LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

MUSIC

 

Queer Music History 101

Chely Wright's Return to the Grand Ole Opry

Sylvester Documentary: Life of Queer Black Disco Legend

Ricky Martin: Super Happy About Decision to Come Out

Trey Pearson's New Album: Tribute to Larry Kramer's Legacy

Rolling Stone: Little Richard, Rock n Roll Icon, Dies at 87

Advocate: Emerging Queer Artists Who Are Giving Us Life

HRC: 2020 Pride Benefit Concert

Kim Petras Performs Icy at Streamy Awards

Next Generation of Queer Pop Music

Lady Gaga Performs Elton John's Your Song

Billboard: Top 50 Gay Anthems

Interview: Mary Lambert

 

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. Most notably, we are hearing gay love songs, without disguise or apology.  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.

 

 

Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles

Country Radio by the Indigo Girls

I Am Her by Shea Diamond

Constant Craving by KD Lang

Believe (Tribute to Cher) by Adam Lambert

Happy Together by Mark Ronson and King Princess

Colours by MNEK and Hailee Steinfeld

Honey by Kehlani

Some Call it Magic by Raven-Symone

She by Hayley Kiyoko

These Are the Days of Our Lives by Freddie Mercury

Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper

People Like Us by Kelly Clarkson

Bad Guy by Billie Eilish

Hallelujah by Panic! at the Disco

I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepson

Brave by Sara Bareilles

Official Coming Out Song by Ally Hills

 

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), Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys), Dead or Alive, Adam Bell (Erasure), and the B52s.  We also begin to see artists who are openly LGBTQ allies, such as Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Sarah McLaughlin, Kylie Minogue, Donna Summer, Jessica Lowndes and Gloria Gaynor, among many others.

 

 

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

Talia by King Princess

Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Heart to Break by Kim Petras

YMCA by Boy George

The One I Love by Ellen Krauss

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae

American Pie by Shea Diamond

Neon Cross by Jamie Wyatt

Help Me Now by Kevin McHale

Freedom by Kameron Michaels

Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Burning by Sam Smith

Not a Phase by Jessie Paege (w Lucy and La Mer)

Fix You by Sam Smith

 

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 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 Sparrow, Billy Gilman, tATu, Kent James, Dawnstar, and Troye Sivan. We also heard LGBTQ-friendly music from such allies as Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera.

 

 

Stranger in This World by Boy George

You Need to Calm Down by Taylor Swift

Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld

Coming Out by Jessie Paege

Beat For the Gods by Laverne Cox

Make You Happy by Mika

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

Hands of Love (Freeheld) by Miley Cyrus

Afterlife by Ingrid Michaelson

Neverland by Korean Pop Star Holland

That's My Man by Miss Benny

Rocket Man by Elton John (London 1972)

On Your Side by The Veronicas

Feelings by Hayley Kiyoko

Wishing Well by Jamie Wyatt

Somebody to Love by Queen

Playboy School of Pop by King Princess

You Can Sleep by KD Lang and Melissa Etheridge

1950 by King Princess

 

In the 2010s, openly-gay artists such as Sam Smith, Azealia Banks, Mary Lambert, Matt Morris, Frank Ocean, Tegan & Sara, Todrick Hall, 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. We also see the rise of many LGBTQ allies in the music world: Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Nathanson, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Macklemore, Pink, and Dan Reynolds.

 

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, Miss Bunny, Hayley Kiyoko, Kim Petras, Alyson Stoner, Boytoy, Kehlani, Sizzy Rocket, King Princess, and Janelle Monae.

 

 

Killer Queen by Queen

Your Song by Elton John

Scarecrow by Melissa Etheridge

Burn the Floor by Drake Jensen

Symmetry of Two Hearts by Bight Light Bright Light

Born This Way by Lady Gaga

Girl in the Kinks Shirt by Matt Nathanson

Dancing in the Living Room by Cameron Hawthorn

Explosion by Zolita

Heartbeat by Jennifer Corday

Stay With Me by Sam Smith

Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae

Don't Shoot by Shea Diamond

Holy by King Princess

Finally by Matt Fishel

Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld

Strangers by Halsey and Lauren Jauregui

 

 

LGBTQ Music News

 

