Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coming Out--Jennifer Knapp

In a former life, I worked at both a Christian radio station, then a shitty Christian retail store where I ran the small music section.  One of the usual suspects in our line up on the radio station and featured prominantly at the store was the hugely talented and award-winning singer/songwriter/musician Jennifer Knapp. Besides being a main pillar of Christian rock/pop, she dabbled deeper in the biz, signing new artists such as Katy Hudson (a very young girl who later changed her last name to Perry).

Everyone who kept up with these things was surprised in 2002 when Jennifer completely fell off of the grid, no longer touring or putting out new music. It was even rumored that Toby Mac, the head of her label and in essence her boss, only had a number at which he could leave messages for her, a tentative connection at best. The girl had gotten out of Dodge.

All questions were answered when Jennifer re-emerged in 2009. She came out as a lesbian having lived happily for seven years in Australia with her girlfriend.

Reaction from the Christian community ranged from "We adored you then, we adore you now, we support LGBT rights" to "We hate you, you're evil, let God change you or go to hell" to "Who cares, when is your new album coming out?" Jennifer still identifies as Christian, and is walking the very hard road of building acceptance and awareness in that broad and all-over-the-board community.

If you have a moment, check out her newest album, Letting Go. It's her best stuff yet, and you can definitely spot a few places where she wrote/sang about her struggle with her identity as a lesbian and the fear of coming out in a potentially judgemental community. Also check YouTube for her interview with Larry King just after she came out. She's so much more kind and gracious than I ever could have been to a douchey pastor they brought in. He sat right next to her and said that she's wrong and misguided, blah, blah, blah. I wanted to pour hot soup in his lap (Wow--that phrase came right to the surface...I think I was eating hot soup whilst watching the interview the first time...).

I'm proud of you, Jennifer!
P.S. I hope everyone wore purple today to support LGBT youth and to help counteract bullying. Due to the day's activities, I had to dress down, so my purple consisted of a purple hoodie, gray cargo pants, and purple Converse sneakers. I looked Beiber-esque, but dammit I wore purple.

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