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This Fall Out Boy Hit Is Actually About a Trans Pioneer

Justin Tranter and GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis
Justin Tranter and GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis

At a Spirit Day event, songwriter Justin Tranter revealed that a mainstream song is in fact a queer ode.

Fall Out Boy's "Centuries" is about Marsha P. Johnson.

One of the hit's songwriters, Justin Tranter, revealed he had penned the song for the late transgender pioneer at a Wednesday concert for Spirit Day, an annual event raising awareness of the bullying of LGBT youth.

"I want every LGBTQ person to know that our ideas are mainstream. We have stories to tell and people will fucking listen," said the out songwriter, who then began performing "Centuries" onstage at The Sayers Club in Hollywood.

Tranter is one of several writers credited to the hit, which was the lead single of Fall Out Boy's 2015 album, American Beauty/American Psycho. Others are Michael Fonseca, Raja Kumari, Jonathan Rotem, Justin Tranter, Andy Hurley, Patrick Stump Joe Trohman Suzanne Vega, and Pete Wentz.

The song rose to #10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The lyrics to the chorus are as follows:

Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me
Remember me, for centuries
Just one mistake
Is all it will take
We'll go down in history
Remember me for centuries

Johnson, a veteran of the Stonewall riots, was one of the first to fight back against police during the historic LGBT uprising. She cofounded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), an organization that assisted transgender folks, drag queens, gender-nonconforming people, and homeless LGBT youth.

A new documentary, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, chronicles her activism and the mysterious circumstances around her death. In 1992, Johnson's body was found floating in the Hudson River, and many have disputed the police calling it a suicide.

Johnson's spirit was in good company at Tranter's event. Tranter, a board member of the LGBT media group GLAAD, invited Courtney Love, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Lambert, Jojo, and more stars to perform alongside him at the musical fundraiser in support of LGBT youth. The songs performed had been penned by Tranter or paid homage to other queer artists, like Elton John, Sam Smith, and Freddie Mercury.

Other guests included Troye Sivan, Parson James, Carly Rae Jepsen, Tinashe, August Getty, Gigi Gorgeous, Sofia Carson, and Chris Colfer, who helped raise more than $100,000 for Spirit Day.

Watch the "Centuries" video below.

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