With their album The Preacher’s Kid, Semler was the first openly queer Christian artist to climb to No. 1 album on the Christian music charts just last year. Within the same year, Semler released a second No. 1 album titled Late Bloomer.
In an interview with Baptist News Global, Semler explained that growing up, they felt as though the institution of the church “was never built to include someone like me” but yet “God was still by my side.”
These two contradicting truths led Semler to begin questioning things, which they think is “often the case for LGBTQ people of faith.”
Semler’s music, although unconventional within the Christian music industry, is meant to be a form of ministry to believers, especially LGBTQ youth who are struggling with their sexuality through the lens of faith. The artist currently has 80,763 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Even though two of their projects have earned the No. 1 space on Christian music charts in the past year, Semler is still not invited to this year’s Dove Awards that are taking place on Oct. 18. The Dove Awards honor achievements in Christian and Gospel music and include categories like “Song of the Year,” “Songwriter of the Year” and “Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year,” all of which are categories Semler could qualify for given their recent achievements.
Semler has made multiple TikTok videos about this, including one in which they explain that “I put myself up for best artist — I was not deemed eligible — whatever, I still wanna go as a plus-one.”
Although Semler knows there is little to no chance of receiving an award in October, they still believe it is important for queer Christian artists to have representation in the music industry. Being a plus-one, even if they did not win an award, is important because their recent achievements are unique for a Christian artist.
In response to a fan’s comment on a video of Semler joking about the situation, they state that “it does matter” because “we went to No. 1 twice in a genre that has historically excluded LGBTQ people.”
At the end of the video, Semler shows a photo of the suit they would wear, joking that they “will look amazing on the red carpet” and ending the video by saying “Toby Mac, please bring me as your plus one.”
Fans on TikTok agree with Semler, tagging Toby Mac, Switchfoot and Relient K, three mainstream Christian artists, in the comments section of the video to gain their attention. One comment tagging Reliant K states “Your opener deserves this,” alluding to the fact that Semler was the opening act for Reliant K’s “Um Yeah” tour earlier this year.
On Sept. 1, Semler posted another video, once again joking about the situation with the caption, “Still accepting offers to be a plus one! Anybody attending wanna do something cool for God’s gay children? Representation matters! We worked so hard this year.”
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