Gay punk tribute bands goof on punk homophobia

by birtanpublished on July 2, 2020

Punk and hardcore can be a little homoerotic
Shirtless, sweaty dudes, touching

late into the night But punk and hardcore
can also be a little homophobic – and that is

why we need Black Fag

In the '70s, Punk demolished arena rock's
excess and exclusivity by aggressively demystifying

the creation process and bringing rock and roll back to its
three-chord origins

The barriers that had kept women and gay folks sidelined were, if not totally obliterated,

at least severely damaged But as that first wave of new
bands crested, hardcore emerged as a more

conservative mutation, and it wore
away at punk's original art-y, gay-y edge

The close-minded suburban rage that fueled
the early years of hardcore is what led Bruce LaBruce

and GB Jones to craft the queercore manifesto
in the mid-80s, and that in turn paved the way for bands like

Limp Wrist and Pansy Division

But queercore didn't solve everything Even
though most hardcore today – at least in

a city like Toronto, where I am standing and speaking to you right now – is inclusive and progressive,

there are still pockets of homophobes in every scene
But nothing says, "Go fuck yourselves, bigots!"

like a bunch of gay dudes lisping
their way through the Black Flag catalogue

Black Fag are a delightful mess of references
– their stage names and outfits combine the names of Black

Flag members with gay icons, like Greg Streisand,
who dresses as Dorothy They've toured the

world and released maybe the best version
of My War ever They donate 10% of their income

to charities inside of the gay community And they
made up a very, very good dance to "Rise Above"

Outside of changing a few gender pronouns,
Black Fag's gay tribute twist is pretty much limited to

excessive lisping and dance moves If you want
to go one step further, you're looking for Gayrilla Biscuits

Spoofing the Gorilla Biscuits name, classic hardcore
album covers and straight edge anthems

like Project X's "Straight Edge Revenge,"
Gayrilla Biscuits naturally paved the way,

for a tribute to Youth of Today, Youth of Togay

Not everyone loves Youth of Togay When they
released the "Tough Gays" video, no one knew

if they were actually gay, or just making fun of gay people

And when they put up their parody of the Have Heart's "The Machinist" on MySpace, the band's label actually demanded it be taken down because, quote,

"No one actually thought it was funny"

Youth of Togay do have gay members – but
some of them are straight Black Fag also

counts a couple of heteros amongst their ranks – and this,
naturally, raises questions about how

appropriate it is to be lisping around on stage while you cover "TV Party"

What do you think? Do gay tribute bands help
expose and address homophobia with humour,

or do they encourage straight audiences to laugh at gay stereotypes?

Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe
for more This Exists every week — because

we did not even get to the gay Hawkwind tribute
band, Cockwind

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