Time Out: 50 Best Songs to Celebrate Gay Pride

Billie Eilish: CBS Sunday Morning Interview

Pride: 20 Gay Pride Anthems

Rufus Wainwright's Career Has Never Followed the Rules

Billboard: Queering Mainstream Music

Huff Post: 27 Important LGBTQ Songs

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

Buzz Feed: 36 Gay Love Songs

Watch Mojo: Top Ten LGBTQ Anthems

Rolling Stone: Essential LGBTQ Pride Songs

Interview: Troye Sivan

I Got You Babe by Cyndi Lauper and Adam Lambert

Pride: 10 Best LGBTQ Music Videos

Watch Mojo: Top Ten LGBTQ Anthems

Interview: KD Lang

Trans Documentary: The Kim Petras Story

Video List: LGBTQ Music Artists

LGBTQ Pride Anthems

Next Generation of Queer Pop Music

Interview: Mary Lambert

Ricky Martin: Lip Syncing Old Time Rock & Roll and Footloose

Boy George and Culture Club: Career Overview

 

 

Pivotal LGBTQ Moments in Music

 

Equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people is today's defining civil rights issue, but the music world has always played a significant role in LGBTQ progress. Consider musical moments that have been pivotal in advancing LGBTQ understanding, acceptance and rights.

1976 - Tom Robinson is "Glad to Be Gay." The British songwriter penned the tune "Glad to Be Gay" for a London gay pride rally. Inspired by the in-your-face posturing of punk bands like The Sex Pistols, the song's lyrics were bold and brave, especially considering the climate towards homosexuals at the time. Some 40 years later, the song still serves as Britain's national gay anthem.

 

1978 - Sylvester dons a dress. Long before RuPaul sashayed onto the Billboard charts in the early '90s, drag diva Sylvester was paving the way for queens everywhere with his high-energy club tracks. Best known for his anthem "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," Sylvester James found his calling and adopted his one-name moniker after moving to San Francisco to pursue music just a couple of years before New York's Stonewall riot launched the national gay liberation movement.

 

 

For Your Entertainment by Adam Lambert

Kiss by Prince

Expectations by Lauren Jauregui

Louder by Big Freedia

All Me/Change Your Life by Kehlani

Wild by Troye Sivan and Alessia Cara

Rendezvous by Miss Benny

Breath and Sound by Tom Goss

Victoria Sole by Te Amo

Like Me by Chely Wright

So Small by Ty Herndon

Aftermath by Adam Lambert

Giving Back the Best of Me by Jamie Wyatt

 

1984 - Synth-Pop gets political. Bronski Beat wasn't the only LGBTQ-friendly synth-pop group of the '80s. But back when bands like Pet Shop Boys and Erasure were only making veiled references to their sexualities, falsetto vocalist Jimmy Sommerville and company were adorning their album covers with pink triangles and writing political, gay-empowering club tunes that left no room for misinterpretation. "Smalltown Boy" was the trio's most celebrated hit, and the song's video was one of the first of any genre to address the issue of violence against gays.

 

1990 - Madonna makes the Vogue pose mainstream. Madonna had already established herself as an advocate for LGBTQ rights and causes in the '80s, but she took her gay-positive message to a different level when she introduced mainstream America to the Vogue flamboyant style of dance, reminiscent of the underground drag ball scene. "Vogue" soared to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and came with a striking black-and-white video that taught the world how to strike a pose.

 

1991 - Stars pay tribute to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. The flamboyant performer openly had relationships with both men and women during the band's popularity. Mercury revealed to the world that he had contracted HIV, and  became the first major rock star to die of AIDS. The remaining members of Queen staged The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness to celebrate the life and legacy of Mercury and raise money for AIDS research. The concert, which featured performances by Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Elton John, Metallica, David Bowie, Guns N' Roses and U2 among others, was broadcast live to 76 countries, and had an estimated viewing audience of 1 billion people.

 

1993 - Countrified pop chanteuse KD Lang graced the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in a barber chair being amorously shaved by model Cindy Crawford.
 

 

I Love You's by Hailee Steinfeld

Your Song by Lady Gaga

All I Do is Cry by Kim Petras

Love Shack by B 52s

I Believe by Bright Light Bright Light

Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

Strangers by Halsey and Lauren Jauregui

True Colors by LA Gay Men's Chorus

Galileo by Indigo Girls

Radio Gaga by Queen (Live Aid Concert 1985)

Misery and Gin by Jamie Wyatt

Raising Hell by Kesha and Big Freedia

 

1993 - Melissa Etheridge says "Yes I Am." While out rocker Melissa Etheridge had experienced much success in the late '80s and early '90s, it wasn't until her "Yes I Am" album that she made headlines. The album (whose title served as an answer to questions about her sexuality) spent 138 weeks on the Billboard chart and has sold 4.4 million copies in the US.

