“Queer people have always been over-sexualized. It’s been the main point of attack for many. It feels like that’s being heightened again, that people are treating queerness as sexual deviance”
Do you think that there are certain stigmas that are making a comeback?
Jesse: Queer people have always been over-sexualized. It’s been the main point of attack for many. It feels like that’s being heightened again, that people are treating queerness as sexual deviance.
Allie: For example, every year there is a big controversy about kink at Pride. Recently, many think of this as a risk, there is a resurgence of people who think these things shouldn’t be shown at Pride, because it’s a family event.
Jesse: Add to that people being afraid of running into a trans woman in a bathroom. I guess we just had a few good years when the language wasn’t as harsh and constant as it feels today.
Allie: We were definitely living in our own echo chambers of beliefs and values. Ever since the Trump-era, social media has gotten so much more violent and algorithms are making it easier to find the content that fuels hatred–very heavy in anti-trans rhetoric now. It’s a reminder that although we don’t see or experience these things every day, these problems still exist and they may be closer to home than we like to think.
Is there such a thing as good or bad publicity when it comes to Pride?
Allie: Usually, I have mixed feelings about corporate Pride, but it can lead to good things. For example, this year in America, Target is working with Tomboyx, a brand that has designed boxers and binders for non-cis male bodies–and they are selling them for less than what they normally retail for. It’s much more accessible.
Jesse: It’s good that we have a month dedicated for queer people, but it should be like this all year around. When we want to work with brands, sometimes we still face this kind of hesitation to take on these stories outside of June. We don’t want to be known as queer artists but we would never hide from our queerness. Sometimes you get musicians or other people within pop culture who don’t feel the need to discuss their sexuality, and I get that, but we are not at a point yet where things are normalized enough to have the luxury not to talk about queerness if you have the platform and safety for it. When I think back on my younger self, probably half of the people I knew were actually queer in some way. But I didn’t know about it at the time. I just felt alone. I felt like I was abnormal. If somebody would have told me that yes, I’m like this too, that would have changed so much for me.
Being openly queer is an earned right that we are keep fighting for. Why is it still so easy for many to victimize queer people?
Jesse: It’s simply out of fear. If most of those people had somebody in their lives that they loved and that was queer, things would change – even for people who might have grown up in very religious households. I’ve got friends whose parents can’t fully accept them, yet I like to hope their feelings are still coming from a place of love. It’s just that these ideas that being gay is sinister and will result in you going to hell are so indoctrinated in them.
Allie: There is just still not a lot of information out there. I feel like most people don’t understand and don’t have the exposure to queer or trans people until their own family member comes out.
Jesse: You are always going to find some people who are unable to come around to acceptance,, but at least we know there will be a greater chance if they love somebody who’s going through this process. It forces people to educate themselves. Otherwise, all you are seeing are ideas like “hormone therapy and kids equals bad”. Without your own drive to learn, the only things people are exposed to is whatever CNN or Fox News tells them. People usually only do further research on the things that deeply affect them personally or by association.