The Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day set aside by the international community to honor those who have lost their lives due to transphobia, took place on Nov. 20 since its creation in 1999. Since then, the single day of remembrance has evolved into a month-long avocational period where LGTBQ+ groups throughout the world host events to educate others about transgender and gender nonconforming people.
Sadly, this extension of the single day of remembrance was not a result of discovering how many people in the United States identify as transgender, which a 2016 study by the Williams Institute found to be over 1.4 million people. Instead, it was because of the rising death toll due to transphobia-induced violence and the resulting need for education to extinguish any hatred felt toward this community.
In honor of Transgender Awareness Month, I interviewed and worked with members of Fairfield Alliance as well as other groups organizing events, vigils and discussions regarding the transgender community throughout the month of November. These events have included a screening of “Gender Revolution — A Journey with Katie Couric” on Nov. 3 and will continue with events such as a talk titled “Why God Doesn’t Hate LGTBQ+” in the Faber Meditation Room on Nov. 15.
This list of songs was compiled by Fairfield Alliance in honor of Transgender Awareness month and more songs relevant to the LGTBQ+ community can be found by following the link attached to the online article.
“Vogue” — Madonna
“Voguing” was a really important movement in the trans and general gay community during the ‘70s, ‘80s and into early ‘90s; it was the first form of catwalk/dance that was prominent at drag balls in New York City and is the roots of the dance moves of modern drag queens. The song “Vogue” popularized this even more and cemented Madonna as a gay icon.
“I’m Coming Out” — Diana Ross
Though it wasn’t intentionally a song meant to be a gay anthem, Diana Ross penned one of the most iconic pride songs ever. It’s synonymous with “coming out” and being open, and made her a figure to look up to in the LGTBQ+ community.
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” — Whitney Houston
With this feel-good song that just makes you want to dance, this is one of the reasons Whitney is considered a female icon among the gay community, with the likes of Madonna, Cher and Diana Ross. Her powerful yet emotional voice acted as representative of the LGBTQ+ community, and this song is no exception.
“I Want to Break Free” — Queen
Freddie Mercury’s status as one of the most iconic bisexual men in music history is only furthered with this song. It has a strong, pro-LGBTQ+ message, reflecting the idea of wanting to come out and be free. With a music video to match of Mercury in full drag, this song was, and still is, a classic.
“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” —Sylvester
This is a class disco jam from Sylvester, who was himself very fluid in experimenting with his gender. In any movie set in a gay club in the ‘70s or ‘80s, this song is definitely playing and is a legendary song that was good to dance to and meant a lot to trans and gay people alike.
“It’s Raining Men” — The Weather Girls
Like Sylvester’s disco hit, this song became a club anthem, especially with queer men. It’s an ‘80s anthem about care-free enjoyment and happiness.
“If I Could Turn Back Time” — Cher
Cher is a queen in the eyes of the gay community, especially those who first heard her music during the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. This song is a classic from her and, if you’ve ever seen “Will & Grace,” this is the song Jack, the flamboyant comic relief, sings the most.
“Freedom ‘90” — George Michael
This George Michael hit was about his change in musical stylings after the end of Wham!, and wanting to change his public image from a heartthrob to a serious artist. However, the lyrics have resonated with the LGBTQ+ community with their messages of self-acceptance, confidence in one’s self, and, most importantly, freedom.