Grammy Museum, Digital Drag Fest Host Celebration of LGBTQ Songwriters - Rolling Stone
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Grammy Museum, Digital Drag Fest Announce Celebration of LGBTQ+ Songwriters

Trixie Mattel and Justin Tranter will kick off a day of panels and performances

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Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock, Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock, Koury Angelo/Rolling Stone/Shutterstock

The Grammy Museum has partnered with Producer Entertainment Group’s Digital Drag Fest to host Writing With Pride, a day of panels in performances in celebration of LGBTQ+ songwriters and performers. RuPaul’s Drag Race and Drag Race All Stars winners Alaska, Jinkx Monsoon, and Trixie Mattel will participate alongside pop secret weapons Justin Tranter and Leland.

Taking place on May 16th, the event will air on StageIt as a part of the successful Digital Drag Fest, which launched in March and will tentatively end on May 31st after being extended for a fourth time. Mattel, Tranter, and Leland will host a kick-off panel and performance in the afternoon before artists like Sharon Needles, Manila Luzon, and pop star Bright Light Bright Light take the virtual stage to perform and tell the stories behind their songs.

“For me, LGBTQ+ visibility within the songwriting world is crucial. To know that someone is talking to your experience from your experience is something that doesn’t really cross your mind as a blessing until you realize you’re not in the majority,” says Rod Thomas, who DJs and performs under the alias Bright Light Bright Light. He released his new single “This Was My House” last month from his forthcoming album, Fun City. “Growing up, having artists like Elton John, Erasure and KD Lang as multi-million selling artists, and later discovering Sylvester and the many other renowned LGBTQ+ artists, helped me feel like I had a chance as a songwriter, not needing to transpose emotions into a ‘straight’ narrative. Whoever you are, whatever you aspire to, whatever background you’re from, you need to see someone like you to really believe that you’re not alone, and that you have a place in your industry and ultimately the creative world.”

Stephen Wrabel, known professionally as Wrabel, will also join in on the day of festivities. He has most recently written with Kesha, Backstreet Boys, and Louis Tomlinson alongside his own career as a performer. “It’s so important to spotlight songwriters in the LGBTQ+ community, not only for the general exposure, but because we all have our own individual journeys that we are on,” he tells RS. “I have always used songs as a way of expression. Often for things I’m too afraid to say out loud. I think through music and lyric we can better understand each other’s hearts and heads and dreams and struggles. And events like this are such a beautiful way of sharing.”

More artists will be announced in the week leading up to the event.

The Grammy Museum and PEG Presents: Writing with Pride

11 A.M. PT – Kickoff Panel & Performances: Trixie Mattel, Justin Tranter, Leland
12:30 P.M. PT – Alaska Thunderfuck
2 P.M. PT – Bright Light Bright Light
3 P.M. PT – Nina West
4 P.M. PT – Ginger Minj
5 P.M. PT – Wrabel
6 P.M. PT – Manila Luzon
7 P.M. PT – Jinkx Monsoon
8 P.M. PT – Sharon Needles
9 P.M. PT – BeBe Zahara Benet


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