“Lesbian Jesus,” also known as Hayley Kiyoko, is an LGBT icon in both music and TV. She is an idol to many young queer girls including myself.
Growing up, I did not know what the word gay meant. When I heard the word gay it was used as an insult. Gay was a bad word, I did not want to be known as a bad word, I tried to avoid the word or anything related. But during my early adolescence, I began to realize I was interested in girls. I thought about girls the way a boy thinks of them. As much as I wanted to display these feelings I could not, I wanted to keep this part of me locked up forever.
I did not know anyone who was gay, my religion told me it was wrong, my parents would have cast me out, and most importantly, I had no support, no one who understood. It was not until I heard Hayley Kiyoko’s music that I found what I was missing- support, acceptance, and understanding.
She is known for her songs “Girls like Girls”, “Cliff’s Edge”, “Sleepover”, “Curious”, and “Feelings.” Her songs took the gay community by storm. The lyrics represents lesbian love, equality, and acceptance. Kiyoko’s music inspires people to be their true selves. She inspires people to live for themselves. She has become an icon for the community by advocating for LGBT rights and providing the normalcy most of us do not have. During an interview with Refinery 29, Kiyoko, said, “I’ve had several music industry execs say, ‘You’re doing another music video about girls?’ I looked at them and was like, um, yea…Taylor Swift sings about men in every single song and video, and no one complains that she’s unoriginal.’ I’m not over-sexualizing my music. I make out with women because I love women, not because I’m trying to be sexy. That’s not to turn heads—that’s my life.”
Kiyoko has become “Lesbian Jesus” due to her advocacy and musical representation of lesbians and other members of the LGBT community.The need for more LGBT representation is more than to diversify the media it is to provide support for developing adolescents questioning their sexuality. Having icons such as Kiyoko telling us it’s okay, creates a positive impact. She proves it’s okay to be yourself, she provides positive reinforcement with her music and advocacy. That is what makes her iconic-positivity and importance for what she stands for. When asked “ As an artist and as someone who has been really open about their sexuality and experiences, what’s the most meaningful reaction you’ve ever gotten from a fan? ” by Lana Kaplan during a Billboard, interview Kiyoko said, “ I think the most meaningful reaction is when I go on tour and see 12-year-old girls at my show being proud of who they are and with their parents at my shows. When I was 12, I was like, ‘I’m never going to be happy until I’m 30’,because I was struggling with my sexuality. Seeing everyone be 15 or 16 and seeing this community of support has been really meaningful because it shows progress and change within our generation. We still have more to go, but to see what has been awesome.”
Even if it is not Kiyoko’s music it is the love, compassion, and support, she shows, that makes her Lesbian Jesus, an advocate for all.