"I am a musician, and I identify as queer to my friends and family… but not publicly. I am worried that if I come out publicly, it will close doors to me as I move forward in my career. I don’t want to be a ‘lesbian singer-songwriter’… I just want to be a musician. Is that bad?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Cassidy Hill as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions.
The Short Answer: No, it’s not bad. Being visible in your music career has everything to do with your specific situation, your target audience, etc. There’s no obligation for you to be a “lesbian singer-songwriter.” It’s all about doing what’s right for you.
The LONG Answer: Coming out is a process that never, ever (EVER) ends, and in This Business of Art (shout out to Tegan & Sara’s second album!), it can be especially tricky. I’ve definitely struggled with it, and I continue to do so. There are times when I think to myself, “Oooh, same sex marriage is now legal in Florida! Should I post about it on my site?” Or “I really like this new song I’m writing, but should I say ‘she’ in this verse?” I’m working on my first music video, and I ultimately made the decision to write in a female love interest (AND I’M TRYING REALLY HARD NOT TO FREAK OUT ABOUT IT ON AN HOURLY BASIS). It can even be something dumb like, “Will I look too gay if I wear this vest on stage?” I’m literally worried that what I WEAR can make people like my music less. My music doesn’t even wear clothes! How on earth is that fair?
HOWEVER, I strongly prefer being out. When I was first starting, I wasn’t really out out. Friends and family knew, but it made me angry that I HAD to come out at all. “My music doesn’t have a sexuality,” as Sara Quin often says. I just wanted to write some songs, play them for people, pack up my guitar, and then go home and do gay stuff. But then: the music stopped coming. I went through a horrible writer’s block that lasted for-frickin-EVER. The efforts of keeping sexuality a secret became overwhelming and my songwritin’ hand became paralyzed with fear. My music might not have a sexuality, but I do. I couldn’t separate the two.
But hey, that might just be my style of songwriting! Maybe you’re much better at compartmentalizing. Maybe you’re starting your music career in a less liberal location than I. Maybe you’d like to keep your music and sexuality separate while you gain a following and establish yourself. Like I said, it’s all about doing what’s right for YOU.
In my situation, I really like the musical community that surrounds me—it’s full of people at every point along the gender/sexuality/ethnicity/etc spectrums. It also helps having role models like Tegan & Sara, Mary Lambert, Jenny Owen Youngs et cetera. I thought to myself, “I want to be that for other people.” Being visible became bigger than just avoiding writers block. Suddenly, being a “lesbian singer-songwriter” just FELT right; it felt like the thing to do. It might not feel right for you, and that’s okay.
I can’t pretend that coming out publicly will have zero effect on what kind of audience you attract, though I definitely believe that the world is constantly changing and improving for the LGBTQ peeps in this country. If you eventually decide that being visible is what you want to do, I think you might be pleasantly surprised by some very welcoming arms.
Good luck in your music! I hope everything works out for the best!
P.S. Tegan and Sara’s episode of the Nerdist podcast was really awesome to listen to. They talk a lot about what being visible in the music industry is like. They’re also funny and adorable and always worth listening to regardless. I also recommend reading Chely Wright’s book, Like Me and/or watching her documentary Wish Me Away on Netflix. She had a hard time staying closeted within the extremely conservative country music industry, but I find her story so incredible.
Click through to read more about Cassidy and our other Second Opinions Panelists!
"Based on your abilities to make a break-up playlist, I’m assuming you’d build a fantastic make out / doing it playlist?? CAN THAT HAPPEN I WANT TO ROMANCE A FEMALE."
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Based on you being right, YOU’RE RIGHT. My picks below!
**CLICK HERE FOR DANNIELLE’S MAKE-OUT PLAYLIST**
1. Silhouette – Active Child ft. Ellie Goulding
2. Come Thru – Drake
3. West Coast (Rob Orton Mix) – Lana Del Rey
4. Believe Me – Lil Wayne, Drake
5. Pull Me Down – Mikky Ekko
6. Glory and Gore – Lorde
7. Open – Rhye
8. Coffee – Sylvan Esso
9. Coming Down – The Weeknd
10. Brain – Banks
11. Landfill – Daughter
12. In The Mornin – J. Cole ft. Drake
13. What You Need – The Weeknd
I agree with you being right and this was v fun. Also FYI I allotted you 5 minutes of post-makeout/doin’ it cuddle time on my list. Use it wisely.
