LGBT and ally students performed eight songs Friday to showcase pride and bring awareness to violence against LGBT people in the Queer Chorus’s first-ever concert, which the Gender and Sexuality Center sponsored.
The 21-member group performed songs including “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent,” a duet of “I Feel Pretty/Unpretty” from the television show “Glee,” “Sally’s Song” from the “Nightmare Before Christmas” with the lyrics changed to have gender-neutral pronouns and “When I Am Silent,” a song originally composed in honor of Holocaust victims which the group dedicated to LGBT suicide and violence victims. About 80 people attended the concert.
Queer Chorus president Christopher Acosta said the concert provided an opportunity to introduce the group to the UT community.
“Having people who are proud of themselves and proud of their community and proud of the people around so much so that they have to sing about it, I think that’s a very positive message,” Acosta said.
Acosta said the group, which officially began rehearsing this semester, provides LGBT students, who may be facing challenges related to coming out or situations when people use the word “gay” in a negative way, with an accepting environment.
“Any campus you go on, there are going to be places that are not always as queer-friendly as they could be,” he said. “I wanted to create a space where we could come and sing all that away and just be proud together, have fun together and be silly together.”
Acosta said music is a uniquely non-confrontational way to reach audiences.
“We can be proud and sometimes in-your-face, but just singing at you, which doesn’t hurt anybody,” he said. “It never harms anyone physically. Singing cannot create bruises.”
Queer Chorus faculty adviser Shane Whalley said the group provides a sense of community for students.
“I think for a lot of people, this provides a music home and a queer home and a way to express themselves that’s meaningful and joyous,” Whalley said.
Whalley said the Queer Chorus is particularly meaningful for LGBT audience members.
“For some audience members, it gives them hope, and they may see themselves reflected in the members of the chorus,” Whalley said. “For some people, it gives them a way to invite family to have a conversation.”
Undeclared freshman Leo Rodriguez said he is glad that the Queer Chorus formed.
“It’s great to see a group of people come together with music to tell the world that they’re proud of who they are and to try to make a change through music,” Rodriguez said. “Not many people do that. As you can see, there’s like 25 people and there’s hundreds and hundreds of people in the LGBT community.”