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Even if you live under a rock, if you're queer I can guarantee you've heard the name Hayley Kiyoko. Far from her days as a Disney Channel star, Kiyoko has taken the LGBTQ community by storm. And as a pansexual woman in a queer relationship... I am f*&%#%@ here for it.
Honestly, it's about damn time we had a female artist that was unabashedly and proudly queer. Yes, we have Melissa Etheridge and Tracy Chapman, but their music isn't explicitly gay. Neither of them use pronouns when discussing their lovers in their songs. We know they're gay... but it is incredibly refreshing to see music videos where it's ladies lovin' on some ladies. She uses female pronouns when describing her lovers. She shows women in her music videos. There isn't a chance you could mistake the message of her work. In an interview with Stephen Horowitz just this past March, Hayley said, "If you see two girls falling in love and normalizing that, then [people] can go, 'I can fall in love, too. I can be that person. I can look like that. I can get a girl that looks like that.' If they see that, then they can believe it. It’s just how we are."
And her content is something that just about every queer girl goes through. Like in her song "Feelings," Kiyoko sings, "I over-communicate and feel too much, I just complicate it when I say too much." It's the classic lesbian catch-22. Relationships work really well because of open communication and talking through feelings, but... a lot of time is devoted to communicating and talking feelings (Check out Hannah Hart's video "Worst Things About Dating A Girl." She knows). Or, if you want to fall even deeper into the lesbian trope rabbit hole, there is "Sleepover." Because les-bi-honest, who hasn't had a crush on their frustratingly straight best friend? You play the part of the dutiful friend because she's your girl. No matter what, you love her and don't want to lose her from your life. So you sit and listen to her talk about her boyfriend and think about how you would treat her so much better and braid her hair for her and sleep next to her in bed at sleepovers because, after all, it's better to play second chair than not play in the band at all... no, I'm not bitter... Anywho.
As further proof of why we need this sort of representation in media, Kiyoko just recently commented in an interview with Refinery29, "I’ve had several music industry execs say, ‘You’re doing another music video about girls?’ I literally looked at them and was like, ‘Um, yeah ... Taylor Swift sings about men in every single song and video, and no one complains that she’s unoriginal.’” And she has a point! Off the top of my head, I can think of 15 songs that Taylor Swiftt has written about a boy or love in general.
No one bats an eye at the literal thousands of songs written by boybands and male artists focusing on women and unrequited love. Why should it be an issue simply because it's coming from another woman?
All the inevitable drama aside, Hayley Kiyoko has been a total hit in the queer community. She's showing a new generation of LGBTQ women that it's okay to be who you are and love who you love. And I, for one, am incredibly proud of Hayley for doing what she loves and not being afraid to be authentically herself. And yes, I am listening to her new album, Expectations, as I type this. I haven't found a track I'm not a fan of, and I cannot wait until more music videos are up! For... scientific research purposes, of course...