 

1995 - Jill Sobule kisses a girl. Long before Katy Perry catered to male fantasies by singing "I kissed a girl and I liked it," singer-songwriter Jill Sobule made the same declaration in earnest. Her song "I Kissed a Girl" became a hit. Its overt declaration of lesbianism struck a chord as a character-driven narrative, giving voice to sexual exploration in a way rarely touched in pop.

 

1998 - Rob Halford makes metal history. Grammy-winning Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford came out during an MTV interview. "I've been a gay man all of my life. It's only been in recent times that it's been an issue that I've been comfortable to address."

 

2005 - Elton John and David Furnish tie the knot. In the '70s, Elton John was famously slippery about his sexual orientation. But the singer set aside all ambiguities when he celebrated England's recognition of same-sex civil partnerships and wed his longtime partner, filmmaker David Furnish. Five years later, John and Furnish adopted a baby boy, Zachary, who was born to a surrogate. And later, the couple welcomed Elijah.

 

2006 - Lance Bass may not have emerged from the closet during *NSYNC's boy-band reign , but the singer's later revelation was still nothing less than bold. In a People magazine cover story, Bass declared that he's "not ashamed" of his sexuality." Following his coming out, Bass was awarded the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award.

 

 

Bad Guy (Live Acoustic) by Billie Eilish

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

Manic Monday by Prince

Lousy & In In In by Zebra Katz

When She Loved Me by Sarah McLachlan
Curious by Hayley Kiyoko

Closer to Fine by Indigo Girls

I'm Coming Out by Diana Ross

 

2007 - Enrique Iglesias literally embraces his fans. He proved that his appreciation for his fans is not specific to gender or sexual orientation in a performance at London's G-A-Y nightclub. During the show, Iglesias brought a male fan on stage and serenaded him with his ballad "Hero." Iglesias confidently hugged and kissed the swooning fan.


2007 - Rufus Wainwright, Friend of Dorothy. The campy magic of Judy Garland was summoned by singer Rufus Wainwright, who paid homage to the gay icon by recreating the her stage shows from the 60s. Wainwright took the act to Britain's Glastonbury festival, where he donned lipstick and heels for a performance that declared his sexuality.

2007 - Christian Chavez fights for "Libertad." He came out of the closet while he was a member of wildly popular Mexican teen pop group RBD.  Four years later, in the provocative video for "Libertad," the Latin-pop singer uses a sexy narrative about two gay lovers who meet in a club to make a stance for gay rights and sexual freedom. Spliced between flashing images of Harvey Milk, RuPaul, Martin Luther King Jr and others, Chavez and his boyfriend passionately kiss.

 

2009 - Lady Gaga fights for gay rights. With her equality anthem "Born This Way", nearly everything she says, does and wears, Lady Gaga has proven herself to be this era's gay-friendliest pop star. First came her rallying cry at the National Equality March on Washington. Then the 2010 MTV awards followed, where US service members affected by the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy accompanied her on the red carpet. Later, she appealed to her millions of her social media followers to ask the New York State Senator to vote yes for the Marriage Equality Act.

 

 

2009 - Adam Lambert glams up American Idol and debuts at No. 1. While Adam Lambert didn't make his sexuality a major talking point while competing on American Idol, he later came out in a Rolling Stone cover story. Though he finished the 2009 season of American Idol in second place, he remained the season's breakout star and has since worked to become a role model for LGBTQ teens.


2010 - Ricky Martin reveals all in his autobiography, Me. From Menudo sweetheart to Latin explosion leader, Ricky Martin has spent much of his career dodging relentless scrutiny over his sexuality. Martin finally put the rumors to rest and declared himself a "fortunate homosexual man." Martin is the proud dad of twin boys, born to a surrogate.

 

2010 - Television series Glee features gay teens on primetime. After first being introduced to Kurt Hummel (played by Chris Colfer), the Fox show tackled gay issues big and small, bringing LGBTQ storylines to the forefront. Then Kurt met Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss). Blaine serenaded Kurt with Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," and the Glee cast earned its best single sales week for a download with the song's release. Meanwhile, Brittany (Heather Morris) and Santana (Naya Rivera) were struggling with their sexuality, and the two expressed their feelings through a duet of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide."

 

2010 - Country music star Chely Wright comes out and makes big headlines in Nashville. Before publicly announcing her sexuality, Wright had already established herself as a best-selling, award-winning country music singer and songwriter. Her story is told in Wish Me Away, a documentary about her coming out experience. She married Lauren Blitzer in 2011. In 2013, she and Blitzer welcomed twins George Samuel and Everett Joseph.

