Even with Coldplay’s sizable queer following and the undeniable gay appeal of Chris Martin’s falsetto, they’re not usually top of mind when you think of the gay agenda. But for one religious group, the band is gayer than even we gave them credit for.
According to the Associated Press, over 200 conservative Muslims marched near the concert venue in Jakarta, Indonesia with banners that read, “Reject, cancel and disband Coldplay concerts.” The group called Martin an LGBTQ+ “propagandist,” and claimed the concert would damage the country’s “faith and morals.”
Gen Z won’t stand for this kind of intolerance.
Coldplay has shown repeated support for the LGBTQ+ community, with frontman Martin known to wave rainbow flags on stage. Memorably in 2016, the band headlined the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show and concluded their set with a massive audience card stunt: a sea of rainbow-colored cards were flipped to form the phrase “Believe in Love.”
Indonesia is the world’s most populous majority-Muslim country. While only two Sharia-controlled provinces outlaw homosexuality, the rest of the country has no laws protecting against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and violence.
Coldplay experienced a similar reception in Malaysia in May. A leader of the country’s Islamic Party posted a photo of Martin waving a Pride flag and criticized the government for permitting the concert. “Does this mean that the government wants to promote hedonism and deviant culture in the country?” he wrote on Facebook.
“I advise that the concert in Malaysia be canceled as it does not bring any benefit to the country, race, and religion (in the country).”
Two months later, The 1975 frontman Matty Healy gave a controversial performance in Malaysia in which he criticized the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws and kissed a bandmate on stage. Many LGBTQ+ Malaysians denounced Healy over the stunt, as it came off as condescending, gave fuel to the talking point that LGBTQ+ advocacy is Western imperialism, and resulted in the government canceling the music festival’s remaining acts. In the aftermath of the controversy, The 1975 canceled subsequent performances in Taiwan and Indonesia.
In this case, at least, Coldplay’s Jakarta show went off without controversy. And because they do advocate for the causes they care about onstage (with much more consideration than a certain other British band), Coldplay partnered with an Indonesian insurance company to promote environmental awareness. This meant sustainability initiatives throughout the night, like reusable LED wristbands at the door and kinetic dance floors to produce energy. They may not be the gayest band in the world, but with green concerts like these, Coldplay can sit with us.
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