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Justin Bieber’s songwriter tells BMI Awards: Put more LGBT people in your songs

Nick Duffy May 11, 2017

Gay songwriter Justin Tranter called out music industry bigwigs at the BMI Awards this week.

Tranter is the the lead singer of Semi Precious Weapons and a songwriter who has written for Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani and Justin Bieber.

He was named Songwriter Of The Year at this week’s BMI Awards in front of a room full of music industry execs.

The songwriter was not supposed to give a speech, but seized the spotlight to call out the lack of LGBT representation.

The ‘Sorry’ writer said: “I’m gonna shut up real quick, I promise; I know we’re not supposed to talk… but I’m an activist, so I cannot be near a microphone without doing some sort of activism.

“To everyone in this room: This [award] is in my hand. Barry Manilow got the Icon Award. Put more LGBTQ people in your sessions, please!

He added: “Also, [my writing partner] Julia Michaels is a Latina. Put more women and put more women of color in your sessions and do it now!”

Mr Tranter elaborated on Instagram: “Last night at the BMI Pop Awards Barry Manilow won the Icon award, and I’m honored so say that I won Songwriter Of The Year alongside my friend Ross Golan.

“Me and Barry are proof that LGBTQ people’s ideas are mainstream and valuable. And my songwife @imjmichaels who cowrote 3 of the 4 songs I won for last night, is proof that the ideas of young women, and even more specifically young women of color, are valuable and mainstream.

“So to all the young underdogs who feel like it’s impossible to succeed in a system stacked against you, I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, but I hope that me, Barry and Julia are the proof you need to know that it’s possible.

“Don’t give up. Ever.”

Tranter recently joined the board of LGBT charity GLAAD.

He explained: “Music is a big part of media and culture, so I thought I could really lend my voice and expertise and as much money as I can give.”

“I feel like there is a lot of homophobia and misogyny in the music business, and I feel like I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve broken down a lot of those doors.

“I’ve had the experience of going through homophobia in my work and I can share my experiences so future generations don’t have to deal with what I’ve dealt with.”

Justin Tranter

He added: “I won’t do press anymore unless I can talk about the homophobia and let queer people know our ideas are mainstream.”

Tranter is a long-time activist, initiating of an annual AIDS benefit while attending high school at the Chicago Academy for the Performing Arts. His advocacy continued while attending Berklee where he founded Musicians With a Mission, a scholarship fund for LGBTQ youth education

In 2016, after flying to Orlando to help in the aftermath of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Tranter helped orchestrate the release of charity single ‘Hands’ – raising funds for Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, GLAAD, and the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.

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