 

2012 - Odd Future member and R&B artist Frank Ocean published an intimate social media post explaining that his first love was a man. The declaration was initially meant to be included in the liner notes to his debut major-label album, Channel Orange, which came out a week later. Prior to this moment, Ocean had recorded several love songs that included the "he" pronoun.

 

 

2012 - Tommy Gabel of the band Against Me! comes out as transgender. After living for 31 years as a man, as singer/guitarist for Florida punk band, he announced he would be transitioning to life as a woman named Laura Jane Grace.


2012 - After Barack Obama publicly endorsed same-sex marriage, rapper Jay Z voiced his own support. "It's no different than discriminating against blacks. It's discrimination, plain and simple," he said. Other stars, from Lady Gaga to Alicia Keys, also backed the president's words.
 

2012 - The world's biggest Latin touring act, Mana, made a strong statement in support of marriage equality. The Mexican rock band's lead singer, Fher Olvera, joined a chorus of other like-minded musicians and backed gay couples on the band's social media platform. "Full recognition for same-sex couples is not just a question of equality, it is also a matter of justice," the singer wrote. "In a chaotic world where there is still too much hatred, all expressions of love are important. Because the only sin is the absence of love."

 

2014 - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis serenaded 33 gay and straight weddings at the Grammy Awards show with Same Love. The ceremony was officiated by Queen Latifah. The all-star performance also included Madonna singing "Open Your Heart" and vocalist Mary Lambert.

2014 - Conchita Wurst wins Eurovision. The 2
5 year old Austrian bearded drag queen won the singing contest with her ballad "Rise Like a Phoenix."
 

LGBTQ Music News

 

Queer Music History 101

Little Mix: Support for the LGBTQ Community

Chely Wright's Return to the Grand Ole Opry

Entertainment Weekly: LGBTQ Pride Forever Issue

Rolling Stone: Little Richard, Rock n Roll Icon, Dies at 87

Advocate: Emerging Queer Artists Who Are Giving Us Life

Paper: Game-Changing LGBTQ Musicians

Kim Petras Performs Icy at Streamy Awards

Wikipedia: LGBTQ Singers

Elton John and James Corden: Carpool Karaoke

Big Time LGBTQ Musicians

Halsey and Lauren Jaruegui on Today Show

LGBTQ Anthem: Lady Gaga's Born This Way

KD Lang, Loretta Lynn, Brenda Lee, Kitty Wells

Interview: Troye Sivan

Top Gay Male Musicians

Billboard: Pivotal LGBTQ Moments in Music

 

 

Lauren Jauregui Takes LGBTQ Pop Music Quiz

Next Generation of Queer Pop Music

Lady Gaga Performs Elton John's Your Song

Billboard: Top 50 Gay Anthems

I Got You Babe by Cyndi Lauper and Adam Lambert

Interview: Mary Lambert

Time Out: 50 Best Songs to Celebrate Gay Pride

Billie Eilish: CBS Sunday Morning Interview

Pride: 20 Gay Pride Anthems

Huff Post: 27 Important LGBTQ Songs

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

Buzz Feed: 36 Gay Love Songs

Rolling Stone: Essential LGBTQ Pride Songs

LGBTQ Pride Anthems

Out: Gay Music

 

 

Pride: 10 Best LGBTQ Music Videos

Video List: LGBTQ Music Artists

Pink News: Popular LGBTQ Singers

Billboard: Queering Mainstream Music

Billie Eilish: On the Jimmy Kimmel Show

Most Important Queer Women in Music

Pride: Gay Music

The Village People: Career Overview

Jamie Wyatt: Queer Queen of Outlaw Country

Beauty and the Beast Parody Song: Todrick Hall

B52s Update: 30 Years After Love Shack

Queerness: 20 Queer Songs You Should Know
Interview: KD Lang

Lauren Jauiregui: Social Media, Her Music, Coming Out

Lesbian Love Songs: Women Singing About Women

Matt Fishel: Radio Friendly Pop Song

Tutti Frutti: Little Richard Performs at Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

 

Emerging LGBTQ Musicians

 

From jazz and blues to pop and folk, these young LGBTQ artists are breaking ground across an ever-changing landscape.

