Shout outs to all my LGBTIQA+ brothers, sisters and non – binary rockstars! Pride month is a time for celebration, activism and donating money to LGBTIQA+ organisations doing great work in the community. To that point, I will have some links at the end of the post you can use to donate some cold hard cash. However, this is a music site, so let’s look at some amazing music from LGBTIQA+ artists.
Lil Nas X: Montero (Call me by Your Name)
It is an amazing song that garnered a Grammy nomination. This track and record is about Lil Nas X being proud of his identity and celebrating love, sex and lust. It is an amazingly sexy record and takes Lil Nas X from a possible one hit wonder to an artist with a bright future ahead of him. This is a slick drug fuelled sex song with a touch of darkness, which makes it intoxicating.
Ani DiFranco: Little Plastic Castle
This is probably the biggest breakthrough hit for this feminist / LGBTIQA+ activist. Ani was an icon of 90s indie music with her label Righteous Babe Records, which is still going now, and her don’t give a fuck punk attitude. Little Plastic Castle is a wonderful example of how she makes a statement that forces people to evaluate themselves. To sing about LGBTIQA+ prejudice and hate within a banging pop track in the 90s is bold. Ani has always been an inspiration in my life and her bravery / artistry is amazing.
Antony and the Johnsons: Hope There’s Someone
This band is really a vehicle to showcase Anohni’s other worldly voice. She was a pioneering trans voice in music in the early 2000s and continues to put out music. The richness and fragility of her voice works well in this heartbreaking track about loneliness, connection, mortality and fear. Like everyone, Anohni fears that no one will be there to hold her when she is near the end of her life. It is truly a beautiful and crushing song, but also one that really showcases her voice.
Courtney Barnett: Avant Gardener
Courtney has fought through a traditionally male dominated genre of guitar led indie rock with ferocity and poetry. She bangs on the guitar like she is giving it the Heimlich Maneuver and captures everyday occurrences with unparalleled wit. She has moved to more feminist themes about violence towards women and destructive masculinity. An amazing woman who continues to tell stories through her music.
Janelle Monáe: Make me Feel
Many people see Make me Feel as a bisexual / pansexual anthem. Janelle stated in an interview that she identifies with the following pronouns: “they / them, she / her and free-ass motherfucker.” You have to love that. Well, this free-ass motherfucker put together a sexy funk track about loving yourself, embracing your true identity and expressing that with others. It is a very liberating track that spoke to millions of people. Free-ass motherfucker is right.
Frank Ocean: Solo
Much like Lil Nas X, Frank Ocean’s blond is a unbridled expression of his sexuality, drug use and identity. Solo sings about sex, drugs and the how he can find both pain / pleasure in connection. In his words “There’s hell in heaven.” Frank Ocean came out at a time where there were not many African – American R&B singers who were openly out, which some say took an emotional toll on the singer. However, thanks to Ocean singers like Lil Nas X can express themselves with more support. Lil Nas X identifies Frank Ocean as an inspiration and this track underlines Ocean’s bravery and amazing voice.
Queen ft. David Bowie: Under Pressure
Unfortunately, Freddie Mercury’s impact for LGBTIQA+ artists largely happened after his death from AIDS in 1991. He kept his sexuality private from the public for his entire career and kept his partner Jim Hutton away form the public eye. May musicians and bandmates stated that they always knew Freddie’s sexuality; however, he could never enjoy the freedom of being open in public. His flamboyant and theatrical stage presence is iconic and unparalleled. Even though he passed away long before his time, Mercury’s impact on music will be felt forever.
Elton John: Tiny Dancer
For me, Madman Across the Water is Elton’s best record with Tiny Dancer being one of the best songs ever recorded. Elton’s flamboyant stage presence with out of this world outfits and uncompromising stage energy was a celebration of identity, music and humanity. He has spearheaded AIDS research as part of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and has led charitable movement for LGBTIQA+ people in Africa and other nations across the world. Plus, this track is fire.
Indigo Girls: Closer to Fine
Amy and Emily of the Indigo Girls have been icons of folk music and LGBTIQA+ rights. Their activism has only been matched by their musical talent. Their folk / indie vibe helped inspire the Lilith Fair movement in the late 90s, which brought women singer / songwriters to the forefront of music. Artists like Taylor Swift with her latest records and even Justin Vernon owe a lot to how the Indigo Girls brought folk into the mainstream.
Thanks for having a listen. Now, go give some money to these charities…or better yet…go find a local LGBTIQA+ charity and give them your money. I mean…it’s only money…and you have some laying around. After you donate, go buy yourself a cigar to celebrate Pride month and celebrate giving money to a great cause.