I was born in 1990, the year before Freddie Mercury’s death.
My family never travelled abroad on vacation as I was growing up, instead we drove around the UK in my Dad’s beat up Ford Sierra with a caravan in tow for the best part of the 90’s.
It must’ve been during the latter years of these long summer road trips that I remember me and my sister sitting in the back of the car singing along to tracks by one of my Dad’s favorite bands, Queen, as they blared out of the stereo.
I quickly learnt the entire back catalogue and became a mini-fan of Mercury’s trailblazing voice. Some of my first memories of singing, and even speaking, originated here.
Freddie was one of my first icons, probably because I wanted to relate to my Dad’s idolization of him, but it wouldn’t be until later in my life that I’d realise how his presence in both our lives would give me the strength to truly connect; to come out as gay.
I understood Freddie Mercury wasn’t your typical kind of ‘man’ at the time, he was flamboyant and embodied queer identity like no other man I was aware of at the time, and because I looked up to my Dad through a filter of masculinity I was confused to see his appreciation of someone who chose to live life that way, despite the confinements of society.
Years later I identified this as a passion for rebellion and individuality. I saw my Dad in a different, untinted, light for the first time and although I was uncertain of his reaction toward my sexuality I found assurance that his fondness of Freddie Mercury would have him open to any individual’s interpretation of life and sexuality.
It was as I’d hoped, he was unfazed by my coming out.
Today, on the 25th anniversary of Mercury’s death, I have to thank him for helping steer the course of my relationship with my Dad for the positive. Because of him I’m able to sense the unwavering love of individuality that is mutual between myself and my Dad, interpreted in our own ways, and Freddie is the complete embodiment of that.
Freddie Mercury continues to bring us together, like he does millions of us, and I’m eternally grateful that his legacy bettered my life even after his passing.
I will be forever in your debt, Freddie. I hope you approve of my favorite Queen song choice.
Dan Beeson is the Head of Engagement at Gay Star News. Chat with him on Twitter here.