imagines that because a Bulgarian man had visited before Gately was found dead, that somehow ‘the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy.’ She bases this uninformed speculation on nothing else but that there were gay men present, one of them being a celebrity.

Moir goes on to compare Gately’s death to that of gay celeb Kevin McGee, who recently committed suicide, giving a further impression that she believes all civil partnerships are connected somehow. To be fair she seems to be as anti-celebrity as she is anti-gay partnerships.

Many in the UK have opposed Moir’s views and her comments have become a source of debate. Yet, in the real world of grief and tragedy, no one at Gately’s funeral seemed to care how he died, they only wished he hadn’t. In this way the wisdom of theorists such as Judith Butler appears inevitably present. The only way to successfully deal with the oppressive behaviour of those who sexually discriminate is to give no respect for the idea of sexuality.  By the end of this day, Dublin will not have buried a homosexual or a celebrity but, as one of Gately’s friends pointed out, a husband, a brother, a son and a man.


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