Cyndi Lauper on Discovering She Was a Gay Icon

John Polly at NewNowNext chats up the singer/activist about her soon-to-start True Colors Tour as well as the early days of her career, hate crimes, and when she discovered she had a huge gay fanbase:

Lauper“I never really noticed until I started reading the emails, way back in about 1996. That’s when I started reading emails — because I was pregnant, and email, back then was like, unbelievable! And I start reading not one, not two, not ten, but every other email I got was about how when people came out and how they were mistreated and disenfranchised from their families and their jobs and their friends, and totally cut off. And I just thought, ‘No one should ever be that depressed about who they are!’ But really the first big event was at Yankee Stadium, when it was the first Gay Games in 1994. And I’d never done something that big at Yankee Stadium, and I thought it was just fantastic! And I had all of these drag performers with me, and it was really fun.”

The True Colors Tour is set to start June 8 in Las Vegas.


  1. Dan E says


    I *know* you did not just talk trash about Cyndi Lauper. True Colors and Time After Time = two of the greatest pop songs of their era.

  2. anon says


    about masturbation back in the day when the xtianistas were even worse in trying to enforce their view that the human body is a bad and sick thing.

    That was a very progressive song back in the day.

  3. says

    Cyndi was at the heighth of her popularity when I was in high school. True Colors. She Bop. Time After Time. Her wonderfully outrageous outfits and makeup were FABULOUS, and she’s been a friend to the gay community for a long time. If you have any doubts, watch the episode of Queer as Folk in which she does a concert.


  4. soulbrotha says


    I may seem like Cyndi is a sugar coated pop tart but don’t be fooled!

    I will NEVER forget when I went to a benefit concert to hear Patti Labelle. Well Cyndi came out to do a song with her. I laughed to myself and said “oh please, Patti is gonna make mincemeat outta that mouse!”

    Well…let me tell you, Cyndi not only sang her ass off but she kept up with Miss Patti in power and volume! The whole audience was in shock and then went ballistic! I have had nothing but respect for Cyndi ever since. And her avid support of the gay community is just icing on the cake.

  5. michael says

    I have never gotten the appeal of Cyndi Lauper, beyond her support of gay people. Her voice is like fingernails on a blackboard.

  6. PJ says

    I know I am going to get a disbelieving “Yeah! Right!” for this one but:
    Cindi Lauper made the video for “Time After Time” in the town where I grew up in NJ. As I watched the video, I would cite off not only the places but the people in the video as well.
    What happened was, she was looking for a town that looked like it got stuck in time. Wharton was one of those towns. Even in the 1980s, it looked like it was stuck in the 50s and still had pretty much the same mentality. She had read about the destruction of a landmark hotel and restraunt known as the “Heslin House” due to a gas leak. When she saw the photographs after the destruction, she went to visit the town. She loved the town and made the video. The only part of the video that was not filmed in Wharton was the train station. That was filmed in Morristown, NJ.
    I always thought that that was cool of her and she donated the first gold album from “Time After Time” to the Wharton Library. It is still on public display in the library although the town no longer looks like it did back then.
    Cindi Lauper may have had a strange sense of style and her voice may have sounded odd to some but she also has a heart of pure gold and she talked to anyone who could get close enough to her. (Security was weird that day was the WPD were her security and her manager didn’t want her talking to people.)
    The one thing you have to say about her, if nothing else, is that she is one of a kind.

  7. Leland says

    I, too, had always been put off by Lauper’s speaking voice and drag, until I heard her [echoing SoulBrotha] perfectly, powerfully duet with Miss Patti on the latter’s jawdropping 1985 TV special. [Why it’s apparently never been released on video/DVD escapes me. YouTube clips of her with Cyndi and Luther have been removed.] La LaBelle sang at Lauper’s wedding and is godmother to her child.

    Then I heard Lauper in person a couple of years ago at the Equality Forum concert in Philadelphia. She opened with a few apt words about gay rights and then launched into a soul rousing a cappella version of “The Times They Are A Changin'” that could have been heard on the moon, and the stars would have applauded. “Come senators, congressmen….It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls.” Chacun à son goût, but the center of her singing voice is solid laser gold as evidenced a bit here:

    Patti & Cyndi in 2004—ignore the talentless fembot with them—the big notes are totally P&C!

    Sorry, essentially off topic, but can’t help myself >>> Those only familiar with how sadly sounds now, learn how, twenty years ago, Patti took us OVER:

    And even BIGGER Patti performance two years later of a Cyndi song, enhanced by one of her incredible backup singers, Debbie Henry, and small but mighty female saxophonist [now you’ll know where some of those vogue gestures in “Paris Is Burning” came from]:

  8. el polacko says

    if you’ve never seen cyndi in concert, you are missing hearing one of the great rock/pop vocalists of our time. that little woman has some powerful lungs on her.
    now, if only she were showing her appreciation to her gay fans through some other organization than the HRC… sigh…

  9. Paul says

    Cyndi Lauper is absolutely amazing!She does so much for our community and gets nothing in return. Her music is so underrated!Nobody’s supported the Gay and Lesbian community longer than Cyndi has).
    She’s worked with PFLAG, and Matthew Shepard Foundation, and she was at the very first AIDS Benefit in LA,
    and she was the first to donate all the profits from a song to AIDS research.
    Cyndi’s Version of “When You Were Mine” was about her still loving a guy who was going with another guy
    (anyone else do a song like that in the mid-80’s?). Don’t think so….
    I can’t wait to see Cyndi in Denver.

  10. Eric says

    Cyndi is awsome she has an amazing voice…she only gets better with age..I have loved her since like forever…Cyndi stay strong. We Love You!

  11. Jim says

    Cyndi’s older sister is a lesbian.
    Cyndi’s best friend in the 80’s (the one who inspired the song True Colors) was gay and passed away from AIDS…and Cyndi herself can identify with being gay because she was an outcast and discriminated for being “different” and “weird” (her talking voice and looks got her into troubles and harrassment, like most gays go thru)I truly admire her, she is one of a kind!

  12. Brian says

    I was very impressed with Cyndi’s words. It’s about equality for ALL and I can’t wait to support the HRC and the show. Rock On! Also, I am a child of God and he doesn’t make junk. I think those that use the word of God against others need to re-examine their own self to determine if God eminates from their heart. Show some love to thy neighbor and we just might survive all this craziness in the world.
    Go Cyndi!

  13. Daniel says

    I’ve heard her new song “Early Bird” with Andy Bell(Erasure) all I can tell you is that this song is going to be HUGE!!! I can’t wait to see Cyndi and her friends in San Diego!