Chaz Cardigan - An alt-rocker for a new, angsty generation, Chaz Cardigan is making space for himself in a genre in which LGBTQ musicians aren’t often seen. Cardigan recently released the video for “Not OK!” It is a brash anthem for people struggling to get their shit together. With all of his quirks and color, Cardigan recognizes the privilege he has to make music without his sexuality being the focus. "I’m allowed to say that I’m queer, and no one really bats an eyelash,” he says. “I’m allowed, actually, to just exist as a person and not even have to make my sexuality a focus in my art. I can just make art.” LGBTQ artists have come far in recent years, and audiences recognize that who you love is only a part of our stories, of who we are as humans. For Cardigan, it’s humbling: “Sometimes I actually forget that that single adjective [queer] would have destroyed any chance of someone’s career, like, 15 years ago. My friends and the people I work with are all sort of immune to it, and it’s really liberating."


Wafia - Now and then, a song comes on that feels like a gentle breeze on a sunny day and you can’t help but smile and drink it in. Luckily for Wafia, you get that feeling listening to every track in her discography. Whether she’s warning herself not to self-sabotage a romance over the Caribbean-infused EDM track “Better Not” or getting high on edibles in “Flowers and Superpowers,” there’s something easy and infectious about Wafia’s synth-pop. In just a few years, she’s racked up hundreds of millions of streams with her syrupy songs steeped in honesty. With her popularity and profile climbing, she’s proud to be an openly queer Muslim woman in the pop music sphere. Her debut album is expected later this year. “It’s definitely a privilege to be able to represent in my small way in this space that I don’t take lightly,” she says. “There weren’t a lot of people I could look up to that I felt I could identify with. Visibility is important and I’m so glad that times are changing.”

 



Jakk Fynn - Jakk Fynn is ready to “Heal,” and hopes his music can do the same for you. Following a break up, the Latinx pop-punk artist had to reassess who he was alone as well as come to terms with his transmasculine identity. His journey inspired his art and mission to empower LGBTQ people with music. "Throughout my musical journey I’ve met a lot of obstacles: opposition from my family, pressures from labels, the idea that I had to present myself in any way other than who I actually am,” he told The Advocate in March. “These things never stopped me though; they just pushed me harder to find new ways to fight for my vision 100% on my terms. Actively moving in opposition to what the world wants from you is a difficult path, so I think it’s important to celebrate those that do.” Maybe those are the steps to heal not only yourself, but the world.

Amythyst Kiah - Amythyst Kiah has a voice that stops you in your tracks and commands you to really listen. The hypnotizing blues and roots singer recently snagged a Grammy nomination for her defiant self-love anthem “Black Myself” with Our Native Daughters, which won Song of the Year at the International Folk Music Awards. Kiah has also been named “one of roots music’s most exciting emerging talents” by Rolling Stone. While American folk music originated with Black people, it isn’t an easy genre for any Black woman to be successful in — let alone a queer one. But Kiah is unapologetic about who she is. “It took me years before I felt comfortable living my truth,” she says, thanking her parents who loved and supported her. "I think of every piece of queer art I got my hands on when I was younger just to see my truth reflected back at me, and I only hope I can be that for someone else,” Kiah says. “We should always remember the ones who are still in the closet, for they are still finding their truth the safest way possible. Here’s to hoping with all of our perseverance that more and more people will be able to feel safe enough to live their truth without fear.”

 


Tom Goss - Music can be intimately personal. There are few who know that better than Tom Goss. On “Quebec,” a single off his latest album, Territories, Goss reveals to his husband that he’s fallen in love with another man. This is only after his husband revealed his own infidelity, which led to the pair opening their marriage. The album explores this experience, with Goss’s heartfelt voice as the narrator, in a way that is uniquely queer. "As queer people, we are used to having a perspective that the rest of the world has a hard time understanding,” Goss says when asked why his work is so personal. “It’s not always easy, but I consider my queerness a gift. If I were straight, I would have assimilated decades ago. My ideas would have been washed into the ideas of society. My queerness and my differentness in society has helped me be resilient in my authenticity, openness, and personal truth.”

 

Quentin Arispe - Quentin Arispe has been singing all their life. As they put it, "I can’t remember a time in my life that singing wasn’t a part of. The funny thing is that both of my parents aren’t vocalists or artists. I’m super grateful, though, that they were so supportive of my musical endeavors, and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have gotten this far." And Arispe is truly an artist worth listening to. With inspirations that include Alabama Shakes, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, and Beyoncé (they also share a hometown with the diva), Arispe has the skill to create tracks that turn into earworms like “No You Hang Up” as well as the more chest-baring fare, “I’m That Bitch,” both off of their latest EP, Fruit. The project is about "knowing that you can be absolutely anything," Arispe says. “That constructs are social and nothing can truly limit the human experience. That it’s OK to be mad and it’s OK to be loud and a bitch. That polarity and duality is godly."

