Find Your Voice: Gal Paladin (Why Representation Is So Important)

Find Your Voice: Gal Paladin (Why Representation Is So Important)

Hello my loves! This post will explore the reason that I am writing “Gal Pals” (an original song that I’ll be sharing soon) and why I find representation in media to be so important for the LGBT community.

I identify as a lesbian, which means that I am a girl who is attracted to girls. I’m happy to say that I’m lucky enough to have friends and family who are very supportive of my identity. However, I haven’t always been very confident in my sexuality (at one point, I was depressed because I thought I was a freak), and I only started accepting myself when I started realizing that maybe liking girls wasn’t abnormal or wrong. At least in part, this was because I started seeing lesbians (and in turn, myself) represented in media. I remember the first time that I ever saw a music video featuring two girls falling in love (shoutout to Hayley Kiyoko’s revolutionary “Girls Like Girls”!) and thinking to myself, “Wow, I’m just like these girls! Maybe I’m not such a freak after all.”

Looking back on my journey, I’ve realized that representation can be extremely important for an LGBT individual’s self-confidence—the simple event of seeing someone who you can identify with on TV or in a music video can have such an uplifting effect on the way you feel about yourself. And this exact realization is apparent in a recent study of kids who watch television: only the self-esteem of white males goes up, because they’re represented more in the media, while white and black females and black males’ self-esteem goes down because they’re often underrepresented in media. (If you’re interested in learning more about this study head to Sage Publishing). It doesn’t take too much of a leap to see how this could also apply to LGBT kids, with another recent study confirming that only 4% of characters “expected to appear on broadcast prime-time television in the coming year” will be LGBT individuals (about 35 out of 881 regular characters). (If you want to read more about these stats, check the study out at GLAAD!)

In 2016, identifying as LGBT has become much more normalized than even a few years ago. Gay marriage is now legal in the USA, and there’s more and more representation for the LGBT community in the media: celebrities coming out (it’s not just Ellen anymore!), Buzzfeed videos featuring same-sex couples, and music videos with LGBT-positive messages are all more commonplace. The progress we have made is fantastic, but as the GLAAD study suggests, LGBT individuals are still vastly underrepresented in media, even in music videos. I can count the number of openly lesbian music videos that I’ve seen on just two hands. In fact, you can count for yourself because I’ve included a playlist of LGBT music videos below!

With all this in mind, I decided to change the world on my own. I wanted to use my voice (literally) to contribute to the normalization of LGBT culture. So, I wrote a song called “Gal Pals” about having a crush on a girl. By creating a song that is clearly about same-sex attraction and presents that attraction in a normal and happy light, I hope it can become a very positive influence to someone just starting to figure out their sexual identity. Hopefully it will help normalize and add representation for the LGBT individuals who see it. So keep an ear out for my new song, kids! It’ll come out (pun intended) in my next post! Until then, check out my playlist of open gay music videos!

PS: As always, shoutout to the wonderful Erin Ichimura for the beautiful header image! Check her Instagram out at artemistique.

Queerly Beloved (A Collection of Gay Music Videos):

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