Valentino | Public domain | 14100
In 1975, an openly gay disco record became popular: “I was born this way” by Valentino. Valentino was a pseudonym for Charles Harris, who recorded the song for an independent company. Harris was 22 years old, and it was two years before the Village People were formed.
The record was picked up for distribution by Tamla Motown Records. The song has been widely re-recorded and sampled by others. Valentino did not make any other records, but made gay history by breaking through with a recording issued by a major record company.
It was not the first gay record to be made and issued, though; a number of gay artistes in the UK had openly gay recordings issued, from the 1950s and earlier, but usually on small labels, or as private pressings.