Happy Pride, y’all!!!
I know things are scary out there – I’m starting to feel scared – but I hope everyone can take time to celebrate queer joy and community in all the ways you love to do! (I literally was about to hit send when the news about Roe v. Wade broke, so I need some time to process…)
In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about a comment Philadelphia artist Shamir made about Harry Styles. (Gasp – I know.)
He’s has this weird privilege as a cis man who (aside from certain outfits) reads as straight so he can safely perpetuate that ambiguity. I think Shawn Mendez is a perfect contrast. Because he has a softer voice and feminine mannerism, his sexual ambiguity is seen as delusional https://t.co/mYySi8DLNk— Shamir (@ShamirBailey) April 26, 2022
Not sure if Harry’s quote makes it into the Tweet preview, but basically he said people shouldn’t have to define themselves or label their sexuality. I cannot stress enough how that kind of shit drives me INSANE and Shamir put it into words. I tried to explain why it bothered me to my social work classmates but I ended up going on this nonsensical rant. Should’ve pulled this up instead.
I guess there isn’t much of a connection to country music here, other than to dovetail my piece last issue about allies in country music. (BTW, Wide Open Country just published a list of “outspoken allies” for Pride. Some of the people on the list actually are queer, and one of them is Miranda Lambert who, as far as I can tell, has not done anything overtly political or financial for the queer community other than writing a song she gets royalties from… Anyway, it says something about country music that we can’t even find 20!!!)
As a teacher, I think it’s important for everyone to find multiple ways to access the same thing – in this case, support for LGBTQ+ rights. For some people, a country artist (or a baseball player) saying they support LGBTQ+ rights is enough. But I still wonder how we can move those statements into meaningful action, and pressure some of these highly paid country stars to actually risk something for the ideals they speak so highly of.
Sweetheart of the Rodeo
I only have 50 copies of Rainbow Rodeo issue 2 left, so if you want one, you’ll need to order it right now!
This is an excerpt from an interview I just conducted with Brooklyn-based trans country singer Bee Harper
Where are some places you’ve found joy within the country/Americana world?
I grew up in the south, Alabama specifically, and I’ve always had a mixed relationship with southern music. There was definitely a certain amount of otherness that I felt growing up as a queer person in the south, and I think part of me associated southern music with that feeling. But as I grew older and put some miles between myself and my hometown I discovered a newfound appreciation for the music I was raised on. I also love that there’s been a recent reclamation of Country/Roots/Americana music by queer people specifically, and there’s something very cathartic about that.
How do you feel your coming out journey plays into your music?
My journey of self discovery as a trans person had a huge influence on my music and songwriting. I often struggled to find lyrics that resonated with me personally and felt genuine in my songwriting, but transitioning really helped me overcome my own inhibitions and insecurities as a writer. The title track on my debut EP Imaginary Lines is actually a coming out song for my parents. At a time when I was struggling to find the words to explain my situation. Writing that song provided a lot of clarity and reassurance.
You can learn more about Bee Harper and listen to her beautiful “Park Song” at Adobe & Teardrops
- Jason Scott wrote up this banger of a country Pride playlist for Wide Open Country
- The Belle Curves’ new album Watershed is out TODAY!
- Loamlands is going on tour with fiery socialist punk band Lee Bains III + The Glory Fires and it’s gonna be fuckin awesome
- write for Bible Belt Queers
- Golem Zine is looking for essays by Jewish folks in the “occupied” Mountain West. Maybe that’s you?
- You can get almost 50% off the book Queer Country using this code: F21UIP
- This thread gives advice on self-managed transition in Alabama and other states that restrict our bodily autonomy
Rainbow Rodeo Playlist
Updated every two weeks!