For Gay Pride Month, Billboard asked numerous pop culture luminaries to write ‘love letters’ to the LGBTQ community. Below, out-and-proud singer Halsey shares hers. Read more Pride Month love letters here.
Everyday I’m reminded of the beauty in the LGBTQ community.
I see it in the tear streaked faces of two young girls in the audience. Their hair is wild and their eyes electric and they kiss. They kiss with the unbridled syrup sweet passion you can only taste when you are young and in love.
I see it in the wrinkled hands of a man fastening a jacket he designed himself. He laughs and tells me if I care to hear it, he’ll tell me about the years he spent in the Lower East Side designing clothes for drag queens. The hours he’d lay on the floor and laugh while they sang and sauntered and how they looked 20 feet tall like gods among men towering in their heels through the wooden apartment floors. How they’d tackle every stair of a 6 floor walk up apartment in their stilettos and strip off the jackets he’d make them; leaving them safe on an arm chair.
I hear it on the dance floor, and the radio. Beats and movements curated and designed and popularized by gay clubs across the world, many like Pulse, in Florida. When the DJs knew they’d struck a hit once the bodies gyrated, and sweat, and interlocked across the floor.
I feel it in the swing of the songs that dominate my favorite playlists, all of them in some way spun from the spider web of the Blues; the music genre that laid the foundation for modern rock, hip hop, and pop. Lady lovin’ Ma Rainey sang the sorrows of her heart with such soul that moved across sound waves for generations since.
I see it in the smile of a young trans woman in the mirror of a department store on Melrose Ave. She runs her hands along the fabric of her dress and gives a half hearted twirl. Her friends cheer and whistle and laugh and she picks up speed. Her skirt goes round and round and she spins with vigor and with intention. She lands dizzy and stumbling in the lap of her friend and tells the salesperson with a grin “I’ll take it!”
I read it in the lines of my favorite authors. Men and women who knew pain unlike any other. Who felt the lightning strike through their bodies every night they slept away from their lovers. How it infiltrated to their fingertips and formed words and poems no one could birth without knowing the pain of being split in two. Ripped apart like thick alabaster pages and bleeding like ink from a quill.
I feel it to my core in memories of the first time I kissed a girl. It trembles in my nervous lips. I see it in her shiny red hair and it burst forth from every freckle across her nose. I smell it in the humid air fogging up the windows of a cabin in the woods. And it rustles through our soft breath shimmering through the kind of quiet you can only catch in the forest.
And so I shout it. As loud as I can. In my lyrics. In my art. In a rainbow flag waving across thousands of pixels across my stage. I shout it in the faces of the oppressors and I shout it hand in hand with both my beautiful young fans, and the queer folk that I look up to everyday.
Our beauty is in every corner of the world. In the fabric of our past. In the glimmer of our vibrant future. We are beautiful. And I am so in love with everything you are and everything you have ever been. This is my love letter to you.