The lead singer of Against Me! came out as transgender in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which hits newsstands on Friday. While some of the comments on Rolling Stone's online article are predictably disgusting, commentators on the official Against Me! message board have been overwhelmingly supportive.
After all, any diehard fan knows it's the music that matters. And if transfolks are the ones making it, well, that should come as no surprise.
I discovered Naomi Hooley's warm, powerful music a few months ago, when a friend pointed me first to her song "Tornado" and then the album that spawned it, the gorgeous It was a Great October. Her sound is earthy and approachable, and her backstory is the stuff of serendipitous musical legend. My theory is, no matter where you listen to Naomi's music, you will be reminded of home.
Tip: Find a friend with a convertible, or a friend with one of those bikes with a fat sound system on it, and get Colleen Green's recently re-released Milo Goes to Compton. Wait for a sunny day, combine said friend's form of open-air transportation with the album, and cruise around town, maybe with some iced tea. Even if Colleen Green sings about down days (and being really stoned), her music comes purpose-built for forecasts above 75 degrees.
There are few songs I like less than Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl." I dislike most of her music (that skit she did with Elmo, however, is adorable), but "I Kissed A Girl" bothers me most of all. You'd think such a song would be tailor-made for me—after all, I have, in fact, kissed girls and liked it! But it's really not a song for me, or for any other queer woman (even though I know queer women who like the song). It's a song for straight men who have "lesbian" fantasies in which femme women make out with each other but don't present any actual threat to male sexuality and dominance. It's a song for straight women who find the idea of kissing other women to be a "scandalous" and fun way of entertaining men, but who ultimately aren't romantically or sexually attracted to other women. It's a song about false, constructed, performed bisexuality, and it isn't doing anything to help the acceptance of non-monosexual folks.
One of the funniest (read: most irritating and laughably asinine) consequences of reproductive-rights discussions is that the word "choice" has many, many, many more meanings than what a woman does with her own body, but the same word is used to apply to all of them. For those of you that don't remember Samantha Bee's perfect illustration on the Daily Show of how incredibly loaded the word choice has become, watch here. To sum up Sam's point, we all make choices. And we should! That's how life gets lived! So let's reclaim...decisions. No, wait, that's not quite right. It's like an alternative... What's the word I'm looking for?
Here is a BitchTapes dedicated to all sorts of choices, from your pro-choice friends at Bitch Media. Track list after the jump!
Does anyone else organize their iTunes by season? Singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell is the artist that got me started doing it, as no single album reminds me more of summer than her 2010 folk opera Hadestown. It's drenched in sunlight, warm voices, young love, and, as Kristin mentioned in her Preacher's Daughter series, a feminist perspective on Greek tragedy. Her latest album, Young Man in America, is spring; all births and unfoldings and discoveries, and an occasional dip back into winter dark. Point being, Mitchell is a songwriter for all seasons, one of young American folk music's best, and she's getting better and better.
Over the next eight weeks, I will explore both progressive and problematic depictions of bisexuality in order to see how far we've come and how much progress still needs to be made. Together, we will look at examples in film, television, music, celebrity culture, and new media. And, with any luck, we will be able to start a discussion about what the media could be doing to increase realistic and positive depictions of bisexual identities and, by extension, advance bisexual acceptance.
The crux of my confusion lies in the way that people who agree on the basic premise that social inequality exists and needs to be addressed sometimes fracture themselves by fighting about how to accomplish this goal, while the seeming majority blithely naturalizes inequalities, perpetuates systemic prejudices, and authorizes the erasure of difference—all while throwing out phrases like "that's gay" with impunity. As an activist, I'm not really sure where I fit into all this, or what my purpose is.
Anyone else have perspectives on these tensions? I have so many more questions than answers.