Alternative Pride: LGBT+ Music
For allies, LGBT+ Pride Month is all about supporting and learning about the LGBT+ community. There are many ways you can educate yourself on LGBT+ topics, and that includes consuming media like TV shows, podcasts, books and even music. However, when looking for media with LGBT+ themes and representation, it’s easy to come across the same few suggestions over and over.
There are certainly reasons that artists like Sam Smith, Hayley Kiyoko and RuPaul are so often raised. Namely, they have managed to bring LGBT+ music into the mainstream, providing much-needed exposure.
However, if you’re looking for new LGBT+ artists or those making music in other genres, mainstream artists like these may not be what you’re after. In addition, there are many less popular, LGBT+ artists that need support. That’s why we’re here to talk about alternative LGBT+ music choices (see what we did there?) this Pride Month.
LGBT+ rock icons
Let’s start with some classics. You may or may not be surprised to hear that there are plenty of huge, LGBT+ rock icons. If you’re looking for big names who also happen to be in the LGBT+ community, these artists might be for you.
One of the most obvious names in this category is Freddie Mercury of Queen, who is understood to have been either bisexual or gay. Another is David Bowie, whose sexuality has also been up for debate over the years. In contrast, Elton John, the rock icon also known as ‘Rocket Man’, is openly gay.
In terms of female rock icons, Janis Joplin was also part of the LGBT+ community according to her former female lovers. A more recent female, LGBT+ icon in rock is Lzzy Hale, lead singer of rock band Halestorm, who is bisexual.
In terms of metal icons, the lead singer of metal band Judas Priest is also part of the LGBT+ community. Rob Halford came out as gay in the ‘90s and is considered the most prominent gay figure in the metal genre.
LGBT+ metal musicians
Speaking of metal, let’s talk about some more LGBT+ artists within the genre. While Rob Halford is the biggest name when it comes to gay, metal artists, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other LGBT+ musicians you can listen to.
For one, Norwegian vocalist and frontman of black metal band Gorgoroth, Gaahl, is also openly gay. Metal fans might also be interested in guitarist Cameron Boggs, formerly leader of death metal band Sanguisugabogg. Boggs recently referred to themselves as a ‘queer nonbinary homie’.
Something that is still largely missing from the mainstream is LGBT+ bands. A classic, though only rumoured, example of an LGBT+ band is the Runaways. Ex-member of the all-female rock band responsible for huge hit ‘Cherry Bomb’ Lita Ford claimed that ‘the girls were all gay in the band’.
Another LGBT+ band is Tegan and Sara, a musical duo formed of identical twin sisters (you guessed it) Tegan and Sara. Their music has been described as anything between indie rock and synthpop, and the sisters are both lesbians.
If you’re looking for a band with a heavier sound, you may like Limp Wrist. This straight edge, punk rock band is openly gay and part of the queercore punk subculture. In addition, the lyrics of their songs largely focus on being gay.
LGBT+ punk singers
There are actually many LGBT+ artists in the punk and pop punk scenes. When it comes to the pop punk subgenre, Green Day is one of the first names that comes to mind. And it just so happens that the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and lead guitarist of the band, Billie Joe Armstrong, is bisexual.
A newer name to pop punk, and music as a whole, is NOAHFINNCE. This artist, whose real name is Noah Finn Adams, also has a popular YouTube channel where he makes educational videos about his experiences as a trans man.
Speaking of trans artists, Connie Sgarbossa is a trans woman making music on the heavier side of punk. Connie is the founder and vocalist of SeeYouSpaceCowboy, a hardcore punk band that, more specifically, produces sasscore, metalcore music. And Connie is only one of many trans women in punk.
A bisexual artist in pop punk is Willow Smith, also known as WILLOW. She began her music career with R&B-hip hop song ‘Whip My Hair’. However, she has since released experimental pop and psychedelic folk music and, more recently, has moved into the pop-punk genre.
LGBT+ artists of other genres
The music of the last couple alternative LGBT+ musicians we’d like to talk about today still has rock elements. However, they also combine components of other music genres into the songs they produce.
First up is T.J. Osborne of country-rock duo Brothers Osborne, formed by T.J. and his brother John. Last year, T.J. decided to come out as gay, which made him the first ever openly gay artist signed to a major country music label.
PVRIS is a pop rock act formed by multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer Lynn Gunn. Her music explores many genres, including electropop, synthpop and post-hardcore. Lynn is also openly gay.
Celebrate Pride alternatively
While LGBT+ artists are finally breaking through into the mainstream, those in all genres need to be championed. This LGBT+ Pride Month, support alternative LGBT+ music artists by having a listen to a few of the acts in this blog.
Flesh Music Festival were sick of seeing ‘the same lineups at music festivals’ and decided to create their own. Last month, they held the first ever, queer, camping music festival, which had a 100% underrepresented artist lineup. Supporting events like this is another great way for you to discover and champion smaller, LGBT+ artists.
If you find a new artist you love, don’t forget about them at the end of Pride Month. A growing number of individuals and businesses are recognising LGBT+ Pride Month, but not supporting LGBT+ people in the long term. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to make Colourful Commitments to supporting the LGBT+ community all year this Pride.