LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

MUSIC

 

Matt Fishel: Radio Friendly Pop Song
Billboard: Top 50 Gay Anthems

Time Out: 50 Best Songs to Celebrate Gay Pride

Pride: 20 Gay Pride Anthems

Huff Post: 27 Important LGBTQ Songs

Buzz Feed: 36 Gay Love Songs

Watch Mojo: Top Ten LGBTQ Anthems

Pride: 10 Best LGBTQ Music Videos

Video List: LGBTQ Music Artists

 

LGBTQ Music and Musicians

 

LGBTQ music is more than just disco dance music for shirtless men and brooding folk music for feminist women. Gay rappers, gay rockers, gay country singers, and gay hip hop stars are on the rise. Transgender performers are also going public. Previous decades of music that included groundbreaking pioneers like David Bowie, the Village People, George Michael, Joan Jett, Boy George, Elton John, and Freddie Mercury have given way to today's young, openly gay musicians like Mary Lambert, Le1f, Troye Sivan, Brandie Carlisle, Adam Lambert, Sam Smith, and Olly Alexander (Years and Years).

 

LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) music is music focusing on LGBTQ issues performed by LGBTQ artists and performers. The lyrics are largely about empowerment, same-sex relationships, love, acceptance, freedom, gay pride and the courage to come out to the general public. Starting in the 2010s, it became more popular among American performers, as when openly-gay artist Adam Lambert (from American Idol) topped the 2012 Billboard 200 chart.

 

 

The One I Love by Ellen Krauss

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae

YMCA by Boy George

These Are the Days of Our Lives by Freddie Mercury

People Like Us by Kelly Clarkson

Official Coming Out Song by Ally Hills

It Gets Better by Broadway Stars
Modern Love by Matt Nathanson

True Colors by Cyndi Lauper

I Was Born to Love You by Freddie Mercury

Girls Like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko

If She Ever Leaves Me by The Highwomen

Heart to Break by Kim Petras

 

 

Freedom by Kameron Michaels

Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Burning by Sam Smith

Stranger in This World by Boy George

You Need to Calm Down by Taylor Swift

Make You Happy by Mika

It Was by Chely Wright
I Am What I Am by Gloria Gaynor

Afterlife by Ingrid Michaelson

Neverland by Korean Pop Star Holland

That's My Man by Miss Benny

Somebody to Love by Queen

Playboy School of Pop by King Princess

You Can Sleep by KD Lang and Melissa Etheridge

 

 

While popular music has always included LGBTQ artists, the increasing social tolerance of the late 20th and early 21st century allowed such artists to come out publicly. Early examples of this arose with the sexual liberation movement, with artists such as Elton John, Village People, Sylvester, Tom Robinson, Indigo Girls, KD Lang, Melissa Etheridge, Queen, David Bowie, Little Richard, Billy Preston, and Marc Almond (Soft Cell), among others.

 

In the 1980's, the exposure of openly LGBTQ artists became richer, with artists such as Boy George (Culture Club), George Michael (Wham), Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Michael Stipe (REM), Sylvester, Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys), Dead or Alive, Adam Bell (Erasure), and the B52s as well as artists who are openly LGBTQ allies, such as Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Donna Summer, Jessica Lowndes and Gloria Gaynor, among many others.

 


The 1990s saw a start of a fair introduction to pro-LGBTQ laws, and artists condemning homophobia in their music. Groups such as Placebo, Alcazar, Right Said Fred, and more joined the ranks of allies and LGBTQ musicians. The 1990s also introduced Ani DeFranco, Sia, Rufus Wainwright, Ray Boltz, Two Nice Girls (Gretchen Phillips), Skin (Skunk Anansie), Sophie B. Hawkins,
Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Kaia Wilson, Carrie Brownstein, and Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend).

The 2000s saw LGBTQ music branch off into its own genre in some cases, and new artists like Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Will Young, The Scissor Sisters, The Gossip, Jay Brennan, RuPaul, Jeffree Star, Blood on the Dance Floor (duo), Lady Gaga, Patrick Wolf, Mika, Dario, Brandi Carlile, Adam Lambert, Sam Sparro, Billy Gilman, tATu, Kent James, Dawnstar, and Troye Sivan.

