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Basslines and Protest Signs

Basslines and Protest Signs Part 76: Pride in the Name of Love

It’s June again and that means it’s Pride again. In many ways, time has been standing still over the past 12 months — it almost feels like Pride 2020 just ended last week. But a lot has happened, particularly in the political arena. Much like any other social issue, progress doesn’t mean that we can take our foot off the gas. Putting laws in place doesn’t necessarily mean “happily ever after.” For evidence, look at Roe vs. Wade. Look at voting rights. You can’t take your eye off the ball for a second, there are always people doing everything they can to strip other people’s rights away.

Gay marriage (Marriage Equality) was effectively legalized in all states in 2015 thanks to the Supreme Court. This was a great thing, something to celebrate. But make no mistake, there are many people who still think it’s wrong. Any comment thread on the subject will see society’s worst drag themselves up by their knuckles to type something like, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” That, or something similarly primitive. Homophobia is always wretched but it’s particularly onerous when the perpetrators use religion to justify it. This writer has seen otherwise reasonable people turn to streetcorner preachers at the mention of gay marriage, waxing lyrical about the “last days of Sodom and Gomorrah.” 

For the most part, the music community and the larger artistic community are accepting. It’s generally, to coin a phrase, a safe space. But there are always going to be exceptions. There will always be plenty of those people who tell musicians to “just shut up and sing your songs” when they stand up in support of LGBTQ+ rights and other social issues. It happened this week to, of all people, The B-52’s.

The quirky new-wavers, formed in Georgia in ’76, have long been allies to the queer community, as well as the fact that three of the four members are gay. At the start of month, they posted to social media:

“Happy #PrideMonth to all! More than ever we need to come together to stand up for the rights of our LGBTQIA+ family and friends!”

A completely inoffensive and innocuous statement if ever we heard one. To be fair, the vast majority of their followers posted messages of support in response. But there’s always got to be the turds in the punchbowl.

“Give up. If you haven’t noticed you have more rights than most,” said one idiot who doesn’t understand the concept of equity. “You are NOT special!!!” 

It’s reassuring that the dumbshit was in the minority, as was this fool:

“I’m a fan but what’s with the LGBTLOWIQ woke nonsense. Fine, be who you want to be, hump a tree if it floats your boat…just keep it to yourselves. Just don’t support and add a P to your woke alphabetii . You have the same rights as the rest of us…so Shut up already.”

It’s a sad fact (but a fact all the same) that people like this will always exist — we just have to hope that the numbers keep dwindling. Because right wing fear-mongering is a risk; the scare tactics about trans women and high school sports, for example. Marjorie Taylor Greene posting anti-trans signs in the halls of Congress proves that sometimes the evil monsters have power — even if it’s only a little bit. 

Richard Marx (photo: CasinoRegina via WikiMedia Commons)

I’ve talked about Richard Marx in this column before. The soft rocker is, perhaps surprisingly, hilarious on social media. He’s an avowed liberal and he’s well capable of roasting those on the wrong side of the aisle. This month, however, he simply posted a rainbow flag to his Facebook page. One fan responded with a heartwarming:

“As a nearly lifelong fan, somewhere on the Bi/Pan spectrum, I really appreciate this.”

Beautiful, right? Not according to one gobshite.

“Bi/Pan??? Definitely on a spectrum alright. I understand playing pretend is a big part of not offending your sensibilities but science, biology and fact are irrefutable concerning gender. To put it in layman’s terms he/she and that’s it. Perhaps the disorder BIID has variations including transgenderism. Something worth researching. Besides, DNA will always give you away.”

So what we have here is another person who doesn’t know the difference between gender and sex, or sexuality. The actual science is opposed to the hate-filled rhetoric — it’s been well known for some time that genetics stretch far beyond XX and XY.

Rob Halford (photo: Christopher Dale)

There are few more prominent voices in metal than that of Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, a man who was wearing leather caps for years before he publicly came out. That’s important, gay metal kids had few public figures to look to for comfort back then. Halford confirming his homosexuality, while his own business, was an inspiration to many. Especially when considering the ‘macheesmo’ that infects much of the metal scene. 

Halford took the opportunity to discuss his coming out, as reported by Blabbermouth.

“It was beautiful. It was very unplanned. It was one of those things where I’m at MTV in New York, I’m talking about a project that I was working on called TWO, with myself and John 5, the amazing guitar player. I was doing the rounds in New York City and ended up at MTV talking about this project. And in the casual course of the conversation, we were talking about the overall music, and the direction, and the feelings. And I said something to the effect of, ‘Well, speaking as a gay man… blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And then I heard the producer’s clipboard bounce on the floor. It was one of those gay sharp intakes of breath, ‘Oh my God! He’s come out.’”

Even now, all these years later, and with a figure so beloved within his scene, Halford was met with a bunch of “who cares” and “play your music and leave your agenda to one side.”

It’s astonishing but that’s the reality. These people live among us and, while progress has undoubtedly been made, the same people would love to strip it all away. Don’t ever let them.

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