Dear Struggle, I will survive.

“For as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive, I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got — — oh damn uhm…”
Gloria did a number with that song. Evokes almost any emotion out of me. This conversation is on this song’s impact on sexuality, a member of society.
It would frankly be a stretch to think that one song revolutionized sexuality in society. It’s a huuuuge long list of art but let’s start somewhere. Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive”
This song is a reply to struggle. And what must we tell struggle, ‘I will survive”. In 1978, Gloria decided to tell the story of a person who decides to walk away from love that no longer served them. This song walked so ‘Shout out to my ex’ could run. After writing this, I’ll call Bev just so I can tell her I’m not that chained up little girl who’s still in love with her.
Music gives us words when we cannot find our own so when we let it, it tells us stories but more so, it tells our stories. I can hear a million songs and think to myself “If that isn’t me”. When Gloria sang this song, she probably needed to pay rent because why does it slap so hard. Asides singing for her rent, Gloria was singing for us. This song is full of so much passion you sing it with almost popping veins. Almost as if you’re singing for your life.
As if you are singing for your life hmmm, (stay with me…) for some people, they were. Coming out shortly before the AIDS epidemic, this song made the perfect courage inspiring theme song. Being branded the gay disease, AIDS terrorized the queer community directly and indirectly. The community needed Gloria to amplify their voices and she did. Her words were at rallies, they were at hospitals, they were by hospital beds and softer, they were on tongues and they were in hearts. The community was able to find solace in this song and soon enough it became an anthem. For me, whenever I sing this song in this light, it’s for Freddie, Robert, Karl and so glad he’s still here, Elton.
Away from this light, this song would have still been a queer anthem in my opinion. It screams purrrr. It screams flair, elegance and all that good fluff. Her rendition of it in 2001 at Michael Jackson’s 30th anniversary screams drama. Had the whole crowd dancing. She dedicated the song to Michael in vein of everything he had been through. It was a wonderful moment. The stuff that births ineffability.

Why? Why can music do this? Why can music stretch to hold people, to dance with them, to make them giddy or sad, to remind them of love and all that? I have found (from twitter threads and being a wallflower) that it is because music infiltrates anything. “You can find music in places you cannot find air” Andrea Gibson taught me that. I believe it is true and on every level, I consistently envy music. I wrote an essay recently on what I could be if I could be anything and I said; “music” Music is the most hug-like part of culture and culture in turn, envelops society.
To answer the big question, the cultural impact of this song on society with sexuality is courage. It gave gay people words during the AIDS pandemic and beyond. Even today, this song sits pretty on the list of ‘A hot gay’s Friday night club music’. This song gives us words, courage to live another day and dance through another night. The impact is so substantial it cannot be left out of this and similar conversations. I love this song. This song is empathetic to people going through a tough time and aren’t we all? It is that type of song a story can be spun around.
My biggest takeaway from this disco classic is that I was always right. Damn all my cheating exes, I am the main character and for as long as I know how to love, you cant kill me.

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