By Kat Hamilton
I love playing pop-punk. Concurrently, my face sinks when I see another picture of four guys standing against a white wall. Some of these bands are my favorite, but I can’t help feeling like they perpetuate a strange ripple effect. What I mean is cisgender white males have exhausted the genre.
Most of us have seen the GIFs of popular festivals with the all male bands removed. It’s very depressing, but not surprising. What’s even more saddening is the lack of queer positive bands in those same festivals. Warped Tour is one of the most guilty when it comes to exclusion of… well, everyone else. Summer after summer, the lineup continues as a bunch of white dudes take over the line-up, with few bands feature female singers, or even female solo pop artists. As I would like to be on Warped tour one day, I am torn.
The Warped Tour fanbase is, quite obviously, teenage heavy. I wonder about that 15 year old boy who comes home from Warped Tour so pumped that he decides to start a band. What happens if he wants to be in a band AND has a boyfriend-- will he feel unsafe in his scene?
Going forward, what would the future of music look like if teenagers were shown more diversity: in sex, in gender, and in general? This is the overall conundrum I grapple with. No matter how incredible the music is, these bands, including my own to some degree, hurt the scene by perpetuating stereotypes.
I can’t help being frustrated with the exclusion of these scenes - the scenes that are supposed to represent the weird kids and the outcasts. Bands are writing songs about how they don’t fit in, but for a teenager who is coming out or questioning, there is no one to look up to. I didn’t have a lot of queer artists to look up to myself, and I want to change that.
I came up with a list (see below) of queer-friendly acts that would be a welcomed change to Warped Tour. Though not all of the bands on here have out members, their storytelling and fan-bases support the queer community.
Your move, Kevin Lyman.
* Please note: not all bands listed have out members, but are included in this list based on their positive effect on the queer community. As well, some of these bands have been on previous Warped Tour lineups.
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