Thursday, 28 June 2018

CONTROLRadioUK Celebrates Pride Month: LGBT Musicians, Celebrities & Favourite Couples Featuring MNEK, Kana, Wentworth Miller, AvaLance & More

First things first: This article is meant to be a fun celebration of LGBT in the media. This list isn't exhaustive and I'm sure some great Musicians/Actors/Storylines/Couples have been missed, which isn't at all deliberate but an article can only be so long.

With it being the month of Pride, it is all about the LGBT community. We've rightfully talked about the negative, and now we're focusing on the positive with some of the best LGBT musicians, couples, actors and storylines.


Where else to start but with music? In the past just like with other industries, musicians have been encouraged to keep their sexuality secret for fear of alienating fans and backlash from the public. But over the last decade that has slowly and surely been changing, and it's great to now see some musicians able to be comfortable with their sexuality and put that into their music.

'Tongue' fast became my favourite MNEK song, which was a bit surprising considering the first time I listened to it I wasn't really feeling it. Now it's constantly on repeat. Back in 2017 on National Coming Out Day, MNEK revealed his sexuality in an emotional Instagram post reflecting on when he first came out as gay, first experience of going to a gay club and telling his parents. Since then MNEK has never shied about his sexuality, and thatis very much reflected not only in his songwriting but also his videos.

Have to choose just one of Tove Lo's songs to feature here was extremely difficult, but 'Disco Tits' is one of the best songs off her album. For Pride month Billboard asked a number of Artists to write letters to the LGBT community and in hers , Tove Lo speaks about being a bisexual woman growing up in liberal Sweden with liberal parents. She's another artists who through her songwriting and music videos has never shied away from her sexuality, including in her most recent collab 'Bitches'.

Halsey and Lauren Jauregui are two people who have never been shy about the their sexuality, which was particularly a positive surprise in the case of Lauren, since she did used to be in Fifth Harmony. A prime teen demographic who records labels are always overly cautious about scaring off. Lauren somewhat 'famously' came out in an open letter to the President on Billboard and when it was originally announced that she had collaborated with Halsey it was celebrated. However there has since been a bit of backlash over the music video above. The song was originally praised for being a love letter to bisexuality, and as the video ends with Halsey's character being with a man, some have accused Halsey of straight washing her own song. In fact the song's video tells the story of two former lovers who happen to both be female, fighting it out in the ring, with Halsey's character defeating Lauren's and ending the video with a man. Given that both singers are bisexual, it is actually good to see a music video represent both sides of the coin.

Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander is another musician completely owning his sexuality. It's something he has never really shied away from, and it is most certainly reflected marvelously in their music videos. If there's one thing Years & Years do better than up tempo songs, it's ballads. The video for 'If You're Over Me' serves as a narrative follow-up to 'Sanctify' with both songs being taken from their upcoming album "Palo Santo".

I think it's basically illegal to have an article talking about LGBT Artists and not mention 20GayTeen's Queen Hayley Kiyoko. Any song of hers could feature here because Hayley Kiyoko completely and utterly owns her sexuality. It's ingrained in her song writing, it's ingrained in her videos and whilst she may have started out with other actresses holding the narrative gaze, she soon found the confidence to be the star and her videos are all the better for it. She has a keen sense of the story that she's trying to tell with them, which is also reflected in the fact she's directed nearly all of her videos, and she is extremely supportive of the community on a whole with many fans telling of how Hayley's music helped them to come out.


This is where I'll once again reiterate the couples and the storylines they were or are involved in aren't meant as a definitive representation, as I was once again spoiled for choice.


Where else can I start but with Kate Connor and Rana Habeeb. They are two characters who under Coronation Street's former producer weren't exactly going anywhere interesting. Rana was in a relationship with Zeedan, known as a man-eater, more or less devoid of personality and Kate was the baby of the Connor's, in a relationship with Caz that was extremely volatile and on occasion violent, and had a bit of a flirtation with Sophie that never even made take off. Taking a look at both of the characters, soon to be departing producer Kate Oates could see they both had bundles of potential to be more than they were and she basically struck gold when she decided to start the storyline that would see the two of them become a couple. Yes the storyline has very much had its ups and downs as a result of soap pacing and plot contrivances, but there's no denying the excellent work that has been put into the characters by their portrayers and the fact you can easily look back on the storyline and see the signs of what was to come. Highlights of the storyline so far have to be the relationship being outed and the fallout where Rana's parents attempted to kidnap her. I'm never getting over Kate under pressure revealing to Zeedan how many times she and Rana had slept together, Kate putting her fears and trepidation aside to support Rana as she was prepared to go to Pakistan with her mother, and then stopping Rana from being shipped off through the simplicity of Rana's bag with Kate's jewel still being inside the house. The two of them have such a deep rooted relationship both friendship and romantically


By American TV standards, Kat and Adena on The Bold Type are quite groundbreaking. They are two women of colour with Kat being an African American whilst Adena is Iranian. Freeform in itself is no stranger to diversity, over the years counting Emily Fields, Paige McCullers, Stef, Lena and Judge Foster, Alex Lightwood and of course Magnus Bane from Shadowhunters as some of its most well known LGBT characters. Season 1 saw Kat and Adena meet and Kat immediately start to question her sexuality. It wasn't dramatic or built up for the ratings, but an honest look at herself and that look saw Kat and Adena become a couple. In the season 2 premiere the two had a sex scene which by Freeform's standards was quite graphic in its nature, but no different to the type of sex scenes we see between heterosexual couples constantly and truly, the only way we as a society can normalize LGBT so it's not treated as a big shock when someone comes out or we see sex scenes is to treat it like it's no big deal. Whilst the show is only really still in the beginning of its 2nd season and has already been renewed for a 3rd, it does need to be said that it is is danger of falling into the same old cliches that have sniffled other LGBT relationships. It is Kat's first official f/f relationship so she is obviously going to be a bit nervous, not know exactly what to do, and go through a lot of learning curves, which Adena has been extremely respectful of. However instead of giving the relationship time to breathe and grow naturally, the writers have already started throwing obstacle after obstacle at it, all in the name of fake drama.


