Pop Hitmaker Justin Tranter on How To Be An LGBTQ Ally In Music

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Songwriter Justin Tranter — who identifies as gender-nonconforming and is on GLAAD’s board directors — on the best ways for fans and those in the music industry to support the LGBTQ community.

As A Label Executive

Allow queer songwriters and artists to tell their own stories honestly and specifically. Audiences are ready for it, and it will sell. Halsey’s “Bad at Love” which Tranter co-wrote] is an amazing example: She uses male pronouns in the first verse and female pronouns in the second verse, and Jeremy Vuernick, who’s a part her A&R team, didn't even flinch at it. He was like, “This is amazing — how can we be a part something that’s telling even more layers truth?” To have a label that wants her to live her truth openly is the definition “allyship.”

As A Publicist

A publicist for an LGBTQ artist should be even more educated on LGBTQ issues than their client is. If you’re the one delivering the message, then you should be willing and able to educate members the media on how to talk about certain things.

As A Concertgoer

Concerts are supposed to be safe spaces. Be respectful the LGBTQ people around you, whether that’s in terms trans people in bathrooms or LGBTQ couples in the audience next to you. People should be able to go to see their favorite artist and feel like they can express whatever kind love they want to, as long as they’re being appropriate.

As An Artist

Showing any sort public support for the LGBTQ community, even if it’s just turning your social media] purple on GLAAD’s Spirit Day — it seems small, but it’s important. And if you are inspired by or borrowing ideas from the LGBTQ community — which I hope you are, because we’re fucking fabulous — pay respect. Educate your fans, because if it’s just taken from us and we aren’t given the credit, LGBTQ creators are left broke, while straight artists are monetizing the aesthetic, the attitude, the dance moves. You better be paying that shit forward.

— As told to Patrick Crowley

This article originally appeared in the June 15 issue Billboard.