Thursday, December 14, 2017
Opinion

Celebrate Pride with this playlist of LGBTQ musicians

I first came out over a decade ago, early in the torments of middle school and deep in the cornfields of suburban Indiana. To say I was lacking classmates who were out and local queer role models — let alone national ones — feels like an understatement. The school and public libraries offered few LGBTQ books, most of them academic, clinical and inaccessible to a preteen. The music collection was even slimmer, and I yearned for more.

Back in those days — you know, LimeWire, Yahoo Music and MySpace — it wasn't easy to find many openly queer musicians, given the homophobia and sexism rampant in the music industry. Living in small-town Indiana without access to a local LGBTQ music scene didn't help.

And so, it felt like divine intervention when a few years later in 2007, a Canadian indie duo released The Con just before I turned 16. Tegan and Sara kick off the album with I Was Married, a short and unassuming but defiant tune against homophobia, and I was immediately hooked.

At the time, the United States had just one state (Massachusetts) with marriage equality on the books. Legislative protections in Indiana and nationwide seemed unlikely in my lifetime. The Defense of Marriage Act, Don't Ask Don't Tell and awful jokes about HIV/AIDS were all the rage. Classmates ripped down posters for Day of Silence and spit homophobic slurs behind my back. My hometown's hate radiated from every glance.

It felt hopeless.

But finally, I could see myself — the joy and the anxiety of being queer — reflected in music, a lifeline of mine. Tegan and Sara gave me a reason to hold on because these two talented, hilarious and tiny lesbians showed there was a future for a queer kid like me. Now at The Con's 10th anniversary, it remains my favorite album of all time.

It shouldn't have taken all those years to find hope. Luckily, it has become easier and more common for musicians to be out and express all kinds of LGBTQ stories. There's still a long way to go, but it's been beautiful to see more and more artists safely come out and be supported, giving a voice to many.

Take the work of Perfume Genius, the project of Mike Hadreas and his boyfriend, Alan Wyffels. One of Hadreas' goals, Wyffels told NPR, is to be the kind of "artist that he wished he could have had as a young gay man."

Whenever I listen to music from LGBTQ artists, those notes give me the strength to be proud even at my weakest — even when I feel like that lonely queer kid in Indiana again.

The importance of that visibility brings me to this weekend's all-important Pride party playlist.

While there are many gay anthems created by allies — FYI Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION technically turns 2 on St. Pete Pride's parade day — I encourage Pride playlists to include as few straight, cisgender artists as possible. This month is about recognizing and celebrating our achievements despite a homophobic and transphobic society, and queer musicians across genres deserve support.

So, consider these LGBTQ artists while celebrating Pride this weekend and beyond. It's not an exhaustive list, especially because I went for hype vibes. And you'll notice it's missing many big names to help shine a light on musicians who deserve more exposure — like Mykki Blanco, MUNA, Alex Lahey and Perfume Genius.

What songs did I miss? Which queer musicians do you really dig? Tweet me at @ashleycdye.

Ashley Dye is a copy editor/designer/social media editor for tbt*; [email protected]

     
     
Comments

Column: Tax reform is the right path forward for Florida

In Washington, the tax reform process continues to move steadily forward, increasing the likelihood that Floridians will be able to keep more of their own money next year. While it has been the subject of a great deal of criticism (and outright misle...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Column: An important thing you probably knew nothing about — tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds

Only tax attorneys and God fully comprehend the federal tax code that has governed private activity bonds since 1968.But most of us can understand results.Such tax-exempt bonds over the years have literally saved millions of dollars in borrowing cost...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Column: How the 2018 midterms could end the nightmare of Trump

Column: How the 2018 midterms could end the nightmare of Trump

It is slowly dawning on Republicans and the right-wing media echo chamber that President Donald Trump’s assault on democratic norms and the rule of law, his betrayal of his own populist campaign themes (with tax cuts for the rich and Medicaid spendin...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Column: How Doug Jones lost in nearly every congressional district but still won the state

Column: How Doug Jones lost in nearly every congressional district but still won the state

Preliminary numbers for Alabama’s U.S. Senate election crunched by J. Miles Coleman of Decision Desk HQ reveal something astonishing: Democrat Doug Jones lost in six of Alabama’s seven congressional districts, but he still managed to beat Roy Moore b...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Joe Henderson: Recent cold snap brings to mind the Big Chill of Christmas ‘89

Joe Henderson: Recent cold snap brings to mind the Big Chill of Christmas ‘89

You know that little snap of frigid — OK, chilly — weather we just had? In Florida, we call that winter, a season we typically measure in hours.If it’s really savage, the thermometer might not rise above 50 degrees for two or sometimes three whole da...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial cartoons for Dec. 15

Editorial cartoons for Dec. 15

These cartoons are from various Times wire services.
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17
Goodman: The night Alabama woke up America

Goodman: The night Alabama woke up America

After weeks during which the people of Alabama were prejudged as incapable or unwilling to decipher right from wrong, they proved themselves by blazing a new path to virtue.They defied tradition. They defied political party. They defied the elites wh...
Published: 12/13/17