While we may lose sight of our values at times, it's important to remember and revisit the roots from which they blossomed. A value at the core of EDM is inclusivity, and despite dubious economic and social challenges that never seem to cease, the dance music community must remember that it welcomes all walks of life. There is something to be said about strength in numbers.
Today is the beginning of 2020's Transgender Awareness Week, which is annually observed during the second week of November. The celebration memorializes the transgender community by raising awareness about the identities of its members. It also aims to educate people about the plight of victims of transphobic violence. To commemorate Transgender Awareness Week, we spotlighted five trans and non-binary electronic music trailblazers in order to promote their courage, unmatched talent, and flat out badassery.
These brilliant music producers are just five of the myriad transgender and non-binary artists in the EDM sphere, but they represent a microcosm of an underrepresented group of people who are essential to the inclusive nature of dance music culture.
As a Black, trans woman, Honey Dijon shatters the boundaries of dance music with each sultry house track she releases, like her intoxicating official remix of Lady Gaga's Chromatica cut "Free Woman." She is a fierce and outspoken advocate of transgender rights, working tirelessly to increase visibility for marginalized artists. "It's important to be visible to see what's possible," she told Newshub back in 2016.
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Tame Impala, Post Malone, Megan Thee Stallion, and Halsey will also perform at the fest, among many others.
Hollimon is a blossoming electronic music producer making some serious noise out of Florida with their nasty experimental bass sound. You can get familiar with their wonky, mind-bending sonic flair via their SoundCloud page, which doubles as a song-cycle of forward-thinking trap bombs. PSA: do not sleep on their thunderous flip of TroyBoi's "HIGH (feat. yasaquarius)."
Moore Kismet is a fresh face in the dance music scene, but they have quickly become synonymous with the future of bass music. With an innate ability to craft hypnotic yet blistering electronic songs, their unique sound tightropes the wire between musicality and ferocity, akin to Skrillex. At only 15 years of age, Kismet is representative of a bright and unbridled future not only for non-binary music producers, but all young artists. "I realized I shouldn’t continue to let people’s words have an impact on my identity and how I feel about myself," they told EDM.com in an August 2020 interview. "I was fortunately able to make it through being criticized and being scrutinized for my identity and sexuality, ultimately realizing this is who I am. I can’t change anything about who I am, and I’m happy with it."
Scottish electropop superstar SOPHIE is a force to be reckoned with. A leading trans woman in the EDM landscape, she has built a formidable reputation as of the genre's true groundbreakers by blending genres and redefining the modern electronic-pop crossover sound. "My music is political, but talking about politics is boring," she told OUT Magazine in her 2018 cover spread. "I'd rather have a more emotional conversation through the music."
This list wound be nothing without Wendy Carlos, a legendary musician known for her timeless electronic compositions and film scores. A three-time Grammy Award winner, Carlos, whose pioneering developments in music production helped bring about the seminal Moog synthesizer, was also one of the first public figures to come out as a trans woman.