Prolific pop songwriter Justin Tranter has teamed up with GLAAD to call for more LGBTQ visibility in music. The video is part of GLAAD’s Transgender Awareness Week, an initiative to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people and address issues the community faces.
In a video premiering Thursday (Nov. 16) exclusively with Billboard, Tranter — who has penned hits for the likes of Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Kesha and Justin Bieber — speaks alongside other LGBTQ figures in music like RuPaul, country songwriter Shane McAnally and members of the Los Angeles Trans Chorus about the importance of music in their lives and the duty to encourage LGBTQ youth in their musical pursuits. Tranter serves on GLAAD’s Board of Directors and identifies as gender non-conforming.
“Music spoke to me when I was young in such an intimate, empowering, magical way, and I think that music is already doing that for young queer kids,” Tranter says. “It can do even more if we just put a little bit of effort.” For Tranter, his awakening came when he listened to the music of Ani DiFranco: “Hearing her embrace her queerness and hearing her embrace her strong, powerful femininity — that made me feel safer than anything could.”
RuPaul adds, “When things get tough, I always turn to music.” After building a television empire with his Drag Race brand, it’s easy to forget that RuPaul first sashayed into the American consciousness with music: his 1992 hit “Supermodel” remains one of drag’s biggest touchstones to this day. “Growing up queer has allowed me to not put boundaries on art of colors or life or anything,” he reflects.
The video closes with a performance of “Let the Sunshine In” from the musical Hair performed by the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, including members who were interviewed for the PSA.
Check out the moving video below.
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