Lil Nas X sends moving message to gay fans in Saudi Arabia proving why he’s an LGBTQ+ icon
Lil Nas X has shared an uplifting message for his gays fans in Saudi Arabia after his queer anthem “Sun Goes Down” began trending on iTunes.
After coming out in June 2019 just before the release of his viral sensation “Old Town Road”, the country singer has blazed a trail with his unapologetically queer music, style and self-expression, not least with the 2021 album Montero, which candidly reflects on his experiences growing up as a closeted child.
Two years later and the album clearly still resonates with fans, with the hit single “Sun Goes Down” briefly topping iTunes in Saudi Arabia, a country known for its oppressive anti-gay laws earlier this week. The song remains in the top five – an unusual feat for such an old tune.
After a fan highlighted the continued success of “Sun Goes Down”, Lil Nas X shared his own special message of appreciation.
“To my gays fans from Saudi Arabia reading this,” the Grammy-award-winning singer wrote, “I hope this song is getting you through whatever you’re going through and I hope some day soon the laws against us change and you can be free in your own home.”
The heartbreaking but ultimately inspiring lyrics of the song see Lil Nas X reflect on wanting to escape his identity.
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“I wanna run away/Don’t wanna lie, I don’t want a life,” details one poignant lyric, while another reads: “These gay thoughts would always haunt me/I prayed God would take it from me/It’s hard for you when you’re fighting/And nobody knows it when you’re silent”.
The song ends with the line: “I know that you want to cry/But it’s much more to life than dying.”
Homosexuality, cross-dressing and being transgender carry stiff penalties under Islamic Sharia law in Saudi Arabia, with those found guilty facing possible flogging, life imprisonment and even the death penalty. Beatings and torture while in custody have also been reported.
It is unclear what triggered the song to re-enter the iTunes chart, but it did claim the number one spot in August 2022, the same week that news broke of the deaths of two sisters from Saudi Arabia who had claimed asylum in Australia on the basis of sexuality.
The LGBTQ+ community in Saudi Arabia also made headlines at the end of March this year after a young Saudi trans woman, Eden Knight, took her own life after being coerced into detransitioning.
It is not the first time Lil Nas X’s work has made an impact on queer Saudi Arabians. The single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, a song about bottoming, topped the charts in the Middle East kingdom in 2021.
But “Sun Goes Down” has a special place in people’s hearts, and fans have shared their love for Lil Nas X’s inspiring message, with one person writing: “This may be the first time I [have] seen a celebrity extend a caring message to queer Arabs instead of completely neglecting us and complaining about how they’re ‘illegal in blah blah countries’. This is the right approach.”
Another added: “Queer people from all over the world can agree that this is such a touching song, and it brings me to tears every time I listen. Amazing song deserving of number one”.
Such a beautiful song, I hope all of my fellow LGBTQ members can have full, happy lives. Its impossible to imagine the hardships many of us go through, but know that you can make it out the other side and you have so many that love and support you behind your backs. Stay strong!— Cassarts (@Cassi60879382) April 13, 2023
Just goes to show how needed queer representation is in places like that.— Grayson Hester (@grayson_hester) April 12, 2023
Very telling that this song goes number 1, a lot of traumatised people having to hide their true selves while living in a repressive country, relating to the music you made about similar experiences.— C.⚜️ #GlazersOut🔰 (@_CRutd) April 13, 2023
Can only hope things change there in the future for all those who are trapped.
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