The U.K.’s daily newspaper, the Guardian, published a very personal essay today (Oct. 25) written by R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe. Called ‘Queerness is a state of mind brought about by understanding,’ Stipe talks about what his life has been like since coming out two decades ago.

“It’s been 20 years since I announced to the world that I was queer -- and that I had found the strength and the voice to say that, and to move forward with my life as a completely out, publicly queer individual,” he says in the opening paragraph.

The iconic rock star talks about what it was like coming out, and the support he received. “My band, my family, and my friends had my back, as they always had,” he remembers.

His words evolve from a personal recalling to a much bigger message: Queerness is an “all-embracing, foundational tenet,” one that “includes accepting and supporting positions that you may not even completely understand; and to arrive at that conviction is so, so beautiful.”

Read Stipe's full column here.

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