In light of the incessant threat imposed by Donald Trump against the LGBT+ community, alongside a flurry of activity from leaders within the indie music sphere, we thought it appropriate to give Indie Shuffle readers a better scoop on what's up with your favorite artits. Below, we unpack important LGBT definitions and highlight famous LGBT individuals from the indie music sphere, like Tyler, the Creator, Perfume Genius and LCD Soundsystem's Gavin Russom. We've also paired this with a track from each one of the artists, so hit play on the image above and listen while you read.
What Does LGBTQI Stand For?
The initialism began as LGBT but has grown to incorporate all the members of the community. The latest representation is 'LGBTQI+' and it stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex. It's an umbrella term that houses the variations of sexuality, gender and identification other than that of cisgendered heterosexuals. This group lacks representation in the media and in day-to-day life, and that is one reason why it's important to highlight the indie heroes that are a part of the LGBT+ community.
Tyler, the Creator Comes Out
Tyler, the Creator has been hinting at being gay for years. Coming out is no easy feat and in his latest album, Flower Boy, he makes reference to his sexuality. For example, in his track, "Ain't Got Time," the lyrics say 'I've been kissing white boys since 2004.' Prior to this, he has released a Pride series of his GOLF clothing line and has been sporadically open about his sexuality on Twitter.
Tyler, the Creator can no doubt stand as a role model to members of the LGBT community. Representation is hugely important, because when individuals can see an example of a successful person who identifies as they do, it inspires hope.
LCD Soundsystem's Gavin Russom
The world's latest Transgender icon is LCD Soundsystem's Gavin Russom. She is in charge of the synths for the well-known band and came out as a Transgender woman this year. She has explained that in her former years, when she would DJ, there was a power in 'seeing out trans women unapologetically live their lives.' Now she is living her truth, and explains that 'since coming out, she has felt more connected on stage—both to her colleagues and to the music.' You can listen to the band's track, "American Dream," below, which comes off their newest album due for release September 1st.
Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste
Founding member of Grizzly Bear, Ed Droste, is responsible for the sonic-mastery that can be heard in all of the band's albums, including their latest – Painted Runes. (You can listen to "Neighbors" off the album below.) He is hugely outspoken about politics and LGBT rights.
On Ed Droste's Instagram account, he covers these topics and has recently been featured in Out Magazine speaking about his marriage to interior designer, Chad McPhail. The article explains that Droste 'doesn’t aspire to be famous and seems most engaged when discussing LGBT rights.' To this day, Droste receives emails from gay teens across the country who he assists with issues they may be facing. To add to this, he also inspired our next indie LGBT icon to come out. Which takes us to:
Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij
Rostam is a former member of indie rock band, Vampire Weekend. He has left the band to focus on his solo career and continues to collaborate with other well-known artists. He came out in 2009 and you can read about his story in his Instagram post below.
Perfume Genius gained much attention in 2012 upon the release of his music video for "Hood." The video involves the artist in scenes with a partially clothed man. His record label had to fight YouTube to prevent it from being banned. According to Flavorwire, they rallied 'gay rights activists, music bloggers, and even Michael Stipe to his cause, and in doing so he brought queer issues to the forefront of indie rock.' To this day he continues to release excellent music paired with intriguing music videos, like 2017's "Die 4 U."
Bandcamp Supports Trans Rights
Bandcamp, the major online indie music store, has announced their support of Trans Rights, stating, that they support their LGBT+ users and staff, and that they stand against any person or group that would see them further marginalized. They further explain:
We will be donating 100% of our share of every sale on Friday, August 4th (from midnight to midnight Pacific Time) to the Transgender Law Center, a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to change law, policy, and culture for the more equitable.
Enjoyed reading this? Let the music shuffle on and read about other LGBT+ artists St. Vincent and Frank Ocean.