Blondie has just released its eleventh album, over 40 years after the rock group put out its debut record.
But lead singer Debbie Harry, who in the late 1970s and early 1980s became one of pop’s biggest female sex symbols singing hits like “Heart of Glass” and “Call Me,” has just made an eye-popping revelation: during her pop prime she considered herself a transsexual.
In an interview with the Financial Times (which we would link to but curiously the article has been taken down on its website) Harry claims: “I know it sounds ridiculous but I felt I was sort of a transgender person, at a very early time. There was lots of transgender artists and performers in New York, but it hadn’t become an issue and it wasn’t so open.
“It was very New York and very subculture. I was singing lyrics written by some of the guys, and by me, and by Chris, and somehow I felt that it had to be some kind of representation of both sexes.”
Sure, Blondie was at the vanguard of the new wave 1970s underground New York scene, which revolved around a certain degree of sexual fluidity. But Harry certainly didn’t have a gender-bending persona like her new musical contemporary Boy George.
Harry did the FT interview with her Blondie bandmate and former lover Chris Stein. Seems like Harry having been transgender is news to him. He replies to Harry in the interview, “You’re lucky this is the Financial Times, and not somewhere where the headline would be ‘Debbie identifies as transgender.’ Then all the transgender people would hate you.”
Harry then plays up her drag queen roots: ‘Multi-gender people have always said, ‘You’re just another drag queen.’ I’m happy to live with that. Some of the great artists have been transgender.” Stein again interjects with a sensitive rebuttal: “I think maybe ‘gender-ambiguous’ would be more polite.”
Harry then concludes, “I’m confused at this point as to who to call what, or why it matters so much.”
She’s not the only one!