 

Killer Queen by Queen

Your Song by Elton John

Scarecrow by Melissa Etheridge

Born This Way by Lady Gaga

Girl in the Kinks Shirt by Matt Nathanson

Dancing in the Living Room by Cameron Hawthorn

Stay With Me by Sam Smith

Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae

Finally by Matt Fishel

Rendezvous by Miss Benny

Like Me by Chely Wright

So Small by Ty Herndon

Aftermath by Adam Lambert

Your Song by Lady Gaga

All I Do is Cry by Kim Petras

 

 

Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

True Colors by LA Gay Men's Chorus

Galileo by Indigo Girls

Blame It On the Girls by Mika

Sleepover by Hayley Kiyoko

Sparks Fly by Taylor Swift

Django Jane by Janelle Monae

I Was Born to Love You by Freddie Mercury

Come to My Window by Melissa Etheridge

When She Loved Me by Sarah McLachlan
Closer to Fine by Indigo Girls

I'm Coming Out by Diana Ross

 

In the 2010s, openly-gay artists such as Sam Smith, Azealia Banks, Mary Lambert, Matt Morris, Frank Ocean, Tegan & Sara, Troye Sivan, and rapper Le1f (Khalif Diouf) gained popularity. Well-established country music singer Chely Wright came out as gay in 2010. Another country singer, Ty Herndon, came out as gay in 2014, after three number one hits on Billboard Hot Country Songs. Currently, the country music genre also includes Cameron Hawthorn, Brandon Stansell, and Lil Nas X. 2012 also saw Laura Jane Grace (lead singer of the punk band Against Me!) come out as transgender.

 

Current popular LGBTQ musicians include Angel Haze, Shamir, Who is Fancy, Perfume Genius, Double Duchess, Lowell, Devouring Mothers, Kindness, Joshua Thomas, Years & Years, Hurray for Riff Raff, Panic! At The Disco, Hayley Kiyoko, Kim Petras, Boytoy, Kehlani, Sizzy Rocket, and Janelle Monae.

 

 

 

LGBTQ Topic Songs 

Imagine by Lady Gaga at HRC National Dinner
Different Kind of Love Song
It's a Beautiful Day by Freddie Mercury & Queen

Born This Way by Lady Gaga on SNL

Celebrate by Mika

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift

Lollipop by Mika

It Gets Better by Todrick Hall

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

Single White Female by Chely Wright

YMCA by The Village People

Who Wants to Live Forever by Freddie Mercury & Queen

 

 

Fool by Alyson Stoner

Some Other Summer by Roxette

Love of My Life by Freddie Mercury & Queen

Secrets by Mary Lambert

Time by Steve Grand

Don't Wait by Joey Graceffo

She Keeps Me Warm by Mary Lambert

Pynk by Janelle Monae

The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga

Like Me by Chely Wright

YMCA by Village People

Love Today by Mika

Philadelphia by Tori Amos

Born This Way by Lady Gaga on Grammys

 

 

Nobody by Jade Novah and Cynthia Erivo

We Are Golden by Mika

I Just Want to Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson
Love is Love by Starley

Him (Lyrics) by Sam Smith

I Like That by Janelle Monae

You're a Firework by Katy Perry

Dare to Love by Sean Chapin

All American Boy by Steve Grand

The Great Pretender by Freddie Mercury
Have You Ever by Brandi Carlile

I Am What I Am by Karen Mulder
Never Love You Enough by Chely Wright

Your Song by Elton John
I'm Coming Out by Diana Ross

 

 

This is Me from Greatest Showman

I Have a Voice by Broadway Kids Against Bullying

Kiss Like a Woman

New Eyes by Adam Lambert

We Kiss in a Shadow

Me by Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie

Love Sweet Love by Broadway for Orlando

Don't Give Up by Maggie Szabo

Til it Happens to You by Lady Gaga

Dancing in the Living Room by Cameron Hawthorn

Stay With Me by Sam Smith

Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae

Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels by Todrick Hall

 

 

