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Name an LGBTQ+ artist that inspires you?
Lady Gaga is perhaps the most famous LGBTQ+ icon and my most listened to artist of all time. She has always stood in the face of adversity, both as a sexual assault survivor and a proud defender of the LGBTQ+ community. One of my favourite moments of Gaga was her speech during her performance in Russia when her pro-homosexuality stance had her banned from the country after calling out the discriminatory government. Lady Gaga is an example amongst artists, as one who uses her platform for the good of others, and her anti-establishment persona instils on many that authority must always be questioned. Her recent move into cinema and the utter successes that she’s achieved there already, shows that she’s more than just a musician, and thus as her platform continues to grow so will her influence.
Favourite song by an LGBTQ+ artist?
One of my favourite bands is Years & Years, with their gay frontman Olly Alexander. Whilst they’ve a number of good songs, my favourite is ‘Sanctify’ from their most recent album ‘Palo Santo’. When asked about the songs meaning Alexander said it was about his experiences with men who were exploring their sexuality, and how he introduces the idea of sinfulness into this. Whilst this has primarily sexual connotations, I feel as if it’s also highlighting that inner struggle that many LGBTQ+ people go through when wrestling with the idea of their own sexuality in those early stages, and thus finding it difficult to express themselves that way. Whilst the abstract concept of sinfulness is likened to the supposed shame we’re supposed to feel for not abiding by society’s heteronormativity, Alexander instead derails this concept of morality by applying it to the idea of sexual promiscuity and how we can enjoy ourselves doing that regardless of what society says.
Songs you listen to when you’re sad?
What’s Up? By 4 Non Blondes is one song I listen to when i’m feeling down. Whilst the song is popular by itself, it’s also from the soundtrack of one of my favourite shows – Sense8. The show is a very LGBTQ+ inclusive one, and the song replicates this inclusivity by the highlighting the struggles a person faces if they stand out from the rest of society. The song is strong in it’s message of frustration, and the intense desire for change that comes from those people that are tired of the institutionalised hatred that is directed toward them. Hate is just something that is derived from fear and ignorance, and with the song drawing attention to all forms of discrimination, it is powerful in it’s message of resistance against this hate.
Best gig you’ve been to?
I was lucky enough to see Lady Gaga as part of her Joanne World Tour. Seeing my favourite artist perform live was such an amazing experience, not only because of her stage presence but because of everything that she stands for. Just before performing ‘Come to Mama’ she made an impassioned speech about the difficulty LGBTQ+ people face when coming out to their parents, and how not all of those doing so receive the acceptance that they might have hoped for. Performing this song after a speech with this message was incredibly powerful, with Gaga conveying that even if your own parents won’t fight for you, she will.