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


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. Previous decades of music that included groundbreaking pioneers like David Bowie, the Village People, George Michael, Joan Jett, Elton John, and Freddie Mercury have given way to today's young, openly gay musicians like Le1f, Troye Sivan, 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 Americans, as when openly-gay artist Adam Lambert topped the 2012 Billboard 200 chart.



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

Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Burning by Sam Smith

Stranger in This World by Boy George

Make You Happy by Mika

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

Neverland by Korean Pop Star Holland


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, 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 alsdo 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 Csarlile, Adam Lambert, Sam Sparro, Billy Gilman, tATu, Kent James, Dawnstar, and Troye Sivan.


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

Like Me by Chely Wright

Aftermath by Adam Lambert

True Colors by LA Gay Men's Chorus

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

When She Loved Me by Sarah McLachlan
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.


Current popular LGBTQ musicians include Angel Haze, Shamir, Who is Fancy, Perfume Genius, Double Duchess, Lowell, Against Me, Kindness, Joshua Thomas, Years & Years, Hurray for Riff Raff, Hayley Kiyoko, Boytoy, Kehlani, Sizzy Rocket, and Janelle Monare.  



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

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

Single White Female by Chely Wright

Who Wants to Live Forever by Freddie Mercury & Queen



Some Other Summer by Roxette

Love of My Life by Freddie Mercury & Queen

Secrets by Mary Lambert

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

Goodbye England's Rose (Tribute to Princess Diana) by Elton John

Love Today by Mika

Philadelphia by Tori Amos



We Are Golden by Mika

I Just Want to Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson
Him (Lyrics) by Sam Smith

I Like That by Janelle Monae

You're a Firework by Katy Perry

Dare to Love by Sean Chapin

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

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



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


Ray Boltz

Mary Lambert

Chely Wright (Country Music Star)

Rugus Wainwright

Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)


Azealia Banks


Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson (B52s)

Ricky Wilson, Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland (B52s)



Troye Sivan

Jennifer Knapp (Christian Music Star)

Freddie Mercury (Queen)


Olly Alexander (Years & Years)

Adam Lambert

Cameron Hawthorn (Country Music Star)

Hayley Kiyoko


Brandon Stansell (Country Music Star)

Lady Gaga

Frank Ocean

Boy George (Culture Club)

Lance Bass (N Sync)

Chris Willis

Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)

Ani DeFranco

George Michael (Wham)

Billy Preston

Janis Ian

Ricky Martin

Barry Manilow




Wikipedia: LGBTQ Singers

Mic: 16 Big Time LGBTQ Musicians

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

B52s Update: 30 Years After Love Shack

Queerness: 20 Queer Songs You Should Know


Musicians Who Are LGBTQ Allies


Sarah McLaughlin

Cyndi Lauper

Carrie Underwood


Taylor Swift

Katy Perry

Dan Reynolds (Imagine Dragons)

Dar Williams

Matt Nathanson


Kylie Minogue

Donna Summer

Diana Ross

Jessica Lowndes

Gloria Gaynor


Other Media









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