I almost screamed after news broke about Luke Perry’s passing. He was only 52.
When word first got out about him having a stroke, I didn’t think much of it. I figured he was going to survive and thrive and eventually talk about it in the press and to his fans when he was feeling better. I had no idea the person who helped shape my sexuality (and many others) was going to die.
I’m an early millennial, so the Beverly Hills, 90210 days weren’t something that I initially watched when it premiered in 1990. To be honest, I really had no idea who Luke was until I saw my all-time favorite movie Clueless five years later. The iconic scene where Dionne (Stacey Dash) told Tai (Brittany Murphy) that Cher (Alicia Silverstone) was saving her virginity for Luke made me want to do some investigating as to who this guy was.
I’ll never forget finding a photo of him in People or one of those magazines shortly after and sort of being dumbfounded by just how handsome he really was. He had a face that rang similar to several heartthrobs from years before him like Paul Newman and James Dean… only in 90’s form. It was from there on that I started to binge-watch 90210 as my quest to finding out what my true sexuality was in full throttle mode at this time in my life.
It was around then that I finally admitted to myself that I was gay, even though I didn’t really know what being this way was all about. All I knew was that the math kept adding up for me in terms of being attracted to guys like Luke on television and other factors that led to this understanding.
It’s interesting to think of how many people in entertainment shape our sexuality, from music to movies to television and more. The equation for me in this case centered on Luke plus tons of other hot guys I saw on television and movies and my love for divas like Madonna and Taylor Dayne. Yup, I was and am gay.
In the days since his passing I’ve seen several social media updates from friends who have echoed similar sentiments compared to mine. I’m not sure if Luke was ever aware of his influence in the gay world, but I would like to think that he was flattered by it given that his status of being an unbelievably good-looking guy has been cemented in our minds long before his passing.
Rest in peace, Luke.
This is the opinion of one contributing writer and not that of Instinct Magazine or other Contributing Writers.