Competition is hotting up in this year’s Melodifestivalen. Sweden’s selection for Eurovision 2022 has a number of favourites in the mix. But in amongst all of them, let’s look at an act that made history for the national selection – enter Tone Sekelius and “My Way”.

Scroll down for “My Way” lyrics

Melodifestivalen 2022: Tone Sekelius “My Way”

Tone Sekelius hails from Växjö and has been a queer activist for all her life. In 2015, she created a YouTube channel detailing her life and history of mental illness while she was still presenting as a gay man. In 2017, she released her debut single “Awakening”, in which she described the process of coming out as gay as a 16 year old. Later that year, she also released “One More in the Crowd”, which became the official song for Stockholm Pride, and she won LGBT-Youtuber of the Year at the QX Gaygalan Awards.

Tone came out as a transgender woman last year in an interview with Aftonbladet. Since then, she has continued to describe her life as a trans woman on her YouTube channel and featured in a documentary on Discovery+.

This is her first time competing in Melodifestivalen, in which she becomes the first ever out trans person in the competition. Her song “My Way” was first written four years ago but was rejected twice before SVT contacted Tone asking if she wished to compete this year.

Tone Sekelius co-wrote the song alongside Anderz Wrethov. Although Tone is a debutante, Anderz is a Mello stalwart. This year alone, he also co-wrote Faith Kakembo’s “Freedom”, John Lundvik’s “Änglavakt” and Klara Hammarström’s “Run to the Hills”. Throughout Eurovision history he co-wrote “Always” (Azerbaijan 2009), “Fuego” (Cyprus 2018), “Too Late for Love” (Sweden 2019) and “Voices” (Sweden 2021).

Tone said she hoped the song would remind people who have a skewed image of trans people that we are all also human, noting:

“I want to share this incredible song with people. But with a larger perspective, I want to spread knowledge about and represent my community. Somewhere give people a picture, of myself really, as a trans person, because I can not represent everyone.”

Transgender representation in Eurovision

Eurovision has a very rich legacy of queer acceptance, which is often tied to its long history of cisgender gay performers and drag acts such as Verka Serduchka and Conchita Wurst. However, this legacy is owed in a large part to a trans woman, Dana International. She unexpectedly won in 1998 for Israel, and has since become a darling of the contest. She competed again in 2011 and was a guest of honour at the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv.

Despite this, the Eurovision stage was still very cisgender dominated, until last year when we saw some important milestones broken. We had our very first transgender host in Nikkie de Jager. The Eurovision website began adding pronouns to its artist bios in part of its bid to bolster trans inclusion. And we had our first non-binary person gracing the Eurovision stage in Roxen, who came out last August.

Likewise, while Sweden is considered one of the most progressive countries in the world, its record on transgender rights has been mixed. In 1972, the country declassified transness as an illness and while trans people could change their legal gender, it was only after undergoing forceable sterilisation. It wasn’t until 2013 that the law was changed, and in 2016 it was announced that the 500 to 800 people who underwent the procedure would be compensated.

With transgender issues being a fierce battleground across the world, sometimes with devastating consequences, the inclusion of Tone Sekelius in Melodifestivalen 2022 is a big positive step and will be an inspiration to many transgender Eurovision fans.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Tone Sekelius 👑 (@tonesekelius)

What do the “My Way” lyrics mean?

“My Way” is a very brazen song about the fight for transgender rights. It starts with Tone demonstrating the humanity of trans people that is so often forgotten, “Look me deep into my eyes, do you think I’m happy? Tears are streaming down my cheeks, really hurt me badly”. To which she immediately refers to the suffering of trans people around the world, “These tears are because the world is hurting millions”.

The chorus then shows Tone demonstrating extreme self-belief in the face of discrimination, “I learned to live just like my momma said, my way… go on and dance on my grave and I’ll go my way,”. She taunts her oppressors by stating, “Your words made me stronger and I got bigger, better, smarter”. Tone then repeats the line about the support from her mother, “Live just like my momma said, my way”.

Tone often refers to the importance of her supportive family in her social media posts, and this song refers to the strength that such support has given her. Sadly, not every trans person can count on such support, so mentioning its value is incredibly important.

In the second verse, Tone sings, “Have you ever been afraid showing your true colour” while the pink and cyan of the transgender flag is super-imposed on her, in a strong show of trans pride. She also calls for solidarity, “All I ask humanity is take care of each other”.

