For nearly 40 years, the YMCA--a Christian youth organization--has failed to capitalize on the iconic 1978 Village People anthem, which became a queer anthem and the disco group's biggest hit to date. At one point, the YMCA threatened legal action, but ultimately didn't own the copyright to those four letters.
This week, the organization took a major step toward publicly embracing the song and, in doing so, embracing the global LGBTQ community that visits the YMCA every day. "We had a big conversation about how we can be a social movement for young people," Melinda Crole, CEO of YMCA Australia told the Guardian. Her solution? Tapping Boy George to cover the classic with a slow, jazzy interpretation.
The proven link between mental health and marriage equality helped Crole decide to pursue this project. She admittely didn't consult any fellow Christian organizations before working with the Culture Club frontman. YMCA is rooted in Christian values, but it's not associated to a single church group, she says.
"When you listen to the reason why the song was written and listen to the verses, then you see it fits with our social mission," she says, encouraging people to take action against inequality through whynot.org. "We want to be a social movement for young people and with young people."