In the Wikipedia article of Freddie Mercury[1], we read:

"[Mercury] was a 'scene-queen,' not afraid to publicly express his gayness, but unwilling to analyse or justify his 'lifestyle' ... It was as if Freddie Mercury was saying to the world, 'I am what I am. So what?' And that in itself for some was a statement." In an article for AfterElton, Robert Urban stated: "Mercury did not ally himself to 'political outness,' or to GLBT causes."

But what does that line mean? A statement of what? Could you also please tell me what does "causes" mean in this context? I looked up a dictionary, but didn't find an appropriate meaning, except "social goal" or "purpose". Thank you.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Mercury#Sexual_orientation

  • "I looked up a dictionary, but didn't find an appropriate meaning [of causes], except "social goal" or "purpose"." That's exactly the right meaning of causes for the context, and you seem to realize this, so I'm confused why you're asking about it. Could you elaborate please? Dec 14, 2014 at 13:46
  • @Esoteric Screen Name, Thank you for the comment, since this was the first time I saw such use of the "cause", and because it seemed slightly odd to me, I just asked the question to make sure this is the right meaning. Thank you!
    – ali564
    Dec 14, 2014 at 13:57

2 Answers 2


Let's look at the simple question first.


This use of the cause is about a principle or idea that is very important. We often use it when we are talking about people who are being treated badly or unfairly. The cause is the idea that they they need to be treated fairly. This is the definition from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

C1 [C] a socially valuable principle that is strongly supported by some people:

  • They are fighting for a cause - the liberation of their people.

The sentence means that Freddie Mercury was not politically active in this way. He did not officially fight for gay people's rights.


'I am what I am. So what?'. And that in itself for some was a statement.

This sentence means:

  • That in itself was a statement for some people.

The word statement here means "political statement". The word that refers to the idea 'I am what I am. So what?'. The reason that some people though that this was a political statement, is that it means:

  • I am what I am. I do not need to justify it. I do not have a problem with it. I do not need to explain it.

Because Freddie Mercury was bisexual, many people might think that he needed to explain or apologise for being bisexual. He didn't do this.

The question mark [ ? ] at the end of the sentence, So what?, is like a challenge to the listener. It is saying: "Do you have a problem with that?".

Hope this is helpful!

References Cambridge Dictionaries Online: "Cause", Noun. 14th December 2014


"And that (in itself), for some, was a statement"

Put mental punctuation in, or break it apart…

For some people, that was enough of a statement - 'I am what I am. So what?' [which he never actually said, he didn't make any statement about it.]
The very lack of any statement was in itself a statement.
In itself simply means without anything needed to support it.

"Cause" is OALD (3) - an organization or idea that people support or fight for.

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