fYreflies

Kael co-composed this song with Chase McKee when Kael was the artist-in-residence for a summer leadership camp for LGBTQ2SI+ and allied youth called, Camp fYrefly (the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB). Chase wanted to write a song about how important Camp fYrefly had been for him as a trans youth—a song that narrates his lived experience of attending a camp for queer, trans, and allied youth, and of finding a supportive queer community and a sense of belonging at this camp. Rather than highlighting, as mainstream media tends to do, the challenges that LGBTQ2SI+ folx face due to homophobia and transphobia, fYreflies revels in trans and queer identities and relationality. This song celebrates Chase’s experiences and perspectives in his own voice. The Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta provided funding for the recording of “fYreflies.” Produced by Adam Popowitz, Kael Reid, and Chase McKee; sound engineering by Adam Popowitz.

fYreflies Lyrics

(Chase)
When I first arrived, I was scared, and I was shy
I didn’t know if I was going to be able to
Look anyone in the eye
I was terrified.
Now, I’m standing here in front of all of you
Trying to lay down a rhyme, or two
And I think it’s about time I told all of you…
About Camp fYrefly
F to the Y to the R – E – F – L – Y
What does that spell?
FYREFLY!
F to the Y to the R – E – F – L – Y
What does that spell?
FYREFLY!

I was thrown into my pod and right then and there I saw
All these friendly faces looking back at me
Tattoos, smiles, fabulous style
Piercings, crazy hair and whoa, there’s glitter like, everywhere!
And it dawned on me that it’s so rare to see
So many queer bodies in one place
And in that moment I thought, hey
For the first time in my life, I can finally be myself
In this positive fYrefly space

Chorus (Kael)
fYreflies, glowing in the night
fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine

(Chase)
Being here is like being back in kindergarten
Cuz I don’t gotta to worry about who’s my friend or who’s my enemy
Cuz I have just been accepted into
My new found family

You see, here at fYrefly, there is no prejudice, there’s only pride
And I’m never forced to pick any side
I don’t gotta worry about which bathroom to use
Because it doesn’t matter if I’m a chick or a dude
Or anything in between, cuz those binaries are just plain mean
This is my time, I can just be me
And you can just be you

Chorus (Kael)
fYreflies, glowing in the night
fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine

(Chase)
At fYrefly, I can be proud and I can be bold
I don’t gotta look over my shoulder
And worry about who’s judging me or who’s staring
Because it’s here where I know people truly care.
You know I love to see all of you smile
Because in this world we live in
Sometimes that can take a while
This camp changes the world, this camp saves lives
In fact, this camp saved mine.
Because the people here made me realize that
There’s a reason to be alive
At fYrefly, when I look into all of your eyes,
I feel recognized, I feel empowered and acknowledged
Like we are all unstoppable, like anything is possible!

Chorus (Kael)
fYreflies, glowing in the night
fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine

(Chase)
Laughing, Latin dancing, river rafting, arts and crafting
We’ve got hikes and dykes and open mics
Sex ed and that killer food we’re fed
Smores and spider dogs and campfire logs
Singing our hearts out and whispering after “lights out”

We’re movement makers, stereotype breakers
Chance takers, perception shakers and yeah….we’re heart breakers!
We are gender creative, trans celebrative
We’ve got our healthy minds team bringing us queer cheer
And to all the volunteers, I’m so glad that you are all here
We’ve got unicorns that are gay
And what can I say?
(Chase and Kate) We’ve got Kate and Tay

Chorus (Kael)
fYreflies, glowing in the night
fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine

(Chase)
Even though our days together at fYrefly will come to a close
I want you to know that that the bonds
We have created here will continue on, and on, and on
And no matter where we find ourselves
I know that when I yell “fyre”, you’ll yell  “fly”
“fYre?” “fly!” “fYre?” “fly!”, “fYre?” “fly!”
And now it’s time for us to go back into the world
But when life feels like a roller coaster or one of those tilt-a-whirl rides
Or if ever you’re feeling hurt or alone
Just remember this, you only have 361 days
Until you get to come back home.

Chorus (Chase and Kael)
fYreflies, glowing in the night
fYreflies, lighting up our lives
fYreflies, we are so fine
fYreflies, this is our time to shine

More Research

Queer Across Canada Resource Kit

Queer Across Canada Resource Kit

This free, downloadable kit accompanies the album Queer Across Canada, which was released in 2013 and is a collection of songs based on interviews Kael conducted with LGBTQ2S+ families in Canada and the USA from 2009-2012.

The Newcomer Creative Voices Project

Making space for children to represent themselves, their own voices, and their own lives, on their own terms through collaborative ethnographic songwriting centers children as “competent social agents” (Mayall 2002) and focuses on children’s voice (both figurative and...

Precarious Inclusion: Studying Ontarion LGBTQ+ Parents’ Experiences Childrearing in a Post-legal Parity Framework

Kael worked as a research assistant on a team of interdisciplinary researchers at the University of Guelph on a project entitled, “Precarious Inclusion: Studying Ontarian LGBTQ+ parents' experiences childrearing in a post-legal parity framework.” Precarious Inclusion...

Somewhere in Between

Somewhere in Between is a digital story Kael created and produced at ReVision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, a multi-media storytelling and research lab at the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Canada. Somewhere in Between  tells the story of their decision to...

Queer Across Canada Resource Kit

This free, downloadable kit accompanies the album Queer Across Canada, which was released in 2013 and is a collection of songs based on interviews Kael conducted with LGBTQ2S+ families in Canada and the USA from 2009-2012.

LGBTQ Families Speak Out and Out at School

While doing their doctorate at the University of Toronto, Kael was also an artist researcher on an interdisciplinary research team that investigated the public-school experiences of  2SLGBTQI+ families and youth across Ontario. The project was called, “LGBTQ Families...

Breast Cancer Pink

Kael co-composed Breast Cancer Pink with Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta while Chelsey was going through treatment for young adult breast cancer. Breast Cancer Pink represents the liberatory potential of expressing anger: it narrates Chelsey’s story as a form of defiant...