The final verse continues this theme, where she calls for us to “enjoy us being different, make us equal, legal and heard”. She then challenges those in power, “Would you rather see us suffer, then open up your mind and stop being so ignorant”.

Why is this song so important?

As a trans woman myself, seeing a song like this performed by such a confident, proud performer such as Tone means the world to me. It is extremely rare to see transgender people on television, and when we appear we always conform to a very narrow set of stereotypes and cisgender ideals for what trans people are allowed to say and look like.

Tone is nothing like this. She is singing a song written by herself, for herself, and proudly displaying her voice and identity to the world. Symbolism such as when she goes from wearing a bulky trench coat that hides her body to a figure-hugging gown beautifully describes the empowerment of the trans experience in ways that would have meant so much to me as a closeted, anxious young girl.

I hope we see much more of Tone in the future, and that this will be just the start of an influx of trans-positive performances at Mello and other national finals.

“My Way” lyrics — Tone Sekelius (Melodifestivalen 2022)

Songwriters: Anderz Wrethov and Tone Sekelius

Look me deep into my eyes, do you think I’m happy?
Tears are streaming down my cheeks, really hurt me badly

And I guess you think I care ’bout your opinion
These tears are because the world is hurting millions

I learned to live just like my momma said
My way
My way
Go and dance on my grave
And I’ll go my way

Your words made me stronger
And I got bigger, better, smarter
Live just like my momma said
My way
My way

Have you ever been afraid showing your true colour?
All I ask humanity is take care of each other

And I guess you think I care ’bout your opinion
These tears are because the world is hurting millions

I learned to live just like my momma said
My way
My way
Go and dance on my grave
And I’ll go my way

Your words made me stronger
And I got bigger, better, smarter
Live just like my momma said
My way
My way

Let’s enjoy us being different
Make us equal, legal, and heard
Would you rather see us suffer
Then open up your mind and stop being so ignorant

I learned to live just like my momma said
My way
My way
Go and dance on my grave
And I’ll go my way

Your words made me stronger
And I got bigger, better, smarter
Live just like my momma said
My way
My way

What do you think of “My Way”? Do you think Tone Sekelius could win Melodifestivalen 2022? Are you hoping to see more of her in the future? Let us know below!

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K-just
K-just
4 months ago

I don’t like her song. It’s a typical old-fashioned queer show

Last edited 4 months ago by K-just
Mari
Mari
4 months ago

Good for her but I really don’t like the song.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
4 months ago
Reply to  Mari

Hopefully, this isn’t the last we see of her. Maybe she’ll try again with a better song.

Manuel de Sousa
Manuel de Sousa
4 months ago

She actually has a nice voice and the song has so much potential but, then it goes meh.
It starts well but everything from then does not excite me at all.

Wished revamps were possible at this stage.
She should return some other year with a much better song.

#synthsareawesome
#synthsareawesome
4 months ago

Representation is great, the song not so much. It’s quite repetitive and generic to my ears.

Poloser Garbagerina
4 months ago

her song is literally three notes and anyone could sing it… but it’s super enjoyable ! great melfest debut for tone

Nicomro
4 months ago

I’m in love with the four eurovision songs of Andersz so no Wonder I love “My way”!!
And tone is so cool, charismatic and brave ! Just love the performance

Last edited 4 months ago by Nicomro
Bill
Bill
4 months ago

I just love Tone and her song ! Please send her into the final, vote for My Way!

Ffgsg
Ffgsg
4 months ago

Off topic:
Russia left ebu

Ana
Ana
4 months ago
Reply to  Ffgsg

3 days ago.. Are you waking up from a long nap?

Ffgsg
Ffgsg
4 months ago
Reply to  Ana

Sorry I just mentioned it what’s your problem?

I just mentioned it because no one replied or voted my comments and most websites didn’t post an article about it

Denis
Denis
4 months ago
Reply to  Ffgsg

There is an article about that on this very site…

siu or sui?
siu or sui?
4 months ago
Reply to  Denis

where is it? icant find it

Alex
Alex
4 months ago
Reply to  Ffgsg

this is the wrong article to post it but EBU confirmed they have not heard from the Russian broadcasters so officially they have not left.

siu or sui?
siu or sui?
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex

hmm ok