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The Shuffle: Pride Edition

Elton John, Lil Nas X, Phoebe Bridgers, King Princess

By Stephanie Swensrude

It’s Pride Month, and as we celebrate these incredible 2SLGBTQ+ musicians, I also want to highlight why we must have Pride month – because queer people are still routinely marginalized.

how to dress as human by Laura Les

Laura Les is one half of hyperpop duo 100 gecs. This song is about Les getting ready to go out as a trans woman and her gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a common experience with transgender people: it’s the crippling feeling that you look nothing like your gender and that you will never be perceived the way you want to be by others.

“Better go with Vans / I’m never gonna pass / I should stay home / Why did I make plans?”

This is an oversimplification of a very complex issue, but “passing” is when you look enough like your gender that people cannot tell that you are trans. Passing means destroying any evidence of trans identity. If cisgender women feel pressure to shave and put on makeup, trans women will likely find it even harder to live up to those ideals.

SugarCrash! by ElyOtto

Elliott Platt, or ElyOtto, is a trans teenager from Calgary. You’ll probably recognize his infectiously catchy song SugarCrash!, as it went viral on Tik Tok this year. Platt is 17, and according to SPIN Magazine, he is the “new face of hyperpop. Most teens can probably relate to the angst-ridden lyrics, “Feeling shitty in my bed / Didn’t take my fuckin’ meds … Don’t wanna be someone else / Just don’t wanna hate myself.”

The Show Must Go On by Queen

Freddie Mercury died from complications relating to AIDS in 1991. This song was released after his passing and is about his dedication to performing even in the face of death. AIDS decimated the queer population in the United States and continues to disproportionately affect queer and BIPOC people. The AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the inaction by politicians is blamed for killing a generation of queer people.

SAN FRANCISCO GAY MENS CHORUS PICTURE HERE WITH CAPTION: In this photo from 1993, the original members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus are wearing white. The men in black represent all of the choir members who died from AIDS.

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus in 1993. Founded in 1978, SFGMC was the first choir to unapologetically have “gay” in its name. Over 2,000 men, cis and trans, as well as non-binary people have sung in the legendary choir. From 1989 to 2000, the choir’s director Dr. Stan Hill spent every Wednesday and Sunday visiting sick chorus members in the hospital. In this sobering photo from 1993, the original members of the choir are wearing white and the men in black represent all of the choir members who died from AIDS. It is one example that illustrates the devastating impact of the epidemic on the gay community.

Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America by The 1975 ft. Phoebe Bridgers

“I’m in love with the girl next door / Her name’s Claire / Nice when she comes ’round to call / Then masturbate the second she’s not there”

This song revolves around two separate characters dealing with crushes they feel they can’t show. Phoebe Bridgers is bisexual, and told Beatroot BC that she felt shame around her sexuality growing up.

Many young queer people experience family rejection after coming out. While 2SLGBTQ+ youth make up about 7 per cent of the population, 40 per cent of homeless youth are queer.

If you want to help homeless youth here in Edmonton, check out Youth Empowerment and Support Services.

Elton’s Song by Elton John

This is one of Elton John’s only songs where he discusses his sexuality. It is a ballad about a gay teenage crush on another boy.

Perhaps one of the most iconic gay musicians of all time, John struggled with substance abuse early in his career. Substance abuse is more common among 2SLGBTQ+ people than the general public.

After John met Ryan White, a teenage boy who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, he was inspired to get sober. He has now been sober for more than 30 years.

Montero by Lil Nas X

After Old Town Road became one of the most successful songs of all time, Lil Nas X came out as gay in June 2019.

Lil Nas X is pretty universally adored, and his presence as a black gay man in the country/hip-hop scene is causing turbulence. Lil Nas X is redefining what hip-hop artists can look like.

In the steamy music video for Montero, Lil Nas X grinds on the devil in Hell, a big middle finger to any homophobic haters.

Pussy Is God by King Princess

King Princess is the stage name of Mikaela Mullaney Straus. She is genderqueer and gay.

Straus’s songs are celebrated for being unapologetically queer. Many of her fans are young gay women who embrace her lesbian love songs, as there aren’t that many popular musicians making explicitly gay songs.

“Your pussy is God and I love it / Gonna kiss me real hard”

If straight people get a million songs about WAPs and fellatio, lesbians should get a dirty song too. It’s only fair.

The 2SLGBTQ+ community has finally been given justice and equality in many ways, but this Pride Month, I want to remind people that the queer community still has a lot left to fight for.

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