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The Repeal Of Net Neutrality Could Be Ugly For The Rise Of LGBTQ Pop

It’s no question why this year has been dubbed #20GAYTEEN by the LGBTQ community. Although queer pop singers have been around since the beginning with singers like Dusty Springfield and Lesley Gore, their sexuality has always been kept quiet. Yet, in recent years, that seems to be changing.

According to The Guardian, the recent rise in LGBTQ singers first became noticeable in 2013 when the debate over marriage equality took a turn for the mainstream. Rappers such as Azealia Banks, Brooke Candy, Young MA, and Angel Haze openly came out as gay, bisexual, or pansexual.

“If we were in a sexual situation you would know exactly who I am sexually,” said Haze in a 2014 interview. “But we’re just having a conversation, you don’t need to know what I do in private. Sexuality is not the most interesting detail about a person.”

The anti-sensational way in which the pop stars came out inspired other singers to do the same. Marika Hackman, a British folk-pop singer, said she felt safe to come out as gay when other singers did it so nonchalantly.

“Women feel strength in numbers,” said Hackman, “and the more it’s spoken about, the less it is ‘your thing’ or something you are defined by.”

Hackman’s earlier songs, like many LGBTQ singers before her, clouded her sexuality in masked pronouns. However, in Hackman’s 2017 album I’m Not Your Man, she used “she/her” pronouns to address her love interests.

Hayley Kiyoko, a pop singer and actress, has also experienced the infamous pronoun flip. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Kiyoko describes a writing session where one writer suggested changing the pronouns in a song to he/him so the audience could sing along to it.

“And I was like, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve been singing to straight songs my whole life, and I’m just fine,'” Kiyoko said.

The increase in representation has certainly hit home for many fans. Hackman said she had 16-year-old fans telling her after concerts that Hackman had helped them come out to their parents. Other fans said their mental health had improved because they had someone to relate to.

However, the future of the rising LGBTQ representation in the music industry is questionable with the repeal of Net Neutrality on the horizon.

Approximately two-thirds of parents say they’re worried their children spend too much of their time on electronic devices. But with Net Neutrality’s repeal, according to Rolling Stone, the number of websites Americans will be able to access without paying fees to their cable companies will be limited.

This is particularly dangerous for the music industry.

In recent years, the open Internet has served as a source of digital exposure for independent artists. Listeners are able to stream independent music from anywhere and everywhere.

Yet, with Net Neutrality’s repeal, the pool of listeners would be reduced.

Up to 40% of online users will abandon a web page of it takes longer than three seconds to load. The possibility of whether an online user will pay additional fees to access streaming devices they used to access for free is questionable.

Fortunately, many large companies have backed Net Neutrality in an attempt to keep the bill. Among them include Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Facebook alone has up to 1.97 billion monthly active users around the world.

“I don’t think we as LGBT people … can afford that loss,” said Dr. Mary Gray of Indiana University. “LGBT communities are particularly dependent on the Internet to find and connect with the people and information that we need to live healthy and productive lives.”

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