“The gays are straight/
and the straights are queer/
and the bi's just call everybody dear. … I know a boy who growing tits,/
and, he swears -/
A thrill’s a thrill, even in paradise”.The song was also recorded by Long John Baldry and Marianne Faithful (in the latter case with slightly censored lyrics).
Bill transitioned and became Barbra in the early 1980s. She retired as a performer and became an arts patron with her partner Joan Chalmers, the Maclean-Hunter publishers heir. In 1994 they organized an exhibition re breast cancer survivors, and Barbra made a documentary film about the tour of the exhibition 1995-8.
In 2002, James Collins had a top-40 radio hit with his song about Barbra and the problems that friends have about talking about the pre-transition self. Apparently this was done without either input or approval by Barbra.
In 2006/7 Barbra’s documentary The G8 is Coming was shown at several film festivals.
- Barbara Amesbury. Survivors in Search of a Voice. Toronto: Woodlawn Arts Foundation 60 pp 1995. Exhibition catalogue re breast cancer survivors.
- James Adams. “The Story Behind the Song About Bill”. The Globe and Mail. June 22, 2002. Online at www.queermusicheritage.us/aug2008ba.html.
- Monica C-L. “Are you a friend of Bill? Or Barbara?”. A Seat on the SOFFA. Sept 14, 2008. http://supersoffa.blogspot.com/2008/09/are-you-friend-of-bill-or-barbara.html.