LGBTQ Anthem: I Was Born This Way

 

LGBTQ Anthem: Lady Gaga's Born This Way (NPR Report 2019)

I Was Born This Way by Lady Gaga (2011)

I Was Born This Way by Rev. Carl Bean (1977)

I Was Born This Way by Valentino (1972)

I Was Born This Way by Lady Gaga on SNL

I Was Born This Way by Lady Gaga on Grammys

 

Coming Out in Country Music

 

Ty Herndon: What Mattered Most (Alternative Version)

Ty Herndon: What Mattered Most (Original Version)

 

Popular LGBTQ Musicians

 

Melissa Etheridge

Amy Ray, Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls)

KD Lang

Sam Smith

Janelle Monae

Elton John

Michael Stipe (REM)

Brandie Carlile

Jake Shears (Scissors Sisters)

Billy Gilman

Todrick Hall

Mario Jose

Sylvester

Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco)

Ray Boltz

Mary Lambert

 

 

Lil Nas X (Country Music Rapper)

Lucy Spraggin

Chely Wright (Country Music Star)

Rugus Wainwright

Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)

Le1f

Azealia Banks

Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!, Devouring Mothers)

Mika

Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson (B52s)

Ricky Wilson, Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland (B52s)

Kim Petras

Alyson Stoner

Ty Herndon (Country Music Star)

Tegan and Sara

Troye Sivan

Ben Platt

Jennifer Knapp (Christian Music Star)

Freddie Mercury (Queen)

Sia

Meredith Graves (Punk Rocker)

Olly Alexander (Years & Years)

Adam Lambert

 

 

Cameron Hawthorn (Country Music Star)

Hayley Kiyoko

Domo Wilson (Hip Hop Artist)

Kehlani

Brandon Stansell (Country Music Star)

Lady Gaga

Matt Fishel

Frank Ocean

King Princess

Boy George (Culture Club)

Lance Bass (N Sync)

Chris Willis

Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)

Ani DeFranco

George Michael (Wham)

Village People

Billy Preston

Janis Ian

Ricky Martin

Barry Manilow

Liberace

 

 

Wikipedia: LGBTQ Singers

Mic: 16 Big Time LGBTQ Musicians

Boy George and Culture Club: Career Overview

LGBTQ Anthem: Lady Gaga's Born This Way

Queer Music History 101

Top Gay Male Musicians

Most Important Queer Women in Music

Out: Gay Music

Hayley Kiyoko: Queer Pop Star We've Been Waiting For

Pride: Gay Music

The Village People: Career Overview

B52s Update: 30 Years After Love Shack

Queerness: 20 Queer Songs You Should Know
Lesbian Love Songs: Women Singing About Women

 

Village People

 

Original Members...
Victor Willis (Cop/Admiral/Athlete/Gigolo/Generic)
Felipe Rose (Indian)
Alex Briley (Soldier/Sailor)
Lee Mouton (Biker)
Mark Mussler (Construction Worker)
David Forrest (Cowboy)
Peter Whitehead (Generic)

 



Later Members...
Glenn Hughes (Leather Man)
David Hodo (Construction Worker)
Randy Jones (Cowboy)
Ray Simpson (Cop)
Jeff Olson (Cowboy)
Miles Jaye (Cop)
Mark Lee (Construction Worker)
Eric Anzalone (Leather Man)
Bill Whitefield (Construction Worker)
Jim Newman (Cowboy)
Angel Morales (Indian)
Sonny Earl (Soldier)
JJ Lippold (Leather Man)
James Kwong (Construction Worker)
Chad Freeman (Cowboy)
James Lee (Soldier)


 

Musicians Who Are LGBTQ Allies
 

Madonna

Sarah McLaughlin

Cyndi Lauper

Carrie Underwood

Macklemore

Taylor Swift

Katy Perry

Dan Reynolds (Imagine Dragons)

Dar Williams

Matt Nathanson

Cher

Kylie Minogue

Donna Summer

Diana Ross

Jessica Lowndes

Gloria Gaynor

 

 

Other Media

 

Books/Publications

Magazines/Periodicals

Movies/Film

Television/Media

Arts/Entertainment


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