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We Exist


Arcade Fire

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song was inspired by frontman Win Butler becoming a father, and also by an encounter with a gay teenager in Jamaica. He told The Sun: "Jamaica is a really hard place to be gay. And it made me envisage a conversation with him and his dad and gave me lines like 'I'll lose my heart if I turn away from you. Daddy don't turn away. I'm so scared.'"
The acceptance anthem's music video finds The Amazing Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield playing a blonde-haired transgender woman. The clip was filmed during the Arcade Fire's set at Coachella 2014 weekend two.

Transgender Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace criticised the visual tweeting "Dear Arcade Fire, maybe when making a video for a song called 'We Exist' you should get an actual 'Trans' actor instead of Spider-Man?"

Win Butler responded to Grace's remark in an interview with The Advocate, in which he claimed the video wouldn't have been made without Garfield. "Once something gets on the Internet, it works its way into people's lives in a way that I think is pretty powerful," said the frontman. "For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion."
Win Butler told The Advocate that the song is a reaction to Jamaica's notoriously antigay culture. "There is a very kind of homophobic undercurrent, even in a lot of popular music and dancehall music, where there is a lot of violence against gay people," said the singer. "And we were in Kingston, and we went to this kind of film event and met some gay Jamaican kids and just kind of talked to them and realized that they were constantly under the threat of violence."

"For me, I get kind of used to being in this sort of extremely liberal bubble — where we have Whole Foods and people are tolerant," Butler continued. "And you can kind of trick yourself into thinking that the world is that way. For me, it was really eye-opening to hang out with these kids who, if they were going to dress differently or express who they were, there was this real tension."
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