Pop music and the LGBTQ community have always seemed to go hand-in-hand.For some, music is our safe space as we come to terms with who we are. We lose ourselves in dark nightclubs, dancing our hearts out. We lose ourselves with a pair of earbuds in, entering a world of our own when the outside one is just a bit too treacherous to live as our truest selves. We worship at the altars of pop divas who help us find the courage to be ourselves. And for others, we just think the music is really fun.
But it’s never been ours to make. At least, not really. Sure, there have been plenty of LGBTQ folks behind the scenes, writing and producing hits for years. But we’ve never really had the opportunity to worship at the pop altar of one of our own. Until now.
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While pop music’s rainbow revolution has been powered largely by artists refusing to hide or water down their sexuality, we mustn’t forget that the T in LGBTQ represents our transgender brothers and sisters. And while the numbers of openly trans artists in pop music have been, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent, the arrival of Kim Petras has changed that.The rising star, a 25-year-old German native, is widely considered to be the youngest person to ever undergo gender confirmation surgery, beginning hormone therapy at 12 and completing her transition at 16. However, in the past two years, as at least six of her seven singles have each racked up over a million streams, she’s come to be considered a pop star first. And, if she had her way, only.
Despite the progress she represents in the industry, Petras has been open about her desire for people to move past the fact that she happens to be transgender. “I’m a proud transgender person, but I want to be known as a great artist. It’s really frustrating when so many people think that because I’m transgender I can’t be mainstream,” she told Out in May. “And it’s always, ‘Talk about being transgender.’ It’s crazy because I’m not interested in a person’s gender. I don’t care. Are you genuine? Honest? Hardworking? But that’s the way the world works.”