This will be a superpost! Not only are cities around the country gearing up for Pride celebrations this weekend, I also skipped last week. I threw my back out and had been staring at my computer all week long. By the time I was ready to write the roundup, I just couldn’t bear to look at a computer screen anymore.
I hope everyone has an amazing Pride. This weekend in New York is looking to be rainy. In any year, I’d probably joke about the weather being homophobic, but when a man was arrested in connection to threatening violence at Nashville Pride and the Proud Boys fielded a rally outside of the Dodgers’ Pride Night game it’s hard to be flippant.
I feel that Pride celebrations have been a bit…muted? this year but I haven’t made it to most of the city’s celebrations and I am currently taking 3 nights a week of Zoom classes from 6 – 9 (plus my back) so to be honest I haven’t left my neighborhood much this month. The Yankees, my beloved big bois, just hosted their first official Pride Night yesterday, but it seems like it was a blink-and-you-miss-it thing. (To be fair, they only recently started doing identity-based promotions and you wouldn’t know any of them are happening if you skip the pre-game ceremonies.) But it got me thinking about Lauren Theisin’s briliant article, “No Straights at Pride Night.”
Theisin’s central thesis is that corporate pride can never live up to the liberatory demands of Pride’s animating spirit. Theisin asks us to consider what a liberated sporting event would look like: luxury seats available to all, ushers looking the other way, the team giving away poppers, jettisoning all the glorification of our perpetual war machine (ie the national anthem and all the rest of it) in favor of queer culture.
What would a liberated country music industry look like?
Musicians who are paid a living wage so they can create. A robust media industry that can cover our vital local queer country scenes without worrying about click rates or, increasingly, financial and physical threats from snowflake conservatives. (Hell, maybe journalists who can make a living wage writing about these artists.) Country music festivals where the progress pride flag replaces the Confederate flag. Traveling revues of artists that can stay in cities for a week at a time, showing the broader LGBTQ+ community that country music is safe and relevant to them. Jam circles and songwriting workshops that embrace beginners who might never step onto a stage or sing their truths otherwise. Glitzy costumes that emphasize the body parts that bring us joy, and access to whatever care we need to address those that don’t. When we sing about needles, it’s to celebrate HRT and not to grieve for addiction.
I know I’m not thinking big enough here. I’d love to hear from you all about how we could really liberate and queer country music. If we know what we want, it’s so much easier to get there.
Canadian pop singer Laila gets her twang on in "I Like Girls"
Julie Nolen spills the goods on tomorrow's OUTlaw Pride Fest in Austin!
Get 'em right here!
Listen to the newest queer country music from Ty Herndon, Bryan Ruby, Boy Golden, and more here!