Mother Madonna, when you call my name it’s like a little prayer.
You could say my sister “turned” me gay by making us listen to a Madonna cassette tape of The Immaculate Collection on family road trips. But let’s be real, my sister – and Madonna – didn’t “turn” me into anything, they just brought out what was naturally there.
It’s pretty much folklore now that gay men look up to – and worship with every fibre of their being – famous women from a young age. Judy Garland! Cher! Bette Midler! Madonna! Beyonce!
These women have inspired more than a few drag queens in their time. But I'm talking about the special relationship a gay man has with his female idols - the strong women who overcame some sort of public battle and set an example for their peers.
Personally, I saw the following women as beacons who made my lonely little world of "who the hell am I, I'm a boy growing up in '90s Australia who doesn't like sports" conundrum just a little easier to endure.
Let's start with the obvious. The outspoken, sexually provocative, take-me-or-leave-me ultimate sass queen is clearly an inspiration for many a queer soul yearning to be so bold.
My first Madonna memory was at four or five years old, sitting in the family car (a sepia-toned Nissan) on road trips listening to my sister's cassette of The Immaculate Collection. Mum and Dad would always fast forward through 'Justify My Love' – the “naughty” song with the heavy breathing – which naturally made me even more curious.