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Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the queer, experimental icon behind the bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, has passed away at the age of 70 from cancer.

If you’ve ever enjoyed acid house, industrial, or queer, experimental punk, you’ve likely been listening to music influenced by P-Orridge. S/he played with gender and defied binaries before being nonbinary or trans was an accepted concept, and h/er goal was to embody both the male and female with h/er presence.

Their concept of pandrogeny is one of subverting the norm, turning it on its head, and embracing otherness, queerness, and both masculine and feminine energies. In one of h/er final interviews on gender and identity, s/he said:

“It’s my skin. It’s my body. And if I want to change it, that’s my right. It’s just raw material. It’s not sacred. It doesn’t belong to a deity. It doesn’t belong to the government or any cabal of power brokers. It’s mine. The malleability of the body is one of the gifts that we receive, and as technology changes and improves, there are more and more choices.”

On h/er impending death, one s/he was aware of, P-Orridge said:
“It’s more a case of how long I’ll last, I think. I’m going to try and last just as long as I can. As the doctors keep saying—and I love it when they tell me this—they say, ‘You’re complicated.’ At which point I burst out laughing and say yes, that’s been told to me before.”

For those interested in digging into P-Orridge’s music, Cold Spring Records have just put out a collection of recordings in memory of h/er work. You can find it here.

P-Orridge will be remembered by music fans and those who have surpassed the gender binary alike, and our music scene today, as well as the queer community, wouldn’t be the same without h/er.