Recognizing a moment when you’re in the moment is a wild trip. Sometimes a moment is so undeniable, I tear up to an embarrassing level of crying-possibilities. When you’re a feminist who believes rock ‘n roll will save your soul, and that “girls to the front” should be the M.O. at every single concert, you tend to put a ton of loyalty into music, even when you’re not sure about its movement. In 2014, movement is what made music a queer space for expression, and evolution. This year, I found myself awestruck and bleary eyed in front of my TV or computer so many times I lost count, because—hello, we got gay married at the Grammys.
Whether 2014 brought with it a new wave in music—out musicians covering the genre spectrum from country to hip hop, throngs of independent female-fronted bands gazing our way, or we’ve spun the hexagon color wheel and landed on progression—music is feeling really gay. Queerness in music is like having a lucid dream, and you go off and fly, do cartwheels through walls, scream at the top of your lungs. You just go weird; you go for it, because it feels freeing to be yourself. By the way, did you know that songwriter Sia told Howard Stern she’ll only tour if it involves dogs and queers?
Whatever next year brings, we’ll have to meet with retrospect when the decade ends and pay our respects to ’14. We took back something—words, terms, labels, definitions, boundaries, and through music we gained even more—gender bending, queer-centric acts, performances, declarations and moments.
And we all buzzed about it for two days, having a nice laugh over their 15-minute reunion in the fame spotlight, because half our hearts went back in time to a middle school birthday party at the roller skating rink and the other half was like WTF? Of course, the pair, Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina, aren’t gay, and there’s been buttloads of backlash ever since they hit the headlines for their performance in unrelated instances for making alleged homophobic slurs. But—they’re not gonna get us! P.S. You may not have known that the Russian translation of their band name refers to the phrase, “This girl loves that girl”—a risky performance pick considering all the hostility in Russia against queers.
14. Debbie Harry came out as bisexual.
I was busy watching Little Darlings when this news-item came out, that’s my only excuse for being under a rock when it came to the Blondie rock star admitting to having feelings for the ladies. In April, the singer came out to the Daily Mail, expressing her openness toward dating women. My imagination immediately flashes to those legendary snapshots of Debbie hanging out with Joan Jett back in the day. Nudge, nudge. I’ll also never forget the first time I heard/saw Blondie—on a syndicated American Bandstand episode with Debbie singing “Heart of Glass,” surrounded by an airy aura of golden light. In her recent interview, the now 68-year-old said when questioned on those longtime rumors about her relationships with women, that, “Yeah, let’s say women are more sensual.” Sure, she had a long-term relationship with her bandmate Chris Stein, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fantasize about all the possibilities the 70s-icon sexed up when she was having her fun. Hey, maybe she still is. Call me? You can call me, call me—anytime.
13. Hunter Valentine stood up as trans allies and bowed out from MichFest.
Due to the festival’s “Womyn born Womyn” policy, disallowing trans women from attending the annual music festival, the all-female rock band we became acquainted with circa The Real L Word, decided against performing this year, thereby taking a strong queer stance on the controversial festival guidelines. In a statement on their Facebook page, the band wrote: “The issue with us playing Michigan Womyn’s Festival lies in how we do now, and always have believed that the term women includes transgender women. In our mind the term ‘trans’ should not be a label that alienates. We have always felt and identified as positive trans allies and feel that playing the festival would directly contradict our beliefs that a trans woman is a woman and should be seen, respected and treated as such.” Of all the big events HV has been a part of in 2014, this is considerably the queerest moment for the band—in which they took a stand, created a conversation, and expressed their feelings as true trans allies.