There aren't a lot of things that the Arrow-verse does right, but when it strikes gold, it truly strikes gold. Leo and Ray aren't a relationship that a lot of time has been given to, due to Wentworth Miller leaving the Arrow-verse and Russell being tied up in other projects. But what we did get in Leo & Ray's limited screen time over the crossover, was far more in depth and emotive than 90% of the relationships the Arrow-verse throws at us. The fact the characters are both played by gay actors is something that also needs to be touched on. Sure heterosexual actors are quite good at playing it gay, but it always means more to the community seeing a gay couple and characters portrayed by people who are gay in real life. They have a deeper understanding and meaning of the storyline that they're portraying than other actors would, and it shows to an extent in the way they act.


This is probably one of the relationships and character arcs featured here that you may not know a lot about, but let me tell you they were awesome. Played by two supremely talented actresses, Celia & Aurora and Seis Hermanas was my first furor into Spanish TV and I've never looked back. What I think makes their relationship so unique to some of the other relationships featured here and in general, is they were basically free of silly drama. They were completely and utterly faithful to one another, no cheating drama, constantly confessing their undying love for each other, extremely protective and supportive of each other and no-one could ever get in between them. All of which is pleasantly surprising since Seis Hermanas was a period soap opera, and the two characters first met when Celia was forced through treatment to curb her homosexual urges. Aurora was her nurse who rescued her in more ways than one, and the rest as they'd say is history.


If you'd told me when I first tuned back into Legends of Tomorrow I'd end up falling for a ship, I would not have believed you and yet here we are. From their very first interaction, I was completely down with Sara and Ava. They're two characters who are constantly pushing each other with electrifying results, and it was no surprise at all to eventually see them take that next step in their relationship. It did somewhat turn to crap when Ava discovered that she was a clone and goes into season 4 with the two of them apart and dealing with an identity crisis, as she tries to rediscover just who she is. Whilst she might have that to work out, Sara is one person who has no doubts about who Ava is and considering all that she's lost over the years, having the courage and confidence to admit her love for Ava was no small feat.


Again I think it's pretty much illegal to have an article that doesn't mention Raymond Holt and Kevin Cozner. They aren't characters who together get a lot of screen time with Brooklyn Nine-Nine rarely focusing on the personal lives of its characters, but when their relationship does get the spotlight it is always a great time. Their relationship is another one here that is completely devoid of drama. No cheating, no silly plot devices. Just two characters who love, care, support and protect each other no matter what, which was shown in all its glory during the small arc last season where Holt believed Kevin's life was in danger. In an episode that had Holt taking extreme measures to protect his husband, much to his husbands own detriment, it ended with Kevin willing to risk his life in order to save Holt's because neither of them can even contemplate the thought of living without each other.


Having to come out really shouldn't be a thing in 2018. Society should've long moved past the point where ones sexuality is anyone's business, it shouldn't be greeted with furor and headlines all over the press for the next week.

Wentworth Miller in 2013 came out as gay in an open letter to decline invitation to St Peterburgs International Film Festival, citing Russia's anti-LGBT laws. His sexuality was unfortunately long speculated about and Wentworth has spoken on numerous occasions about coping with that, and his eventual decision to come out. He's also one of a growing number of out actors, taking up lead roles on Network Television, with his roles on Prison Break and of course The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.

He was joined in the Arrow-verse for an extremely brief time by Russell Tovey who in the past spoke with The Guardian about how being gay made his career. It has certainly been one of longevity with roles in 'Being Human', 'Him & Her', 'Looking' and of course the recently cancelled 'Quantico' among his list of credits.

Someone who came out a bit more recently is Keiynan Lonsdale who revealed his bisexuality in a touching Instagram post last year. He was immediately greeted with a rave of support from his co-stars including Candice Patton who plays Iris West. The fact he has now left the Arrow-verse is a great shame as there was a ton of potential left for his character, but a decision that is respected with Keiynan having undergone a number of changes since he first stepped foot into the Universe and the door is not closed on him.

Stepping away from the Arrow-verse and into the Brooklyn Nine-Nine world again, I of course have to mention Stephanie Beatriz. Her character Rosa Diaz went through an extremely emotional arc on Brooklyn Nine-Nine last season, as she revealed herself to be bisexual to her friends and colleagues and explored the dating scene, with Gina Rodriguez guest starring as one of her girlfriend's. The arc gave us great scene between Gina and a number of characters, but most importantly Raymond Holt, who had obviously been in Rosa's shoes having previously revealed himself to be gay. We were also treated to some touching scenes between Gina and her parents as they tried to reconcile the truth about their daughter. In real life, Stephanie Beatriz recently revealed that she is bisexual and in an article on GQ last week, explained why getting married to a man doesn't erase her bisexuality. It's a point that again shouldn't have to be emphasized but we do unfortunately live in times where being gay is thankfully becoming more accepted by society, but bisexuality is still erased.

In October, I will marry a heterosexual man. We’ll make vows that I will take very seriously—till death do us part. But I’ll be bi till the day I die, baby, and I vow to myself to always sing that truth.