Diana Ross Didn't Know 'I'm Coming Out' Was 'A Gay Thing'

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Diana Ross didn’t realize she was making a gay anthem when she recorded “I’m Coming Out” in 1979, says the man who co-wrote the track.

“She didn’t understand that that was a gay thing, that that was a person saying, ‘I’m coming out of the closet,’” recalled famed producer Nile Rodgers. “She didn’t even get that.”

Rodgers told the New York Post he was inspired to write the track after seeing Diana Ross impersonators in the bathroom of a Manhattan nightclub.

Ross sings: “The time has come for me / to break out of the shell / I have to shout / That I'm coming out.”

The singer only learned about the empowering song’s other meaning after previewing it for an influential radio host. “He thought that that would be Diana saying that she was gay,” Rodgers said.

He convinced Ross that it would become the song she opened her concerts with for the rest of her career.

“I’m Coming Out” was the second single off the album Diana, which was released on May 22, 1980. It remains Ross’ most successful album.

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