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Is Bad Bunny Queerbaiting, or Opening Doors for Gender Expression?

Is Bad Bunny Queerbaiting, or Opening Doors for Gender Expression?

Is Bad Bunny Queerbaiting, or Opening Doors for Gender Expression?

"People tend to celebrate these queer aesthetics from a very decidedly heterosexual male as opposed to celebrating the queer people who originate them."

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Last week, Latin trap star Bad Bunny dropped a bombshell of a music video for "Yo Perreo Sola" where he gets in full drag, grinds on himself, and effectively pissed off queerphobic people around the world. 

The notorious rule-breaker and outspoken LGBTQ+ ally currently identifies as straight but has spoken up for our community over and over again, whether it's swatting away haters of his glossy acrylic nails or honoring a slain Puerto Rican trans woman on Jimmy Fallon. His new album is aptly titled YHLQMDLG, an acronym that translates to "I do whatever I want."

In the latest episode from the Only Stans podcast, music industry obsessives Ryan and Taylor start a conversation on whether the video is queerbaiting, an appropriation of LGBTQ+ culture, or if Bad Bunny's kicking open the door for wider acceptance of queer aesthetics—and eventually the people behind them.

As Ryan points out, "People tend to celebrate these queer aesthetics from a very decidedly heterosexual male as opposed to celebrating the queer people who originate them and live these sort of ideals in their day to day lives."

"There's definitely something to be said of the fact that Bad Bunny is willing to risk the ire of traditionalists by putting on some titties and a dress," Ryan continues. "While also acknowledging that yes, it does come across as a little bit more palatable."

Taylor agrees, but wonders if this is just the process oppressed groups have to navigate to be celebrated in the same way. "A part of being accepted into the mainstream is that the people who are already in the mainstream have to do it first," he says. "We can go all the way back to Elvis and other people who snatched things from Black culture while the people who were doing it weren't getting credit for it."

Not to say Bad Bunny is snatching anything from anyone, but Taylor wonders if "that has to happen for the people who are actually creating to get their moment. That's what I feel like is happening right now. All these straight guys are borrowing from queer culture because it's cool and it's something people haven't seen before. It's annoying for us because we've been around it."

He then compares two artists with very similar aesthetics but whose careers have different trajectories. "I feel like this has to happen for the Troye Sivans of the world to actually get a fighting chance in the industry. Because why is Lauv so much more popular than Troye Sivan?" he asks. "I could be upset that Lauv is borrowing all these queer aesthetics but I'm hoping it's going to open the door."

Join the conversation on Instagram or Twitter. And listen to the latest episode of the Only Stans podcast below!

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