Untitled by Juliana Huxtable, Something undeniable is happening. Social media is vibrating with an impending sense of revolution, and the inescapable results of this can be found in hidden pockets of our youth culture. Slowly but surely, people are finding themselves, they are coming out of hiding for all to see, and they are not compromising. They are they. They are genderqueer, genderfluid, genderquestioning. Whatever you want to call it, the way we see gender is finally changing.
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Music has always been a home for the outliers—for those who live in the margins, whom society at large is uneasy to accept. Although transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming musicians have always existed, widespread societal prejudice has often kept them from being open about their identities. And in that spirit: a selection of songs by trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming artists whose music runs the gamut in terms of sound and genre, but shares an undercurrent of beauty wrought bright by truth. In this catchy, synth-loaded track by genderfluid musician Dorian Electra, the common heteronormative understanding of masculinity is cracked open and reformulated entirely. Rather than expend the time and effort to craft a wearying mask of strength and violence, Electra sings to us, men might find a more rewarding brand of power by building genuine love for each other. Growing up, rapper Angel Haze was the first person I ever heard of existing in defiance of the gender binary. I had long loved the sometimes ferocious, sometimes achingly tender tone of xer music, and the revelation of one of my favorite musicians identifying as agender introduced me to an entirely new concept, a novel way of being. Soul singer and trans rights activist Shea Diamond tackles police brutality and gun violence towards Black and brown trans people in her powerful latest single.
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Musician and student from Pennsylvania who knows very little. Popular music is built upon artists that have toyed with the gender binary. The influence of musicians like Prince, Wendy Carlos, and Genesis P-Orridge on the musical landscape is especially being felt in the modern age, where gender has become a much more openly discussed topic. Artists that identify as transgender or non-binary are finally beginning to see an increased acceptance in the musical world.
Transgender musicians are making their voices heard. From punk rock to hip-hop to folk, trans musicians are showcasing their talents across countless genres and making statements while doing so. In , Against Me!