Welcome to our 2019 Pride Month Series! Each day in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQ+ community who we think is a great example of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQ+ community and in mainstream media.
First up in this series is Panic! At the Disco‘s Brendon Urie.
In an exclusive interview last year with Paper Magazine, Urie came out as being pansexual. In the interview, Urie stated, “No. I’m married to a woman, and I’m very much in love with her, but I’m not opposed to a man because to me, I like a person. Yeah, I guess you could qualify me as pansexual because I really don’t care. If a person is great, then a person is great. I just like good people, if your heart’s in the right place. I’m definitely attracted to men. It’s just people that I am attracted to.”
But before Urie even officially came out as pansexual, he had been a staunch ally to the LGBTQ+ community without even realizing it. Along with a stint on Broadway starring in Kinky Boots, which has many LGBTQ+ themes and celebrates drag culture, there are accounts and stories all over Instagram of how the singer has helped folks embrace their own sexuality. The song “Girls/Girls/Boys” — which is actually about Urie’s first threesome — has become sort of an anthem for fans who are in the LGBTQ+ community. At many concerts, fans hold up rainbow hearts and throw pride flags onto the stage, which Urie has taken to proudly draping around his neck while performing the song.
And though Urie may not have originally intended for his song to take on this meaning, he is more than okay with fans giving a different message to his words. “Taking this thing that I wrote about and then changing it to be more inspiring for your own purposes — what a beautiful idea.”
Shortly before he officially came out last year, Urie pledged $1 Million in partnership with GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) to help create GSA (Gender & Sexuality/Gay-Straight Alliance) clubs in high schools across America. Urie also created the Highest Hopes Foundation, which helps support human rights advocacy. GLSEN was the first beneficiary of funds raised by the foundation.
Urie said in a statement, “For years my fans have inspired me with their determination and creativity as they have created a safe and inclusive community. I felt the time had come for me to join them boldly, to bring that energy and power to bear on the huge challenges facing our whole society.”
On May 20, Urie was honored with the Inspiration Award by GLSEN. Executive Director of GLSEN Eliza Byard said in a press release, “Brendon has created a unique, powerful, and gloriously safe space for his fans at every concert. How many other stadium shows have vendors outside wrapped in rainbow flags? With the creation of the Highest Hopes Foundation and his incredible pledge to GLSEN, Brendon is extending that power out into the world and putting it into action. By partnering with GLSEN to set the stage for GSA formation and student action in all fifty states, Brendon is galvanizing a new wave of youth advocacy at just the moment that the world needs it most. We cannot thank him enough.”
Cyndi Lauper, with whom Urie worked on Kinky Boots, presented him with the award. And upon his acceptance, Urie stated, “it’s not only an honor to receive this award, but to be embraced by my fans and by the LGBTQ+ community. Being in Panic! At The Disco has afforded me so many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, which include getting to know so many wonderful young adults who I am lucky enough to call my fans, and also I get to have this platform. They’ve taught me to be strong, inspired me to use my voice for what matters and because of them, I launched the Highest Hopes Foundation, hoping to echo the spirit of community and inclusion my fans have always provided me with.”
Be sure to tune in for the rest of our Pride series, which will release an article each day all this month!
Thank you to previous staff member Emily Cole for developing the Pride Spotlight series.