Kaytranada, HB2, and The Straightness of ‘American Idol’: Today’s Recommended Reading


Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘Net are doing, too. Today, we are honoring members of the LGBT community with pieces that aim to shed light on a group of individuals that have been historically overlooked. There’s a wonderful profile on the musician Kaytranada, who uses this interview to publicly come out as gay for the first time; a detailed retrospective on how American Idol has unfairly handled LGBT competitors; and an op-ed on why North Carolina is using cisgender women as scapegoats to put transphobic laws into action.

The FADER’s Alex Frank profiles the prolific producer Kaytranada, who is currently gearing up to release his debut album 99.9% this May on XL Recordings.

The Haitian-born/Montreal-based Kaytranada has achieved a lot in a surprisingly short amount of time, but, even with his rapid success, the artist still has struggled with other issues. Here, the producer comes clean about his battles with depression, his path towards coming out as a gay man (which he does for the first time in this profile), and what it’s like to still share a room with his younger brother in his parent’s home.

At first, he’s tentative with the gay label, unsure of what committing to it will mean for his life and his career. “I don’t call myself straight, I don’t call myself gay, it’s just me…” he says quietly, before finally speaking more directly. “But, I guess, I am gay.” He says he hasn’t hooked up with a boy yet, nor has he visited a gay bar, as he doesn’t have any gay friends to go with and, though he recently told most of his straight homies about his sexuality, he feels weird about bringing them along.

Rolling Stone’s Rae Votta explains why there has never been an LGBT winner of the wildly popular singing competition show American Idol.

Despite having two (now) openly gay singers finish as runner-ups — Clay Aiken in season two and Adam Lambert in season eight ‚ American Idol has never had an actual winner who has identified as LGBT. Although it could be argued that across the show’s fifteen seasons, there just simply never was an LGBT contestant that had what it took to take the crown home, it’s more probable that the quickly ending game show would just rather stick to what was “safe” for their audiences.

While American Idol showcased all sorts of contestants, and was happy to call out anyone as bad, there was always a special sort of meanness reserved for auditioners that fell into the queer end of the spectrum. If you showed up in drag, if you lisped, if you were a boy winking at Simon instead of Paula, you were easy fodder for the cameras, but you weren’t going far.

Huffington Post’s Rachel Tuchman details why North Carolina’s recent H.B. 2 law, which bans transgender men and women from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity (and not their given sex), is not actually doing what it claims to be doing — protecting women — because, in turn, it is endangering women (transwomen, specifically).

The H.B. 2 bill passed in North Carolina last week under the pretense that it would protect (cisgender) women from experiencing potential violence from “men” that currently had the right to use their bathrooms — so long as they claimed to be transgender. Here, a cisgender woman speaks up to fight against that notion, which is entrenched in deep transphobia.

These untruths endure in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There are no documented cases like that Senator Berger describes. Instead, trans women are the ones at tremendous risk for sexual victimization. Just this weekend, in the wake of H.B.2.’s passage, a trans woman was raped in the bathroom at New York’s Stonewall Inn. Trans women forced by laws like North Carolina’s to use men’s bathrooms are often met with violence and harassment.