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Lil Nas X Says the Music Industry Wants LGBTQ+ Artists to ‘Be Gay Without Being Gay’

Lil Nas X Says Industry Wants Artists to ‘Be Gay Without Being Gay’

Lil Nas X Says Industry Wants Artists to ‘Be Gay Without Being Gay’

He's calling out music industry double standards.

rachelkiley

Lil Nas X hasn’t shied away from bold and outrageous choices since coming out as gay at the end of pride month in 2019. He went from being convinced he was never going to come out of the closet at all to being one of the most prominent musicians expressing his sexuality through both his music and performances in what felt like no time.

He opened up about that decision recently in an interview with CBS.

“I feel like I’m definitely much more ‘out there’ with it. It’s always been, ‘Okay, if you’re gay, this needs to be sanitized. Let’s not including anything sexual,’” he said of his experience in the music industry. “It’s like, ‘Be gay without being gay. We don’t wanna know what happens behind closed doors, or we don’t want you to express that.”

What’s considered “sexualized” for heterosexual expression vs queer expression has long been a double standard in the larger entertainment industry, even as more LGBTQ+ artists, characters, music, and stories grow in popularity. The bias against queer content, whether conscious or not, runs deep, and Lil Nas is in a unique position to be able to insist on doing things his way — so he does.

“I’m saying that I’m gonna do that if I want to. And I want every other artist to feel the same way,” he said.

Lil Nas also spoke on his most controversial video so far — the one where he rides a stripper pole down to hell and gives Satan himself a lap dance to claim his throne.

"Well, you know the saying, you know, 'Gay people go to Hell,' or anybody in the LGBT community? So it's like, 'Okay, I'm goin' to Hell.' I went to Hell!" he said. "And now people are like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe he did that!' But wasn't I going there anyway? Why are you upset about that?”

In other words, his decision to call out double standards is not only inching the music industry forward, but allowing him an outlet to create art that challenges people’s biases and hypocrisy, if they take a minute to think about it. And as a bonus, it’s giving us truly iconic work from him in the process.

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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.