 



Teraj - Teraj’s voice was a secret well into his teens. Hailing from Miami, the artist was surrounded by the sounds of Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, and Michael Jackson in his childhood home, but he would never let anyone hear his own abilities — until he did. Now he’s embraced singing as a full-time career and is releasing a four-pack of music videos alongside his album Defy, that he wrote and produced. "The overall message behind the album Defy is to inspire and encourage others to overcome the odds, courageously chase one’s dreams, and live boldly in one’s truth,” Teraj says. “I wanted to craft songs that share my personal stories of growing up in an underprivileged community with countless adverse circumstances and that with drive, hard work, and perseverance, I overcame that.”

Banoffee - Fans may have first come in touch with Banoffee through her work with Charli XCX while touring with Taylor Swift — and it was largely through that tour that the singer raked enough cash to finance her own debut, Look at Us Now Dad. The impressive album contains a feature from CupkKaKe, and a track done in collaboration with Sophie. The music she creates (which establishes her as a part of a new generation of musicians who are bringing “a sense of fun and sass that is unrestricted by gender and traditional values” to the pop genre) is certainly a central part of who she is. As is speaking out about inequality and oppression and how those forces affect more than the people who sit at her intersections as a queer woman of color.“ The support of the LGBTQ community has been beyond crucial in my career,” says Banoffee. “Finally, I feel seen. I feel welcomed without judgment and I feel like I’m a part of a movement that is progressing through kindness, not abrasion. I am honored to be a part of this community.”

[Source: Mikelle Street & Taylor Henderson, Advocate Magazine, April 2020
]

 

Advocate: Emerging Queer Artists Who Are Giving Us Life

Paper: Game-Changing LGBTQ Musicians

Pink News: Popular LGBTQ Singers

Billboard: Queering Mainstream Music

Next Generation of Queer Pop Music

 

 

 

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

Who Wants to Live Forever by Freddie Mercury & Queen

Jenny and Jill by Brett Dennen

Better This Way by Doug Strahm

Vroom Vroom Vroom by Jennifer Corday

Boys by Charli XCX

 

 

Fool by Alyson Stoner

Younger by Kevin McHale

Some Other Summer by Roxette

Love of My Life by Freddie Mercury & Queen

Chasing Rainbows by Big Freedia and Kesha

Secrets by Mary Lambert

Time by Steve Grand

This Was My House by Bright Light Bright Light

Don't Wait by Joey Graceffo

She Keeps Me Warm by Mary Lambert

Just Dance by Lady Gaga

You Need to Calm Down by Taylor Swift

Really Don't Care by Demi Lovato

Pynk by Janelle Monae

The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga

Like Me by Chely Wright

YMCA by Village People

Love Today by Mika

What I Need by Kayley Kiyoko and Kehlani

Philadelphia by Tori Amos

Born This Way by Lady Gaga on Grammys

Son of a Preacher Man by Tom Goss
 

 

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

Man I Feel Like a Woman by Shania Twain

I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry

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

I Used to Be Cool by Bright Light Bright Light

New Eyes by Adam Lambert

We Kiss in a Shadow

Me by Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie

Lover by Tom Goss

This is My Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Believe by Cher

Greatest Showman: This is Me

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

 

Queering Country Music

 

Ty Herndon: What Mattered Most (Alternative Version)

Ty Herndon: What Mattered Most (Original Version)

All American Boy by Steve Grand

Time by Steve Grand

Heartbeat by Jennifer Corday

Dancing in the Living Room by Cameron Hawthorn

So Small by Ty Herndon

Slow Down by Brandon Stansell and Ty Herndon

Hometown by Brandon Stansell

Son of a Preacher Man by Tom Goss

Neon Cross by Jamie Wyatt

Better This Way by Doug Strahm

Old Town Road by Lil Nas X
Karman Kregloe: Queer Country Rocker

Chely Wright's Return to the Grand Ole Opry

 

Queer Korean Music

 

Despite the vibrant K-Pop industry, South Korea isn’t the bastion of pride anthems that it’s colorful songs and music videos may suggest. Over half of South Korea’s population thought homosexuality was "unacceptable" in a 2014 Pew survey. It's a tough place to be gay. A product of its environment, K-Pop has a long way to go to be inclusive. Openly gay singers and LGBTQ-positive songs are rare.

