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Dionne Warwick on gay people: “… It’s the lifestyle you’ve chosen to live and that’s your choice”

I’ve long been a big fan of Dionne Warwick’s music which includes a slew of 1960s hits like Walk on By, Say a Little Prayer, Do You Know the Way to San Jose, and What the World Needs Now and later hits including I’ll Never Love This Way Again, Deja Vu, Heartbreaker, and That’s What Friends Are For.

But for someone who has been a well-known HIV-AIDS activist and sees herself as an ally, the 78-year-old Warwick has a lot to learn about gay people.

Her new interview with PrideSource made me cringe – several times.

Here are some excerpts:

You’ve had a special relationship with the LGBTQ community for decades. Is that closeness to the gay community something that came out of that tragic period or did it start before?

Apparently it had started before, when I was singing gospel music as a teenager. The young man who played piano for our group was gay, but that was his lifestyle, that’s what he chose as a lifestyle. Who am I to judge him? He didn’t judge me. So, you know, everybody does what is satisfying to them to do, and I let you live your life and you allow me to live mine.

What was your relationship like with your gay church friend? You were close, I imagine.

Oh yeah. He was wonderful to be around, and could play a piano like nobody else. He was a human being, OK – that’s the way I look at people. I can’t judge you for your preference – that’s your choice, not mine. You gotta be who you are and I’ve gotta be who I am and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

You say “preference” and “lifestyle,” and I know some people still use both of those words. But a lot of gay people think they were born this way, that it wasn’t a chosen lifestyle or a preference. Do you think a gay person could be born gay?

Absolutely. It’s not only the way you’re born, it’s the lifestyle you’ve chosen to live and that’s your choice. I can’t define what it means or how it happens or why it happens or when it happens. It just is. I look at it that way.



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3 Remarks

  1. This interview left me with thinking you can’t teach an old dog new tricks so to speak. I don’t think she was trying to be disrespectful, she’s just set in her ways which is sad because it’s a tale tale sign of old age, the wall isn’t going to allow anything new in.

  2. I would like to ask Dionne when she “CHOSE” to be straight. Or better yet, when she “CHOSE” to be an African American or FEMALE.

    People need to get educated. Some human happen to be born gay. They do not choose. Just like we do not choose our natural hair color, our height or our DNA etc.

    Frankly, due to the mistreatment and harassment given to gay people, why would someone “CHOSE” to be gay when straight folk are treated so much better in society. PLEASE- Wake Up Miss Warwick. You are setting a horrible example.

  3. Dionne is part of the generation where you couldn’t talk about such things as gay people openly. That being out or being closeted were the only “choices”. My guess is she is confused as to why someone would choose to be out, and be open to the hate and ignorance that is out in the world.

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