Affirmation and approval are at the heart of Cyndi Lauper's 1986 hit "True Colors," a song that's since gone on to be an anthem of struggle for many in the gay community. Lauper formed the "True Colors Tour" in 2007 to help raise awareness of the discrimination faced by that group.
San Antonio's Girl in a Coma will be joining Lauper and others on the "True Colors Tour" just in time for its Oklahoma City stop Monday at the Zoo Amphitheatre. Bassist Jenn Alva said that the tour's greatest contribution is making the gay community more accessible to the public at large.
"It's a great step into the mainstream," she said. "The tour got so popular through word of mouth, and with Cyndi (Lauper) and Joan (Jett), it's a cool experience. It's like being on Warped Tour, but with a difference, of course."
Girl in a Coma swim in the emo side of the alternative pool, but pack plenty of radio-friendly guitars and catchy hooks, courtesy of the band's limber lead singer, Nina Diaz. Girl in a Coma is a reference to a Smiths song, which Diaz blames on a Morrissey fixation that only grew worse after the group got a chance to tour with the singer, whom she said "turned out to be a very nice man."
The band's stint with "True Colors" will place it alongside Lauper, Jett, The B-52's, Erasure's Andy Bell and comedian Margaret Cho and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" fashion guru Carson Kressley.
Although one of Jett's new singles, a cover of the Sweet song "A.C.D.C.," references a woman who plays both sides of the field, Diaz said her group's songs don't sport as obvious a link to the "True Colors" spirit.
"Nothing we sing has anything specifically to do with that," she said. "But if someone listens to our music and it helps them get through some tough times, then that's a good thing. As long as they are feeling something, then it will be like any other show. There might even be more passion since it is for a cause."
The unique aspect of a music event is that it gathers people from differing backgrounds and ideologies, Alva said, which helps fight some of the "stubborn and old-fashioned" views lingering over generations. She said events like Monday's concert are key to matching the progress made in larger communities on the coasts.
"That was a big step, but it seems like it's going in slow motion," she said. "In America, it seems like we never finish what we start, and it's going to be a long time before gays are recognized in a positive and regular way " regular in that two men can be walking down the street holding hands, and people see it as normal."
Though Alva is happy to be doing something to advance the GLBTI cause, her foremost concern is building on the success of the band.
"I'm the lesbian of the group and I'm proud of that, but I just want to be known as a musician," she said. "Charles Martin