By: Amber Leventry
Spare The Rock Records is offering its fourth album for a cause, Let All The Children Boogie: A Tribute To David Bowie, an all-ages album that honors Bowie with 20 covers of his best work. But it’s also a loud, soulful, and joyous tribute to LGBTQ youth all over the world. Proceeds from the album benefits the It Gets Better Project, a movement started in 2010 by Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller to give bullied kids hope that life will get better.
Let All The Children Boogie
David Bowie may have seemed out there, but he couldn’t have been more grounded in the quirks that made him different. His style, life, and music screamed of a man who just didn’t have any cares to give. In a time where it could have been career killing, he admitted to being bisexual. His career did anything but die, but he had a harder time in the United States than in Europe with this honesty; at one point Bowie stated that his announcement was the biggest mistake he had made. In 2002, though he set the record straight, “I had no problem with people knowing I was bisexual. But I had no inclination to hold any banners nor be a representative of any group of people.” He wanted to write songs and perform. But in “puritanical” America, he stated that his sexuality stood in the way of so much that he wanted to do say.
Thankfully, he said it anyway. He spoke to the magical world of possibilities, the world where we are all heroes, kooks, and allowed to boogie because Starman told us it was okay.
Oh! You Pretty Things
It is okay. It’s more than okay to be unique, to go against all of the normative assumptions about gender, sexuality, and the spectrum on which those things fall. But LGBTQ youth and adults don’t always feel okay. Over half of LGTBQ youth do not feel safe at school. 75% have been bullied because of their sexual orientation, while 55% are harassed because of their gender expression. Every day, probably right now, a kid is verbally and physically harassed because of the way their hearts love, because of the way their hearts yearn to be seen.
The statistics for LGBTQ youth who engage in risky behavior, attempt, or commit suicide because of being bullied are too high. The Trevor Project reminds us: “Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.” This is unacceptable and we have the power to take a stand. We have the power to make it better for our beautiful LGBTQ youth.
I’ll Follow You
The Trevor Project, GLESN, The Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, The Gender Spectrum, and the It Gets Better Project are just some of the heavy lifters when it comes to stopping bullying against LGBTQ youth. But we can all find a way to lead the way for the scared, tentative, and questioning kids who need us to have their backs, to tell them they are so worth the space and body they occupy in the world.
In 2010, a teenager named Brittany McMillan wanted to remember the lives of a long list of gay teens who committed suicide. With the help of GLAAD, Spirit Day was born and is now celebrated on the third Thursday of every October, which is also National Bullying Prevention Month. On Spirit Day, millions of people wear purple to support the color of the rainbow flag that represents spirit. Social media, schools, businesses, and celebrities show support and take a visible stand against bullying by supporting LGBTQ youth by going purple.
The It Gets Better Project works every day to prove to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth that life will not always be so challenging. More than 50,000 user-created videos on their YouTube channel have given millions of people hope and courage to keep going. Kids, adults too, can be awful. But it will and can get better. The It Gets Better Project illustrates that with real stories of people who also felt lost or hopeless but have reached the other side. LGBTQ adults and allies offer living proof that life is worth living.
To date, Spare The Rock Records has raised $115,000 for three non-profit organizations which have helped Haitian relief efforts and promoted science education for girls. On November 18th, Let All The Children Boogie: A Tribute to David Bowie, their fourth album, will benefit LGBTQ youth by giving proceeds to the It Gets Better Project. This money will continue the work done to create change in our schools and communities for a better and more positive future for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.
Let All The Children Boogie showcases the incredible work of equally impressive artists who interpret Bowie’s sometimes haunting, sometimes happy in spite of yourself, sometimes trippy music. The CD is advertised as all-ages, but this is not to be confused for a CD meant for kids only. It is kid appropriate and kids will love it, but adults will be just as eager to sing along and dance. Let All The Children Boogie is music at its best: it evokes emotions and provokes action.
Take the stand. Be the change. Show our youth we support them. Buy the album.
Now, let’s dance.