 

But occasionally there are a few that have featured diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, either lyrically or visually. And some K-Pop musicians can be described as LGBTQ-friendly. And there are some K-Pop musicians who have expressed support for the LGBTQ community (including BTS and Mamamoo). But overall, when it comes to LGBTQ pride, for K-Pop fans, there’s not a whole lot to talk about. Due to immense cultural taboos, only a small number of South Korean entertainers have been open about their LGBTQ identity.

 

But things started changing in 2018 in a big way. After years with hardly any LGBTQ representation, we are beginning to see openly-LGBTQ artists breaking into the South Korean music scene. While there are only rumors regarding the members of such K-Pop groups as BTS (boy band) and Mamamoo (girl band), there are confirmed LGBTQ musicians that are out and proud.

 

 

Holland - Well-known as the media’s first openly gay K-Pop idol. He debuted in January 2018 and stated that he wanted to make his debut as a singer to speak up on his experiences with violent assaulters and victims stricken on sexual minorities. He originally debuted without an agency since many did not want to sign someone who would speak on sexual minorities, but has since signed to an agency.

Harisu - Transgender entertainer and singer. Born in 1975, she identified as female from early childhood and had sex reassignment surgery in the 1990s. She has been active since 2001 and is active in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Lady - First all-transgender group in South Korea. The group debuted in 2005 and had four members: Sinae, Sahara, Binu, and Yuna. The group’s main inspiration is from Harisu. Sadly, the group wasn’t able to be promoted well due to their music videos not being well received. The group disbanded in 2007.

Maman - First openly gay idol. Shortly after debuting, Maman came out as gay in an interview. Due to struggles with her recording company, she has been inactive since 2015.

 

Hanbit - Model, actress, and singer who debuted in 2016 under the girl group Mercury. With the support of her parents, Hanbit underwent male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in 2006. In an interview, she stated, "Living with a female body itself brought me the greatest feeling of euphoria."

Hansol - Came out as asexual and aromantic. He has since been vocal about his queer identity and how it feels to live as a queer man in South Korea. When talking about his sexuality, Hansol has stated that, "I’m not attracted to the opposite sex, but I’m also not attracted to the same sex. I never bothered to date and I hate sex very much."

D.I.P - Debuted in 2016, and members Seungho and B Nish are in a public relationship. The two announced they were dating and are very open about their sexuality. D.I.P’s leader is also LGBTQ. He is bisexual and has stated that he is attracted to both men and women.

Marshall Bang - Originally from Orange County, he traveled to Korea to become a K-Pop star. He has been openly gay since 2015 and debuted in 2018. Though his gay Korean friends told him it would be better to stay in the closet, he chose to come out as a way to be his true self.

 

[Source: Korea Boo, June 2019]

 

Korea Boo: Openly Queer K-Pop Idols
K-Pop Map: Artists Who Represent the LGBTQ Community in South Korea
Rolling Stone: BTS Breaking K-Pop Barriers and Taboos

Pop Asia: Most Popular K-Pop Idols Voted by LGBTQ Koreans

 

 

Popular LGBTQ Musicians

 

Melissa Etheridge

Amy Ray (Indigo Girls)

Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls)

KD Lang

Sam Smith

Janelle Monae

Elton John

Michael Stipe (REM)

Brandie Carlile

Queen Latifah

Jake Shears (Scissors Sisters)

Jakk Fynn

Leland

Doug Strahm (Country Music)

Young MA

Julien Baker

Tom Robinson

Meshell Ndegeocello

Rob Halford (Judas Priest)

Sylvester

Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco)

Jason Mraz

Bad Bunny

Billy Gilman

Todrick Hall

Trey Pearson (Christian Music)

Mario Jose

Ray Boltz

Mary Lambert

Angel Haze

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Da Brat (Rapper)

Queen Sateen

Ryan Beatty

Tash Sultana

Jamie Wyatt (Country Music)

 

 

Lil Nas X (Country Music Rapper)

Lucy Spraggin

Rugus Wainwright

Le1f

Azealia Banks

Mark Freehily (Westlife)

Tom Goss

Chely Wright (Country Music)

Laura Jane Grace

Mika

Kate Pierson (B52s)

Cindy Wilson (B52s)

Ricky Wilson (B52s)

Fred Schneider (B52s)

Keith Strickland(B52s)

Kim Petras

Mykki Blanco (Rapper)

Drake Jensen (Country Music)

