Is Justin Bieber’s ‘All Around the World’ an LGBT Anthem?

By: Jase Peeples

We know what you’re thinking.

How could the latest single from the current poster boy of heterosexual teen pop music possibly be an LGBT anthem?

After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the young performer was at the center of controversy when he referred to homosexuality as a “decision” during an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine.

However, since then the singer has done far more to prove he’s a supporter of the LGBT community. So much in fact, that The Advocate highlighted a number of substantial gay friendly moments in Bieber’s career, referring to him as an emerging gay ally.

Now the heartthrob’s new single – which was released at the moment Pride celebrations kicked off around the globe earlier this month – is infused with a message of equality that’s tailor-made for the LGBT community. For that reason alone, “All Around the World” is the perfect summer song for any gay gathering. (Of course the fact that it’s an incredible dance track doesn't hurt either.)

The song’s opening lyrics, “You’re beautiful… you should know it. I think it’s time… that you show it,” carry weight for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, but the line that follows drives the point home. “Why you acting so shy, holding back… We’re not the only ones doin’ it like that,” are words that will certainly ring differently in a queer ear.

Young gays struggling to find beauty in the things that make them different may see these opening lines as encouragement to stop “holding back,” embrace who they are, and bust down the closet door. While Beiber’s assurance that “we’re not the only ones doin’ it like that,” confirm there’s a community of other like-minded people out there.

However, it’s the song’s chorus that provides the strongest evidence that this track is a potential LGBT anthem. “All around the world, people want to be loved. All around the world, they’re no different than us,” is an obvious equalizer in the argument that love between same-sex couples is somehow different than any other.

Even guest star Ludacris seems to be speaking directly to the political struggles of the LGBT community when he raps, “In life we pay for change. Let’s make every second worth it.” More specifically, the line, “Anything can work if you work it when people say you don’t deserve it then don’t give in. Cuz hate may win some battles, but love wins in the end,” can be heard as a call-to-arms for anyone on the right side of the fight for marriage equality.

While an easy queer reading of Bieber’s latest track may be more of an accident than a deliberate decision, the message of love being the same “All Around the World” is as obvious as a Britney Spears lip-synced performance – and isn’t that the point?