The LGBTQ community has historically been ostracized in mainstream music, which is why I listen to 97.5 Pride Radio Austin. Pride Radio Austin is practically the only station I indulge in because I support their attempts to include the LGBTQ community on air. The station specifically caters to the LGBTQ community, but they lack actual LGBTQ musicians.
Pride Radio Austin needs to loosen their grip on the mainstream artists and grab ahold of actual LGBTQ artists.
Artists use their music to put listeners’ feelings into lyrics, which is why it’s important to have artists that do that specifically for the LGBTQ community. Pride Radio Austin plays more mainstream songs that don’t quite connect with LGBTQ issues or emotions, as mainstream music itself does not feature many LGBTQ folk. Typically, chart-topping artists like Katy Perry, Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson or remixes of other artists’ hits are played quite a bit, excluding smaller up-and-coming artists.
Music is the easiest way to connect with your feelings, whether you’re going through a bad breakup or you’re in the middle of falling in love. English junior Morgan Southworth, who is bisexual, believes that representation is imperative in the music world.
“People love songs because they can relate to them and find something of themselves in the lyrics,” Southworth said. “It helps you realize there are people who feel the same way and have the same experiences as you — which can’t always be obtained with straight, popular artists.”
Actress and singer Hayley Kiyoko exemplifies why it’s important for LGBTQ artists to be played on the station. Kiyoko’s music deserves a spot on radio because her music tackles LGBTQ issues. Her indie pop song “Girls Like Girls” reiterates that it’s okay for girls to like women the same way boys do. This hit has sparked #glg, creating an online movement of acceptance and inspiring some to come out. “Sleepover” is another gem that illustrates the struggles of liking a straight girl that will never reciprocate one’s feelings. Her music is raw and captures LGBTQ feelings that straight individuals don’t have to go through.
Kiyoko and others like her deserve the chance to showcase their art, especially on platforms that specifically cater to the community. The LGBTQ community deserves better representation, especially on their own radio station. It’s time we give actual LGBTQ artists a chance to share their work.
McLean is an English junior from Houston.