What is “queer” and why does it matter that a musician identifies with the label?, An Introduction

If you turn on the mainstream radio, you’ll probably notice that most songs refer to strictly heterosexual romantic relationships.  What happens when queer musicians slip in the in-betweens of mainstream radio?

A label-smashing, non-conforming, norm-defying revolution.

(See also: Lady Gaga, a queer pop icon, who, for years, has not only topped all musical charts and reinvented her image in every album, but also nurtured the idea in her legion of fans to be unapologetically true to themselves)

So, if a musician identifying as queer is important, you might ask yourself what “queer” even refers to.  “Queer”, with its original meaning being “unusual, strange, or odd”, adopted the form of an offensive slur aimed at gay, lesbian, or non-conforming people in the early 1900s.

Now, “queer” has been reclaimed within the LGBT community as an inclusive label that symbolically deconstructs traditional notions of the gender binary and sexual orientation by simply dismissing these concepts altogether.

The “queer” label challenges the idea that identities are fixed, and rather, embraces people’s fluid, complex identities across time.

To actor Ezra Miller, ‘queer’ serves as an “all-encompassing banner and for every human being”, because, to him, “there should be an ongoing question and investigation of who you love and everything that’s involved with that very tricky and beautiful thing.”

And so, queer musicians inherently defy gender expectations by subverting these ideas so deeply rooted in popular culture about who a person should love, how they should dress, how they should express themselves, and what the limits are of who they should be.

Through their explicit and implicit lyricism, queer musicians offer an alternative to people who have never “fit” into boxes that are upheld and propagated in the cultures they grow up in.  Their defiance of the norms instils the notion that others should also be unafraid of rejecting the rigid expectations they have been placed.

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This is what this blog is about: the beauty of reveling in one’s queer identity and how that is experimented in music.

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One thought on “What is “queer” and why does it matter that a musician identifies with the label?, An Introduction

  1. I think it’s smart move to establish what constitutes “queer” before tackling the subject of music & queer identity from the get-go. Not to mention, I think the large banner image, bright colours, and large font are appropriate for the subject of identity and its influence – the bold establishment of these elements befits the artists who are just as bold in establishing their identity via their presentation, music, and performance.

    Like

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