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A few days ago Anderson Cooper came out and bink wrote it up. Part of the discussion centered on Coming Out. Dave in Northridge tackled the issue in a seperate diary. Part of why Coming Out is important is in the role models it creates and dispelling the notion that you are alone. For me, music was one of the things that helepd me cope because I knew that somewhere there was someone like me experiencing some of the things I was feeling. In an odd coincidence, a specific song came on and triggered this diary.

Back in 1984, Bronski Beat released a single called Smalltown Boy. It would hit number 1 in the Dance Charts. It is about a boy who is bullied and kicked out of his house for being gay. In 1990, Pet Shop Boys released Being Boring, a song about growing up and addresses AIDS.

I am a child of the Eighties and very much a New Wave fan. Several bands of the times inspired me and helped a kid cope with being different. That is the key is how different I was from everyone. Before I could express the words I was gay, I could be different through the music I listened to. All the guys were into Metal or other rock bands. I loved dance /electronic music. (Funny, PSB wrote a song about this in 1993, "Can You Forgive Her?") And here were all kinds of bands playing stuff I loved. You had Depeche Mode, New Order, The Cure, The Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Psych Furs, and the bands that flamed a little, Erasure and PSB.

Music played a different role because one of the few places to go and meet other gays was at the clubs and bars. Every generation has their different bands or songs that serve as anthems - ones that inspire. Simple Minds' Dont You (Forget About Me) might serve as one for the Eighties.

But the two referenced songs served as touchstones when I needed one. Smalltown Boy is what every LGBT youth fears - getting the crap kicked out of you and then being blamed that it is your fault for being different. Being Boring is a look at life and growing up. But it talks about absent friends. I came of age as AIDS was still ravaging the Gay Community. Go to a meeting and the first thing people talked about was who died that week or who was in the hospital and not expected to live. It was sobering.

There are many songs that came out in this period that spoke to tons of youth who needed something to speak to them or for them. People stepped up to be role models and continue to do so. Music, Books, Plays, Movies - all of them create a tapestry of culture that people can grasp and see part of their life reflected in it. But, I think, nothing is more powerful than seeing a single person who is like you and saying - if he did it so can I.

Below are the lyrics to the songs and the videos. Please share what songs spoke to you or what bands you loved.

Smalltown Boy - Bronski Beat

You leave in the morning
With everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform
The wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Mother will never understand
Why you had to leave
But the answers you seek
Will never be found at home
The love that you need
Will never be found at home

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.

Pushed around and kicked around
Always a lonely boy
You were the one
That they'd talk about around town
As they put you down

And as hard as they would try
They'd hurt to make you cry
But you never cried to them
Just to your soul
No you never cried to them
Just to your soul

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.

Cry , boy, cry...

You leave in the morning
With everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform
The wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.

Being Boring - PSB

I came across a cache of old photos
And invitations to teenage parties
"Dress in white" one said, with quotations
From someone's wife, a famous writer
In the nineteen-twenties
When you're young you find inspiration
In anyone who's ever gone
And opened up a closing door
She said: "We were never feeling bored

'Cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
And we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought, then thought: "Make amends"
And we were never holding back or worried that
Time would come to an end

When I went I left from the station
With a haversack and some trepidation
Someone said: "If you're not careful
You'll have nothing left and nothing to care for
In the nineteen-seventies"
But I sat back and looking forward
My shoes were high and I had spots
I'd bolted through a closing door
I would never find myself feeling bored

'Cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
And we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought, then thought: "Make amends"
And we were never holding back or worried that
Time would come to an end
We were always hoping that, looking back
You could always rely on a friend

Now I sit with different faces
In rented rooms and foreign places
All the people I was kissing
Some are here and some are missing
In the nineteen-nineties
I never dreamt that I would get to be
The creature that I always meant to be
But I thought in spite of dreams
You'd be sitting somewhere here with me

'Cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
And we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought, then thought: "Make amends"
And we were never holding back or worried that
Time would come to an end
We were always hoping that, looking back
You could always rely on a friend

And we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
And we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought, then thought: "Make amends"
And we were never being boring
We were never being bored
'Cause we were never being boring
We were never being

Being Boring video I didn't embed this because it is age restricted on You Tube.

Originally posted to The Mad Hatter on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA, An Ear for Music, and Protest Music.

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