Thursday, 4 October 2007

Popular culture: The gay experience!

In May 1995, The Gay Times celebrated its 200th edition. It was titled: Britain's Top 200 gay men and Lesbians. Everyone who was named in that edition was out.
The editor David Smith, ends his introduction with;
[But] as we move into the second half of the last decade of the 20th century, there is no doubt that we have finally proved what British gay organisations, from the Gay Liberation Front onwards, set out to prove 25 years ago.
We are everywhere.
Lesbian, gay, bi and trans culture and popular music has managed to effect the lives of many LGB and T people far more than ‘mere’ entertainment. Popular Music has offered the lives of modern LGB/T people, a fundamental role in establishing gay self identity and maintaining communities solidarity.
"I'm coming out" has been since 1980 the chorus to any gay pride or gay venues repertoire. An empowering statement which was inspired by Californian drag queens.
Whether it be Opera, (David Daniels the brilliant counter-tenor or Samuel Barber the man who wrote one of the most famous pieces of opera, Adagio), musical theatre, (Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein), blues, (Bessie Smith regarded by many as one of the best blues singers ever), women's music, (Horse female singer ,song writer and performer),disco or homocore…Gay, Lesbian, bisexual and transgnder communities and individuals have relied on popular music to express both personal desires and political demands. They have been able to see themselves in lyrics of songs; Tom Robinson “glad to be gay” or Antony and the Johnsons: "All those beautiful boys/Pimps and queens and criminal queers/All those beautiful boys/Tattoos of ships and tattoos of tears"
Music has provided a shared sound track for Lesbian Gay bi and trans communities, meeting in clandestine bars and cabarets or publicly at marches, pride parades or music festivals and gay discos, places of key importance to lovers and activists, whose bodies - electric, erotic and politic respond equally to Boy George as to Donna Summer, Will Young and Marc Almond.