Wrabel Depicts a Trans Teen's Struggle in Moving 'The Village' Video
In the aftermath of President Donald Trump's proposal to ban transgender troops from military service last week, Los Angeles singer-songwriter Wrabel joined a team of musicians to create a video for Billboard & GLAAD to support trans rights. He continues to champion the issue with the moving music video for "The Village" today (Aug. 1), which follows a transgender teen struggling to find acceptance.
The five-minute video doesn't shy away from highlighting the daily struggles of many transgender teenagers, beginning with a scene in which the protagonist's father bursts in on their attempting to conceal their breasts with tape. "In nature, a flock will attack any bird that is more colorful than the others because being different is seen as a threat," reads the video's opening titles.
"This song is the most important thing to me that I have ever done and probably will ever do. It's the closest thing to my heart," the singer born Stephen Wrabel tells Billboard. "I came out as gay around 23 into a church in Los Angeles that told me I could and should change; that I was unnatural and wrong. I hope this reaches anyone in need of it and makes them feel like they're not alone."
The singer adds that he wrote the song in February, just after Trump removed federal protections for trans students in public schools. When Trump announced the ban on transgender military personnel recently, Wrabel says he immediately called his management to "get [the video] out ASAP." Around the 1:25 mark, the film cuts to breaking news of Trump's ban flashing on a television screen.
As the story develops, we follow the protagonist through awkward family dinners and toxic high school hallways until an uplifting ending. Meanwhile, Wrabel croons lyrics about being misunderstood at a piano -- "there's nothing wrong with you / it's true," he belts, his cheeks streaked with a rainbow of paint.
It's not Wrabel's first tribute to the LGBTQ community through song. Ahead of the 2017 Logo Trailblazer Honors in late July, Wrabel joined Hayley Kiyoko and Alex Newell for a special performance of Cyndi Lauper's gay anthem "True Colors."
Watch the full, thought-provoking video for "The Village," which is "dedicated to all the colorful birds," below.