It’s been nearly half a century since The Stonewall Riots in New York, and in that near half-century, the climate surrounding the gay community has become less charged. This is a good thing. The Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage across all 50 states was a long time coming. It was a tipping point declaring once and for all that love is, indeed, love, regardless of gender identity and sex.
This equality and exposure is relatively new, though. Indeed, many still fear their voices and actions will out them. The climate isn’t totally neutralized and reminders like the one Portland, Oregon’s Priory make in its track (and new video for) “Put ’Em Up” are completely necessary.
“I wrote this song a couple of years ago,” Brandon Rush told us over email. “It’s a personal story about watching my brother struggle with being gay in a conservative and religious family. It didn’t get any better for him when he joined the military. I’m happy that in the past couple of weeks our country has made a lot of progress in granting the LBGT community equality, but we all know we still have a long way to go.” Indeed, the SCOTUS decision is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to full equality. There’s still the B and the T of LGBT to think about and fight for.
The video for “Put ’Em Up” touches on that. Shot in black and white, scenes of ordinary people of all gender identities and sexualities coming together organically pack a message of unabashed acceptance. There’s zero trace of retouching here. It’s humanizing, vulnerable, and completely impactful. In Rush’s words: “When we sat down to make the video with the directors, Gentleman Scholar, we wanted to show regular people doing regular things in an anonymous fashion until they came together in a place of mutual acceptance where everyone had a chance to be free to be whatever they were on the inside or outside”
Well done, boys.