When Grace Jones was announced for Auckland City Limits, I was inexplicably excited.
I say inexplicably because I can literally count the number of her songs I know on one hand.
I'm a Grace Jones fan without really knowing anything about Grace Jones, except that she's long been one of the queer icons I've looked up to throughout my life.
I remember seeing Grace Jones on TV when I was growing up and being entranced by her stature, her style, her voice, her vibe and my God, those cheekbones.
Her total disregard for gender norms, her slick androgynous style and gay club bangers like I Need a Man and Pull Up To The Bumper have long cemented Grace Jones as a "queer icon", despite the fact she identifies as straight (aside from her crush on Tina Turner, for obvious reasons).
So what makes a queer icon? And what makes them so iconic that people like me are willing to flock to stage-fronts to see them in person, even if we don't really know their music or art?
Because here's the thing; like Grace Jones, most of the community's pop icons aren't actually queer. Kylie Minogue, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Mariah Carey, Cher, Britney Spears, Diana Ross, Madonna - none of them identify as queer, but all of them have been adopted by the community anyway.
Personally, I've always looked up to or crushed on the Grace Joneses of the entertainment world. Prince, Bowie, Joan Jett, Boy George, Annie Lennox - regardless of how any of them identified, I am drawn to these people who have always shirked societal ideas of gender.
I'm a queer woman who stands at 6 feet tall (183cm) and grew up not identifying with traditional femininity. For most of my life, I didn't have any interest in dresses and makeup or whatever else comes with that. These icons taught me that I didn't have to. That I could do what I wanted and still be successful, powerful, sexy and badass.
I didn't have to pick a side, whether it be masculine vs feminine, or straight vs gay, I could just dance around in the middle of those spectrums and that was okay. Hell, it even helped teach me that I didn't have to choose between my Māori and Pākehā sides, I could just be, and to hell with anyone who tried to tell me otherwise.
That's what these icons have always meant to me: Freedom, expression, sticking it to the proverbial man.
What's most interesting about history's main queer icons though, is they're often straight women lauded by queer men. Queer men, as far as I can tell, have long been the queen-makers of the community; making Kylie, Madonna and the others the major icons that they are today.
So why? Why these women who aren't a part of the community?
The obvious answer is that a lot of these women have been voices for the community; they've written songs for us, spoken out for us and been allies and activists for queer rights.
But it's more than that.
A friend of mine - who may well be Mariah Carey's biggest fan - said the glitz and glam of someone like Mariah is tied to femininity, and to be that hyper-feminine and still be that successful is inspirational. To see her be ridiculously over the top and embody an exaggerated femininity that many gay men are discriminated against for having, gives those qualities power.
As another friend put it: "It allows queer men to almost unleash that side of themselves".
It's not always so in-depth though. Sometimes we simply embrace a pop star because their music is light, poppy and fun. Something to dance away our troubles to - it's why Carly Rae Jepsen became an unexpected icon to a new generation of LGBT+ kids.
This is a community which just wants to be represented and accepted, who draw power from seeing people succeed with traits we've been shunned for embodying, who want to have a good time in a world which blames us for earthquakes, condemns us to hell and turns our safe spaces into massacre sites.
And these icons are the people who help us do those things.
So bring on Auckland City Limits, because it's time to worship at the altar of one of our many saviours; Grace Jones.