Harisu (K-Pop)

Shea Diamond

Alyson Stoner

Ty Herndon (Country Music)

Tegan and Sara

MNEK

Holland (K-Pop)

Juliana Huxtable

Troye Sivan

Ben Platt

Jennifer Knapp (Christian Music)

Kelele

Freddie Mercury (Queen)

Sia

Meredith Graves (Punk Rocker)

Olly Alexander (Years & Years)

Adam Lambert

Zebra Katz (Rapper)

Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)

Little Richard

Kevin McHale

Bright Light Bright Light

 

 

Syd

Lauren Jauregui (Fifth Harmony)

Cakes Da Killa (Rapper)

Big Freedia (Hip Hop/Bounce)

Hayley Kiyoko

Domo Wilson (Hip Hop Artist)

Jennifer Corday (Country Music)

Kehlani

Lady Gaga

House of Ladosha

Kevin Abstract (Rapper)

Matt Fishel

Frank Ocean

Linda Perry (Four Non-Blondes)

Chris Willis

Lance Bass (N Sync)

Karman Kregloe

King Princess

Cameron Hawthorn (Country Music)

Rebecca Black

Boy George (Culture Club)

Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)

Ani DeFranco

George Michael (Wham)

Brandon Stansell (Country Music)

Village People

Jonathan Knight (News Kids on the Block)

Billy Preston

Janis Ian

Ricky Martin

Barry Manilow

Liberace

 

 

LGBTQ Music News

 

Chely Wright's Return to the Grand Ole Opry

Rolling Stone: Little Richard, Father of Rock n Roll, Dies at 87

Advocate: Emerging Queer Artists Who Are Giving Us Life

HRC: 2020 Pride Benefit Concert

Kim Petras Performs Icy at Streamy Awards

Little Mix: Support for the LGBTQ Community

LGBTQ Pride Anthems

Next Generation of Queer Pop Music

Lady Gaga Performs Elton John's Your Song

Rolling Stone: Essential LGBTQ Pride Songs

Wikipedia: LGBTQ Singers

Mic: 16 Big Time LGBTQ Musicians

Interview: Mary Lambert

Boy George and Culture Club: Career Overview

LGBTQ Anthem: Lady Gaga's Born This Way

Queer Music History 101

Next Generation of Queer Pop Music

Billboard: Pivotal LGBTQ Moments in Music

Interview: Troye Sivan

Top Gay Male Musicians

I Got You Babe by Cyndi Lauper and Adam Lambert

Ricky Martin: Lip Syncing Old Time Rock & Roll and Footloose

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
Interview: KD Lang

Lesbian Love Songs: Women Singing About Women

Library of Congress Honors Village People Gay Anthem YMCA

 

 

The Village People

 

Original Members...


Victor Willis (Cop/Admiral/Athlete)
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)

 

 

Disco Music

 

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

We Are Family by Sister Sledge

YMCA by The Village People

I'm Coming Out by Diana Ross

It's Raining Men by the Weather Girls

Ring My Bell by Anita Ward

Boogie Oogie Oogie by Taste of Honey

I Feel Love by Donna Summer

Knock on Wood by Amii Stewart

I'm Every Woman by Chaka Kahn

Last Dance by Donna Summer

Dancing Queen by Abba

I Want to Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston

Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Shake Your Groove Thing by Peaches & Herb

Do You Wanna Funk by Slyvester

I Love the Nightlife by Alicia Bridges

She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer

You Make Me Feel Mighty Real by Sylvester

That's the Way I Like It by KC & Sunshine Band

Celebration by Kool & The Gang

Get Down Tonight by KC & Sunshine Band

I'm So Excited by Pointer Sisters

If I Can't Have You by Yvonne Elliman


 

Musicians Who Are LGBTQ Allies
 

Madonna

Sarah McLaughlin

Cyndi Lauper

Carrie Underwood

Macklemore

Taylor Swift

Katy Perry

Jennifer Hudson

Bette Midler

Donna Summer

Flavia

Barbra Streisand

Pink

Dar Williams

Matt Nathanson

Cher

Sara Bareilles

Brandy Norwood

Jennifer Lopez

Jay-Z

Kylie Minogue

Diana Ross

Jessica Lowndes

Gloria Gaynor

Dan Reynolds

Dolly Parton

Garth Brooks

 

 

Other Media

 

Books/Publications

Magazines/Periodicals

Movies/Film

Television/Media

Arts/Entertainment


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QUEER CAFE │ LGBTQ Information Network │ Established 2017