We Need To Talk About Homophobia In Electronic Dance Music


Ten Walls aka Marijus Adomaitis, a Lithuanian music producer, came under fire over the weekend for making disparaging remarks, in Lithuanian, on Facebook against the gay community. His remarks, which of course have since been deleted, are below:

“I remember producing music for one Lithuanian musician, who tried to wash my brain that I don’t need to be so conservative and intolerant about them. When I asked him ‘what would you do if you realized that your 16-year-old son’s browny (anus) is ripped by his boyfriend?’ Well he was silent.”

Obviously Ten Walls doesn’t know that butt sex is really fun! But if the above wasn’t a low enough blow he also added that he wanted to return to the good ole 90s when “these people of different breed were fixed.”

Oh Lord.

Many in the dance music community have defended Ten Walls in the name of free speech. People in my Facebook feed — who I will not put on blast — have been commenting that the outcry against him is outrageous. He should be celebrated for his talent and for his music. Who cares if he doesn’t like gay people, they’re saying.

But how should Ten Walls’ gay following, whoever is left of them, feel about his anti-gay rant?

With freedom of speech comes the risk of retaliation. Freedom of speech carries a whole lot of responsibility and doesn’t mean that others who don’t agree with your ideas can’t protest or completely turn their backs on you, which with all the recent festival cancellations is certainly what’s happening to Ten Walls right now.

There are a couple things wrong with Ten Walls’ remarks, the first one I take issue with being the inherent bottom-shaming. Who cares if your 16 year old son gets completely pounded by his boyfriend, as in literally fucked through ten walls? Let him live his fantasy!

If you don’t know, bottom-shaming is what happens when you try to make a guy seem less masculine, as if that’s a bad thing, because he likes to be or you think he likes to be on the receiving end of anal sex. Would it have made any difference to Ten Walls if his 16 year old son was fucking a guy in his ass as a top? Or if his 16 year old daughter was having sex with another woman?

Bottom-shaming is the easiest way to try to insult a gay guy because it feminizes him, makes him seem incapable of dealing with masculinity. But not every gay guy even has anal sex, and the ones who love to be pounded or who love pounding should do what they do free from shame from the masculinity police.

Matrixxman agrees: “I don’t see what his problem is tbh. If my 16 y.o gay son got pounded by his bf, I’d tell him “Right on, man” and maybe buy him a nice cold one to celebrate. #SupportGayRights,” he commented on Resident Advisor.

But probably the biggest issue I have with Ten Walls’ homophobic rant is that it actually underscores the problem of homophobia in the electronic dance music scenes. I live in London, a city with a robust-enough nightlife economy and that means that anybody who is hot in Berlin or Amsterdam or Barcelona comes to play in London at some point, so I get to see all my favourite acts.

But in London the dance music crowds can often feel so homophobic, or if not blatantly homophobic then at least uncomfortable for a queer person to enjoy. In October I went to one of my favourite techno parties and saw a gay couple kissing when the people next to me said, “Yuck. I don’t want to see any of that gay shit.”

Not exactly the most welcoming sentiment.

This is, of course, despite the fact that dance music was — and is — music played in sex clubs. Dance music was first championed and embraced by LGBTQ audiences and has since become whiter and straighter than ever.

The anti-gay sentiment is something that former Trouw resident Sandrien told me she felt in a lengthy profile I wrote of the club.

“I’ve been doing techno nights at Trouw for a long time. I’m gay and we really noticed that at a lot of house and techno parties there’s great music but no gay people…I sometimes hear from gay people that they really like the music at [my techno party] but they feel really isolated and some people are looking at us like you look different than we do, or you’re too dressed up in a gay way.”

Artists have a platform to change people’s viewpoints and should use it for good. I guess every community has its rotten apples, but I always hold artists accountable for being critical, open and engaged. They aught to know better. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Author of How To Be A Pop Star.

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