From 2008- 2009, ABC aired a short lived show called Eli Stone, starring Jonny Lee Miller. Eli was a lawyer who started having hallucinations caused by an aneurysm, and realized those hallucinations might actually be visions.
Many of Eli’s visions revolved around George Michael (and all of the Season 1 episodes shared their titles with his songs). However, when he appeared in Episode 9, titled “I Want Your Sex”, he wasn’t just a vision anymore.
George hired Eli to represent a teen girl who played one of his songs, the titular I Want Your Sex, during an abstinence only rally at her school. During her trial, she used both facts and personal stories to explain why abstinence only education is more dangerous than safe sex education. When the lawyer for the high school claimed that the song she chose promoted sexual promiscuity, George Michael was called to explain the true meaning behind the song.
Wethersby: Mr. Michael, tell me, what inspired your song I Want Your Sex? A song, by the way, which rose to number one on the world charts, a song that helped you win a Grammy for Best Album of the Year.
George Michael: Well, it was inspired by a relationship. Like most of my work, it was autobiographical.
Wethersby: You heard Principal Ackerman describe the song as encouraging promiscuity.
George Michael: But it’s just the opposite. Ironically enough, I wrote the song about abstinence, and I was very much in love with someone at the time.
Wethersby: So how do you feel about your song being used to protest an abstinence only sex education program.
George Michael: Well I applaud it, obviously. When I wrote it, we were in year six of the AIDS crisis, a crisis that Ronald Reagan did not even address publicly until there were over 21,000 people dead. And what the government is doing right now, funding federal programs that tell children that condoms don’t work, is killing people all over again.
I have seen a lot of posts discussing how we lost such an important member of the LGBT community. This scene has always stuck with me, and I’m sure most people would not have had a chance to see it. Though it is through a fictional lens, George Michael is reminding us that there have been times where misinformation and government inaction made it seem wrong to have even monogamous sex with someone that you love, and that stigmatizing sex, and gay sex in particular, is dangerous.
(Eli Stone is currently available on Hulu.)