I like music. My favorite song these days?
This is all Sister #4’s fault. I was happy swaying to Harrison Craig; voguing to Lady Gaga (yes, I am well aware that Madonna is the artist associated with the term voguing but it works well too with Gaga).
At one time I was obsessed with MIKA’s Grace Kelly.
Then there was the time I fell in love with Tegan and Sara’s Closer…until Glee covered it.
And one of my favourite Cinderella-mood songs…
Being a millennial baby, I’m often told music in my generation have no meaning. That all we have to show for is sex, money, booze and drugs. Which is kinda rich considering my parent’s generation peaked in the 80’s and that was…sheesh.
But what do the songs listed all have in common (other than being incredibly catchy)? They’re all gay anthems.
A gay anthem is a song that’s especially popular among homosexuals although it can also become anthems to the rest of the LGBT community. While songs classified as gay anthems may not necessarily have been written for that purpose, they become labeled as such when they become popular in the gay community.
The elements of gay anthems are there: “big voiced divas, themes of overcoming hardship in love, “you are not alone,” themes of throwing your cares away (to party), hard won self-esteem, unashamed sexuality, the search for acceptance, torch songs for the world weary, the theme of love conquers all and of making no apologies for who you are”.
As a heterosexual 21-year-old who has been in a steady relationship for a while, I never understood the powerful messages the songs I listened to portrayed. Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down was heartbreaking and emotional, speaking of the bond of pure love and devotion which contradicts the popular idea of gay men being highly promiscuous.
Mackelmore’s Same Love featuring Mary Lambert, depicted our generation’s constant use of the word ‘gay’ as an insult, challenging our perception that we are ignorant of the words we use, unaware of the complexities of our language.We call our straight friends qauri, the same way we tell our little girls not to be such a…well, a girl.
We never realise, not once until it has been pointed out, just what these songs mean to the LGBT people. That it is a chance to celebrate who they are; that it is all the encouragement they will ever need to face another day. We never realise that sometimes, this is the only way they are told they are beautiful, that they are loved.
We know that music speaks when words fail, but we never imagine just how much power music has until you listen to the words and begin to apply them to other people.
We never know. Because we push this community beyond the borders of normal. Hell, we distinguish between them and us like we’re from separate planets. But we’re humans. And the words of the song speak to me as clearly as it speaks to the LGBT community. And I will dance and celebrate. And hopefully not sprain my ankle again.