I have been thinking about the beginning of our career and what it felt like to talk about being gay when we first started doing interviews with the press in 1999. I remember questions about our sexuality always starting with;
“I’m sorry to ask you this…””I know you don’t like to talk about it, but…””I don’t think its important to your music that you’re gay but I was wondering…”It always made me impatient and defensive. At that time there weren’t very many people in the music industry who were talking about being gay unless they were coming out or asking people to butt out. Despite a small number of trailblazers, there were very few examples with whom we could closely identify. Often during that time we were tasked with explaining to straight journalists how anyone who wasn’t a gay woman could relate to our music. Our confidence and irritation when discussing our identity was perhaps partially our fault. We wanted to own it, but had yet to understand it. I still associate knots of fury and sadness with that early press about our band.
At some point I sensed a change. We had figured out a way to share the complex and inspiring experience of being gay without it feeling reductive or isolating. Our success as musicians changed the spin of the story. There was relief during the press cycle for “The Con” when writers suddenly wanted to talk about our songwriting, the process of recording, and the dynamics and depths of our collaborative relationship. Of course our being gay (and the audience who embraced that) was still of interest but it did feel that we had entered a new era of our career. It was fun to talk to the press! Even enjoyable!