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'You're here for a reason': Osage musician Marx takes on LGBTQ2S+ issues, belonging in new single

The Osage singer Marx performs in their music video for the new song "How Long."
The Osage singer Marx performs in their music video for the new song "How Long."

Oklahoma-based musician Marx will debut their new video and single at the 101st annual Santa Fe Indian Market this weekend. They center their Osage heritage while also talking about queer and trans identity in the Native community.

The opening scenes of musician Marx's new video How Long features a young Two-Spirit person with their head bowed in a church pew while a haunting piano riff plays in the background. In another frame, the viewer sees a cover of a book that reads,"homosexuality is a sin."

Like many young people, they are struggling with their place and belonging in a society that has grown increasingly hostile to LGBTQ2S people. Near the end of the video we hear Marx belting out the lyrics, "you're here for a reason."

Marx was this young person in the 1980s growing up in Oklahoma.

"I nearly died," Marx said. "I was a suicidal kid and at one point I had this really powerful experience with lightning…I was out in the lightning storm and the lightning struck this house and knocked me down…and I heard this really strong voice come through and say, stop killing yourself. You're here for a reason."

Fast forward to today and Marx is singing those same lyrics on their forthcoming album 2S Sacred, which will be out this fall.

They will debut a new song called “How Long” from the album over the weekend at the Santa Fe Indian Market at NDN Collective's Radical Imagination Experience. The video for "How Long" premieres at Site Santa Fe during Indian Market.

They said the song and the album was inspired by a statistic.

"The whole thing was inspired by the Trevor Project, who put out a study that 33% of LGBTQ Native American youth attempted suicide in 2020,” Marx said.

Marx will be wearing clothes by Osage designer Dante Biss-Grayson, who is the creator of Sky Eagle Collection. Biss- Grayson hand painted an upcycled jacket Marx will wear with Osage orthography that contains a word for LGBTQ and gender diverse people. The word in Osage, according to an Osage dictionary by Carolyn Quintero, is miixoke. Marx has also seen it spelled mixuga and mixoge.

"He's made an art piece for me as an ally," Marx said.

Marx also goes by their name Marca Cassity, the name given to them by their mother and the name that's recognized in their professional practice as a therapist for LGBTQ2S youth.

"In honor of all the people that have suffered under colonization and the loss of this in our cultures, in our societies, I put an X over the C and A and my name," they said.

Marx has evolved as a musician, going from folk and acoustic to synth driven electronic rock. They credit that to their time on the dance floor, which helped them feel connected to a community as a young, queer person.

In 2021, they received funds from a grant from NDN Collective and The Osage Nation Foundation to produce the project.

2S Sacred tackles subjects like climate change, discrimination against trans and Native youth and the return of Native land.

"Land back is not just land back, it's the return of culture, medicine, our education, our ceremonies, our way of being right, including kinship-which includes, I believe, sexuality and gender, like the return of Indigenous people, the honoring of indigenous queer people who've been around forever."

Marx will be debuting the full album this fall in Tulsa.

A screenshot in the video for "How Long."
A screenshot in the video for "How Long."
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Allison Herrera covered Indigenous Affairs for KOSU from April 2020 to November 2023.
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