In a world where being LGBTQ+ isn’t always accepted, safe or at all comfortable, having people to look up to is so important for those needing encouragement, guidance, and hope for the future. Many LGBTQ+ identifying musicians utilise their platform to discuss and advocate for issues surrounding gender and sexuality. These individuals have become integral in the self-acceptance journey of so many young people finding their identity within the gender and sexual identity spectrums. And that is friggen cool.
In light of it being Pride month, we wanted to celebrate a bunch of really awesome LGBTQ+ musicians. It is 20gayteen after all.
Lynn Gunn of PVRIS
Lynn Gunnulfsen of PVRIS has been openly gay since the inception of the band. Though initially hesitant to express her sexuality, she has become an LGBTQ+ icon within the music scene. She has rarely made her sexuality the centre of discussion, however often uses the pronoun “you” in her songwriting in place of gendered pronouns. She recently did an interview with Playboy, opening up about her sexuality and gender identity. In an Instagram caption announcing the collaboration, Lynn stated:
“Some days I feel more like a genderless elf than a woman. My body and my energy has always danced between masculine and feminine. What makes me feel sexy is steering neither female nor male, it is meeting in the middle somewhere.”
Hayley Kiyoko, a Lesbian Japanese-American synth pop singer, is most certainly an outlier – but that only seems to have strengthened her ability to be a shining light for young people questioning their sexuality. Much of her lyrical content is derived from her experiences growing up as a closeted lesbian, and her struggle on the road to self-acceptance and comfortability with herself.
Lovingly referred to as “Lesbian Jesus” by her fans, she is paving the way for other LGBTQ+ individuals who too will create art that fights against the overwhelming amount of heteronormativity that is put in our faces every day.
In an interview with Paper Magazine, Kiyoko said “My music reassures them that they aren’t alone — that their feelings are valid, that they are enough and they will find someone to love them back”.
Laura Jane Grace
Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace publicly came out as transgender in 2012, having already been performing in Against Me! for 15 years prior. Having privately began her move toward fully becoming her true self, she then had to continue transitioning in front of the world. She continues to be outspoken about her struggles with gender dysphoria, which she says she has suffered all her life. Grace continues to do interviews, podcasts and last year released a book, titled Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout. Her advocacy within the music industry is invaluable for the transgender community.
A force to be reckoned with in the pop world, Kehlani is open about her sexuality, having had public relationships with men and women. As a bisexual woman of colour, she is a much needed and very welcomed icon for young people looking for their sexuality to be normalised and openly discussed in the media. Kehlani spreads the message of self-love and the acceptance of all those around you.
After his coming out video went viral online in 2013, sweet angel Troye Sivan began his ascent to becoming a worldwide LGBTQ+ icon.
His music videos frequently feature LGBTQ+ characters, stating in an interview “I realised the importance really early on. Being a gay guy myself, I have such vivid memories of the few times I saw any type of LGBTQ relationship on TV or in music videos”.
On the continued discussion around his sexuality, he said: “As long as people are asking me about my sexuality I think that in itself is a sign we probably need to keep talking about it still. It’s not blase enough that people aren’t bringing it up”.
Halsey has been vocal about her bisexuality and passion for LGBTQ+ rights since she began making music. She strongly advocates for these issues, both on stage, in the media and online. She also champions the women’s rights movement and Black Lives Matter, using her platform to do an incredible amount of educating and raising awareness.
Bad At Love and Strangers are two songs from her 2017 release hopeless fountain kingdom are two examples of her use of female pronouns in her music. Even early on, her first music video for song Ghost featured Halsey kissing another girl. She will undoubtedly continue to discuss sexuality and personal exploration in her music, setting an encouraging example for fans experiencing similar things.
Lauren Jauregui came out as bisexual in an open letter to Donald Trump in 2016. Since then, she has not stayed quiet about her part in and passion for the LGBTQ+ community. She also featured on the track ‘Strangers‘ by Halsey; originally written with heterosexual pronouns in mind, the two women chose to change them to female-centric pronouns to better fit their own sexualities.
Happy Pride Month to each and every LGBTQ+ person reading this.
We love you so much, and will constantly strive to make the music a more safe and accepting place for you.