Friday, 4 July 2008

On Kissing Girls

Like Katy Perry I too have kissed a girl and liked it. I make a point of doing it regularly to make sure I still like it. And I do. I get a special charge out of kissing femme girls, of course, and therefore can identify with Katy about the taste of cherry chapstick. I have tasted cherry, strawberry, raspberry and I believe grape chapstick on the lips of femme girls, and many types of lipgloss too, which I can report are largely flavourless. Unlike girls’ lips. They taste pretty damn good.

But I digress…Suddenly hearing lyrics I could (kinda) relate to blasting from my car tuner was a pleasant surprise. I listened with interest to the story of the bi-curious girl who wanted to do what good girls don’t do (kiss a girl). It reminded me of early film and tv ventures into the wonderful world of Gays. A story told from a straight perspective about ‘trying’ and occasionally discovering homosexuality. A gentle foray into a mysterious world, which is actually only mysterious to the general public because our life is not often represented in song, story or saga.

Why are gays so invisible in chart song lyrics? We’ve made it vaguely into stage, tv and film but chart lyrics are the last arena where you could be forgiven for thinking everyone is straight. Tatu got people excited in 2003 with ‘All the things she said’, but could I just mention: 2003 is five years ago. Before that I’m struggling think of any gay lyrics: its been decades since Tom Robinson was Glad to be Gay and Frankie told us to Relax. There are as few Out musicians as there are actors Out in Hollywood: Melissa Etheridge, KD Lang, George Michael, the Pet Shop Boys, Beth Ditto…comments please if you know of people and tunes I don’t.

Prejudice runs deep, deeper than the concept that most of the world is straight and therefore all songs and stories should be. If the statistics of what we see and hear were accurately reflecting the number of gay consumers there would be one and a half gays and they would be living in North Acton on a Sunday in March. Lots of people have kissed, its not especially thrilling if its two girls, two boys or a boy and a girl and a hairdresser from Wembley. What is cool is everybody getting to experience themselves reflected.

Is it ungrateful and cynical to view each advance as a marker of how far we still have to go? I hope and trust this tune is a sign we’re moving towards real equality. With London Pride one day away, I’m feeling the importance of being Out. By being ourselves the rest of the world has the opportunity to get used to us. We stop being mysterious, forbidden fruits. Our visibility increases and, as special as we individually are, being gay becomes something very ordinary.

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