Spin magazine posts special report on homophobia in indie rock

Leisha Hailey cried 'homophobia' when she was booted off a Southwestern flight. Other LGBT musicians have endured many different types of attacks while moving forward with their art.

Following the Leisha Hailey/Southwest Airlines incident, Spin magazine’s Rich Juzwiak wrote this piece on homopobia toward LGBT musicians, mostly independent ones. The article wasn’t just sparked by the plane episode (by the way, have you seen this?), but also by the bashing incident against Violent Lovers band members Brontez Purnell and Adal Castellon at Club Paradiso in Oakland in August and a few other accounts of out musicians suffering literally for their art.

The piece is compelling with perspectives by the likes of Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, Hunx and his Punx’s Seth Bogart and MEN’s JD Samson, all who have graced our pages or blog as well. While it may not answer questions or find solutions to homophobic tendencies in the industry, it does paint a picture of what smaller queer bands have to endure just to play music. From SPIN: ‘

Purnell, Hailey, and Grey are far from the first gay artists to encounter serious resistance as a result of their sexuality, of course. In fact, if you ask most out musicians about their experiences with homophobia, you’ll hear a story that will break your heart. I did, at least, when collecting anecdotes for this piece. Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt was pelted with bottles, rocks, and slurs outside a club in Philadelphia in the 1990s. Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart was called a “fag” and had lit cigarettes thrown at him onstage in 2003 in Austin, Texas. After Holly Miranda recently played her song “Pelican Rapids,” about Proposition 8, the 2008 California amendment restricting marriage as only between a man and a woman, she was confronted by a “big, burly door guy” who said that “if I got with him, he would make me do a 360,” says the singer-songwriter. “I was like, ‘I think you mean a 180. You’re more right than you know.’”

I would love to have heard input by the somewhat elder statesmen of LGBT music like Melissa Etheridge or Elton John. Does the homophobia go away once your big or is it just easier to shield away from with awards and gazillions of dollars.

Be sure and check it out.

 

—  Rich Lopez