I’ve been listening to Hamilton for months and it’s struck me: popular music can be a powerful way of redefining ourselves, our identities and histories. My workshop explored this from a queer perspective. We discussed ‘queer icons’ and how certain tracks or songs define our identities. The themes of confidence and performance kept coming up, but also the outsider perspective that so many queer icons present in their music. We asked how queer icons unsettle more mainstream ideas of gay icons, and how this translates into musical form? For some of us, it was four-on-the-floor beats and glossy electronic pop; for others, the defiant, grungy guitar sounds of punk; and to my delight, Hamilton’s playful fusion of rap, hip-hop and Broadway came up too! It’s sparked a project for me on identities in the contemporary German techno scene, so watch this space!
The great thing about the Sexuality in Popular Culture event was being able to talk about comics. I mean, who in their right mind doesn’t think comics can change the world, or at least how we look at it? I enjoyed the chance to get delegates to draw a comic strip of themselves in ways that would challenge popular (and often stereotyped) notions of who they are. Some people framed (no pun intended) their sexuality in the context of ethnicity, race, spirituality, beliefs about the larger world in which they live, and also in terms of the increasingly conservative politics that threaten our basic freedoms. There was a lot of creativity in the drawings that I saw from the delegates, which made me smile and has given me plenty of new trope-busting ideas!