LGBT Community Exists With or Without PWR BTTM
Yesterday, a review I had done of PWR BTTM’s new album went live. However, as more and more allegations of sexual assault (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) began to surface regarding the band (particularly Ben), the more my review--which praised Pageant as possibly being “the most important record of 2017” and a beacon of hope for the LGBT community--pushed its way to the forefront of my mind. I am not comfortable remaining silent in this situation.
At the time of writing the review, as well as when it was published, I had been unaware of any allegations made against Ben and PWR BTTM, and so I analyzed Pageant as being an excellent record with an excellent message. This, of course, does not pardon the gravity of sexual assault and the urgency to address an issue of this importance. I hold a very firm belief that sexual assault or abuse of any kind immediately renders an abuser and their work obsolete. There is no “separating the musician from the music.” Victims and survivors of sexual assault are always in the right, and their safety and wellbeing are far more important than preserving a depersonalized and detached opinion about a non-living, material bit of music.
While I acknowledge that the accounts available are “just” allegations, it is important to note that false reporting of sexual violence occurs as low as only two percent of the time (you can find more information on false reporting here). Because of this, it is crucial that we do not silence those coming forward with information or personal accounts of abuse. No person is incapable of being an abuser, no matter how much of a platform they might have or how much of a positive influence they may seem.
As a member of the LGBT community, it has been heartbreaking to see these allegations. PWR BTTM’s music was one factor in the scheme of life that encouraged me to come out to friends, but also to myself. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and distress this has created for those who are transgender and/or victims of sexual abuse, and, quite frankly, I am nervous about the negative impact these allegations will have on the entire community. On a personal level, I can’t help but feel betrayed. There are many aspects of PWR BTTM’s statement that make me uneasy. I ache for those who have the potential to be affected by this far more than I could ever be, and feel it is of the utmost importance to listen to them during this time.
That being said, no matter how this situation continues to unfold itself (hopefully not by being pushed into obscurity and forgotten about), I wanted to take this moment to say that a community of acceptance exists with or without PWR BTTM. I, along with the rest of the Ethos Live team, stand with all victims of sexual assault. I am personally available for contact on all social media (@Hey_Six on Twitter, @heysix on Instagram). There are many resources available if you are going through a difficult time (some featured below). Your experiences are and always will be worth far more than any positive album review.
- Courtney Brunn
We've created a Spotify playlist of some of our favorite LGBT artist on both a national and local level. We hope it can help spread awareness of representation in music and turn some people on to some incredible artists. These artists span across multiple genres, so there's something here for everyone. If there are other LGBT artists you love and want to share with us or add to the playlist, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.