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Queer Classic: Wilson Cruz on “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

Queer Classic: Wilson Cruz on “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

Wilson Cruz on “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

We're highlighting 50 years of queer classics this week, as seen in "Songs in the Key of Pride" in the June/July issue. Here, Wilson Cruz is bringing it back to 1978.

I remember being about five years old and sitting in my room, trying to keep myself busy. My parents were finishing up what we will call an argument (it was a fight). When the last door slammed, I heard my mother put on a record. I opened my door and watched her. As it played she began to sing along, louder and louder, until the whole building -- hell, our whole neighborhood in Queens -- could hear, "I've got all my life to live, I've got all my love to give, and I'll SURVIVE!" Every time I hear "I Will Survive," I think of my mother's strength.

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I feel the passion and the resilience we've had to muster in order to exist on this planet. I think about all of the beautiful young men who, in the following decade, would sing out loud as they danced, not knowing it was the last days of disco and free love. I think about how we survived that. I think about all that you and I have to survive, even today. Oh, and as for my parents ... they survived. Together. -- Wilson Cruz

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