**CLICK HERE FOR KRISTIN’S MAKE-OUT PLAYLIST**
YOU ARE ALSO WELCOME.
1. Thinkin Bout You – Frank Ocean
2. In The Waiting Line – Zero 7
3. Highschool Lover – Air
4. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
5. My Doorbell – The White Stripes
6. Ooh La La – Goldfrapp
7. Desire Lines – Deerhunter
8. 12:51 – The Strokes
9. Drumming Song – Florence + The Machine
10. Your Touch – The Black Keys
11. Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
Everyone Is Gay has started a new project to help parents who have LGBTQ kids: Check out The Parents Project!
"What are the best songs to listen to when you’ve dumped? Super sad or super happy?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
1. “I Don’t Wanna Love Somebody Else” – A Great Big World
2. “Half A Heart” – One Direction
3. “Stay” – Rihanna & Mikky Ekko
4. “Waiting Game” – Banks
5. “Maybe You’re Right” – Miley Cyrus
6. “Every Time” – Britney Spears
7. “I Don’t Wanna See You” – Camera Obscura
8. “Your Side of the Bed” – Little Big Town
9. “Dead Hearts” – Stars
10. “That Should Be Me” – Justin Bieber
11. “Don’t Forget” – Demi Lovato
12. “Doing it Wrong” – Drake
13. “All My Little Words” – The Magnetic Fields
1. “Cry” – Kelly Clarkson
2. “Don’t Speak” – No Doubt
3. “That’s What You Get” – Paramore
4. “The Next Girl” – The Black Keys
5. “Winter Song” – Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
6. “Boats & Birds” – Gregory & The Hawk
7. “I Don’t Want to Get Over You” – The Magnetic Fields
8. “Fuck Was I” – Jenny Owen Youngs
9. “Forever for Her” – The White Stripes
10. “You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morisette
11. “Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson
(AKA: Kelly Clarkson bread wrapped around your sobs & screams sandwich.)
"What do you think about Miley’s We Can’t Stop video?"
- Question submitted by Miley Cyrus aka Anonymous
I think getting ‘turnt up’ to be cool is really dumb. I think making out with a doll in a pool is silly. I think trying to twerk is admirable. I think using pepto bismol as fake blood is…whatever. I think giant teddy bear backpacks ARE THE GREATEST THING INVENTED. I think a piñata full of hotdogs is a fucking cop out (EDIT: JUST LEARNED THESE ARE CIGARS/BLUNTS AND IT’S SITLL NOT CANDY SO *EYE ROLL*). I think I’m not into crop tops. I think leotards are meant for the dance floor. I think eating a money sandwich is number one on the list of how to get Hepatitis. I think making a skull of french fries is cool until you step on the skull because at that point you just wasted french fries, which infuriates me to no end.
I also think I wrote all of this from memory and I have seen the video about 56 times at this point, so like… whatever she was trying to do obviously worked.
Last night I watched a “How To” video on Twerking.
Is that an answer?
“Danielle and Kristin; please advise asap. In yesterdays webcast were you deliberately making fun of the band Hanson? They are incredibly talented and ever since I was a wee baby lezzie in 1997 I have loved them. Since watching your webcast several hours ago I am now losing sleep thinking about your song choice and performance. I am probably being paranoid and you probably love them as much as I do.... I just need to know for sure though. Thanks, love you guys!”
-Question submitted by Anonymous
I’ve seen Hanson in concert 5 times.
In November of 2008, I was living in Chicago. Obama was at grant park giving an acceptance speech b/c he had just become the president-elect. I was 3 blocks away at the House of Blues dancing and screaming to ‘Where’s the Love’ with two of my favorite people in the entire world…
so, CALM TF DOWN.
I title this: “Lesbians Need to Calm Down.”