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Out100 2023

Out100 Cover Star Brandi Carlile Wants a Lesbian 'Golden Girls'

Out100 Cover Star Brandi Carlile Wants a Lesbian 'Golden Girls'

Brandy Carlile
Roland Massow for equalpride

The singer-songwriter took to the stage at the Out100 party, presented by Lexus, to accept her award and talk about why she's always assumed she'd die young. Watch her full speech!

While accepting the award for Icon of the Year at the Out100 party, presented by Lexus, in Los Angeles on Thursday night, Brandi Carlile opened up about feeling like she never expected to live to old age because of her queer identity.

The singer-songwriter started her acceptance speech — at a ceremony for the influential LGBTQ+ stars who helped make the world more inclusive and representative — by reminiscing about being a young closeted lesbian. “This is utterly surreal to me,” she said. “It's amazing standing here and thinking about being a teenager, coming out of the closet around 14 years old and cutting out pictures of lesbians in suits and hanging them on my wall.”

Carlile said she was recently reminded of the importance of seeing yourself and your identity represented in media — even if it’s just photos cut out of magazines. “We use the term representation matters so often that it's become a buzzword,” the “Right On Time” singer said. “It's our battle cry. We cry it all the time, at every corner of pop culture in the west, to try and justify the fact that so much of what we believe we are, so much of what we know we are comes from pop culture.”

Carlile said that she was recently having a conversation with soccer star Abby Wambach and author Glennon Doyle when she realized she had a deep-seated belief that she would die young. When the friends started to interrogate that thought together, she realized it’s because you rarely if ever see older queer people represented. “We don't have a lesbian Golden Girls,” the 42-year-old star said. “You know what I mean? And I thought about the annals of LGBTQIA+ history and the fact that so few of us are represented in domesticity, in family, and the aged state, and I thought about the fact that the way we identify ourselves is so interwoven into Western pop culture that if we don't see an old version of us, we don't think we will love a long life and that's why nights like tonight make so much of an impact on our family and our community.”

Carlile closed her speech by saying that she’s hopeful that she can be that representation for young queer people out there. “To think that I was cutting out pictures of lesbians in power suits as a kid and that I might be that lesbian today in a power suit that some little girl might cut a picture out of me and hang me on her wall and give me a kiss before she goes to sleep,” she said.

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