Queer playwright Tennessee Williams once said, “In memory everything seems to happen to music.”
As the school year comes to a close, and we think back to all of the exciting work our graduating GSA leaders have done over the years, it would be impossible not to set those amazing memories to a really kick-ass soundtrack of dance songs, slow jams and teenage queer anthems. We’ve come up with this short-and-sweet playlist for the GSA leaders who are graduating this Spring. Old school twist is that it comes with mix-tape commentary!
1. Rihanna – We Found Love
Many seniors have participated in GSA Network programs since ninth or tenth grade (and some even since middle school!) – right as they joined their GSA clubs. Several of these youth describe walking into their first GSA meeting as finding a community of support they never knew they had and immediately falling in love with activism. Song #1 is dedicated to overcoming challenges, finding queer and allied community, and falling in love with making it better.
2. FUN – We Are Young
Along their activist journeys, these youth (now seniors) meet other youth activists, attend GSA Network programs, and find out that they have A LOT of rights in school. What’s more is that they use their knowledge and power to make change through strategic campaigns, like fighting slurs at school or advocating for a gender-neutral bathroom. Song #2 is all about the joys of being a youth, having power to make a difference, and having a lot of fun while doing it!
3. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
What would a queer teen playlist be without Lady Gaga? The Mother Monster has come out in full support of LGBTQ social justice, and youth everywhere have taken up her equality mantra. This song is dedicated to the seniors who have shown their pride in being different, being unique, and becoming the kind of person who spreads a message of love and acceptance.
4. Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Adele’s Rolling in the Deep is all about activist heartbreak. You know what we’re talking about. It’s when you bake a whole batch of rainbow cupcakes only to accidentally drop them on the way to the GSA bake sale. It’s about hearing a big and resounding “No” from your Principal when you ask for her support for Harvey Milk Day. It’s about your GSA membership going from 30 to 5 in the span of 4 months. We ALL know what activist heartbreak feels like – especially seniors who have worked tirelessly over the years to keep their GSAs together. But song #4 is also about anger and channeling that anger into productive action. This song is a tribute to those seniors who didn’t give up over a batch of smooshed cupcakes or an authority figure not supporting their efforts. It’s about resistance and perseverance. We’re so proud of you!
5. Onerepublic – Good Life
Song #5 is our farewell anthem—a song all about celebrating the many things to come and being content with not knowing all of the answers yet. We know that you seniors have a big beautiful journey ahead of you, and we wish you the best of luck with big gay hugs and smiling hearts. We know you are going to continue making change and making it safer for everyone to be who they are in your communities. Farewell! And may GSA Network always be a resource to you.
We’d especially like to congratulate our Youth Council and Youth Trainer members who are graduating this Spring. You all are amazing, and we couldn't be prouder of what you've accomplished and how you have grown!
Got additions to our GSA playlist? Share your songs & memories in the comments!