Welcome to 20 Gay Teen
Let’s date it back to a movie: 2017’s “Call Me By Your Own Name,” which, with the emergency of twink teen Timothée Chalamet, normalized hot same sex, and it featured some terrific Sufjan Stevens songs. A year later and June Pride Month saw an avalanche of young same sexers breaking through. Starting with Troye Sivan and Hayley Kiyoko the future was fluid.
Go back as far as Noel Coward, continue through Little Richard, ignore the highly closeted 1960s music scene, and jump to Lou Reed and David Bowie, punk was gay friendly but not particularly out, disco was very gay friendly but even the Village People weren’t out, in the 1980s their were bands like the Au Pairs and Fear, the 1990s found the Riot Grrls embracing rebel girls, and by the 00s Bob Mould was out. But rap and r&b (think Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass) were, in effect at least, homophobic.
The difference today, the 2018 20 Gay Teen stuff, is that though musically it is a little stifling in its beats and pop tones, aesthetically it positions homosexuality as a cool, fluid, sexual opportunism; It is a cousin of the glam rockers, but younger and sexier, less defensive and simultaneously less aggressive. Michael Blume’s “R U Mad,” (“that I’m gay”) is both a shrug and a seduction, Hayley Kiyoko (opening for the Panic! At The Disco’s Pan Sexual Brendon Urie) on their 2018 tour) performs girl-girl form of Taylor Swift’s romantically inclined odes to make up-break up, unfortunately, it is stickier for same sex girls. Years & Years are boy band as gay icon that only Tam Patton ever imagined.
But Troye is the poster boy for gay pop, “My My My” is a sexually enthralling piece of dance confessional and Troy wowed a generation of boys and girls on Saturday Night Live, he emerged as a more deeply committed Bowie figure. The difference between Troye, who is 23 years old, and Janelle Monae, who is 32 years of age, is more than age, it is a settled sense of sense. Janelle sees her sexuality as a moving target, that Bowie is he isn’t he hit and miss and mess, a different kind of tension. Troye is set as to what he is and takes the adoration of both girls and guys in his stride, he is the Timothée Chalamet, of Gay Teen.