Thursday, 21 February 2008

Queer Songs

A couple of days ago, I was helping Slightly to prepare a lecture he gave for LGBT History Month. I knew there was going to be a sound system on the night and thought I would quickly put together a playlist of gay songs to play in the background while people were arriving.

In doing my selection, I have deliberately moved away from the usual disco and dance anthems which are supposed to be favourites in the community but ultimately only speak indirectly about our experience. Since the event, I have done a little research and my (non-exhaustive) list has now grown to 55 songs, all of which directly and explicitly talk about the gay, lesbian, bi or trans experience. The only possible exceptions to this being three same-sex duets. It is interesting to notice, by the way how, many songs with a Trans theme seem to be out there.

The last four tracks at the bottom are two songs with and a translation.

The list of songs can be found below in blocks of 10 and in alphabetical order by artist first name. Please, feel free to submit other titles fitting my criteria.

You Are My Sister (feat Boy George) - Antony & The Johnsons
I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy - Antony & The Johnsons
You Don't Know Me - Armand Van Helden
Sexual Revolution - Army of Lovers
Si Demain - Turn Around, Total Eclipse (feat. Kareen Antonn) - Bonnie Tyler
Why - Bronski beat
Smalltown Boy - Bronski Beat
I Was Born This Way - Carl Bean
Ziggy - Celine Dion
Beautiful Boyz (feat. Antony Hegarty) - CocoRosie

Pour ne pas vivre seul - Dalida
Rebel Rebel - David Bowie
I'm Coming Out - Diana Ross
Jesus by 45 - Ebony Tay
Jet Boy, Jet Girl - Elton Motello
Glory Box - Faith No More (Portishead Cover)
Micheal - Franz Ferdinand
Outside - George Michael
I Am What I Am - Gloria Gaynor
Freaks - Imperial Teens

The Devil's Mollies - Joel Gibb
Wig In a Box - John Cameron Mitchell
The Origin of Love - John Cameron Mitchell
Angry Inch - John Cameron Mitchell
Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed
Stereosexual - Mecano
Sans contrefaçon - Mylène Farmer
Maman à tort - Mylène Farmer
Tuesday, 3 am - Nita Whitaker
Another Beautiful Day - Nita Whitaker

The Night I Fell in Love - Pet Shop Boys
It's A Sin - Pet Shop Boys
Can You Forgive Her? - Pet Shop Boys
Homosapien - Pete Shelly
The Killing Of Georgie (Part I And II) - Rod Stewart
The Art Teacher - Rufus Wainwright
Gay Messiah - Rufus Wainwright
She's My Man - Scissor Sisters
Shut Up (And Sleep With Me) - Sin With Sebastian
Let Me Be A Drag Queen - Sister Queen

Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover - Sophie B. Hawkins
Freaks - Stephen Trask
Lola - The Kinks
I Can Make You A Man - Tim Curry
Sweet Transvestite - Tim Curry
All Mine (feat. Divine Comedy) - Tom Jones
Glad To Be Gay - Tom Robinson Band
Real Men - Tori Amos
What More Can I Say (Falsettoland) - Michael Rupert
Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other - Willie Nelson

Adam et Yves - Zazie

What Makes A Man - Charles Aznavour
Comme ils disent - Charles Aznavour
Une Femme Avec Une Femme - Mecano
Mujer Contra Mujer - Mecano

For those interested, the Queer Heritage Music website might prove valuable.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Small Victory

This afternoon, I went to the Imperial War Museum (next door to where I live) to attend one of the two screenings of Sex and War, a documentary directed by Annie Paul in 1998 for the BBC's Timewatch series, the museum had scheduled to mark LGBT History Month.

The film uses the stories of British servicemen who fought bravely for their country during the Second World War and the example of the Dutch Army which started to welcome gay people in its ranks from 1994 to explore the arguments in the debate around the legalisation of homosexuality which was taking place in the UK at the time of the making of the film.

The film includes testimonies from gay (and straight) men from the three services as well as a particularly prejudiced interview with Air Chief Marshall Sir Michael Armitage, the former head of military intelligence (his view are reproduced in the contemporaneous links below).

The ban on gays in the UK armed services was official lifted in 2000.

The film was very and, with hindsight, the homophobic comments were rather funny ("real men don't like to take showers with men who like to take showers with men"). There were about 20 people in the room (though some left early), which is rather good considering how little promotion was made and also tallies with what we get for our local events. They also had flyers on prominent display at the information desk for the Month in general and the local events in particular.

This is the first year that the Museum is celebrating LGBT History Month and I am proud to say that am less than a little instrumental to this happening. As I think I mentioned before on this blog, I have now been trying to get the museum to celebrate the month for about two years now. This started after my attending an event for Black History Month and thinking: Why not us too?!

Last year I drew up a long-ish document explaining the Month, what it could do for the museum, how it could be promoted and giving ideas of events and a list of resources they could tap into. I then had a meeting with the Head of Education at the Museum to submit this. And kept on nagging lobbying her gently...

If she had looked a little bewildered when I first button-holed her at the end of that Black History Month meeting, she has been otherwise quite supportive of the idea and if there was some reluctance (which I am not sure there was), it came from higher up. Anyway, I do hope that the experience has been positive for the Museum and that it will be an incentive for them to organise more and bigger events in the years to come.

(The second screening is tomorrow, Sunday 3rd at 2pm)

Friday, 1 February 2008

February is LGBT History Month

The fourth edition of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans History Month got on the way today. Learn more about the month here or find an event near you here.