20 Queer Musicians You Should Know

By Abigail Silvis

 

+ representation in pop culture can be comforting and empowering to people who see someone in the spotlight who’s just like them. Whether these artists discuss LGBTQ+ topics in their lyrics, advocate or just share their identities with the public, they’re helping out the community. Take a look at these 20 singers who are queer icons.

  • Nonbinary
    •  Earlier this month, Sam Smith, who identifies as non-binary, changed their pronouns to they/them. Unfortunately, they’ve faced some backlash after publicly announcing this change on social media. But the good news is that based on their recent Instagram pictures, they seem to be thriving!
  •   Bisexual
    •  Halsey has identified herself as bisexual, biracial and bipolar. What a bi queen! On her most recent album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Halsey explicitly sang about women romantically for the first time in “Bad at Love” and “Strangers.” Her next album, Manic, comes out in January. Will it feature more songs about women? Only time will tell.
    • Known in part for his gender-nonconforming fashion choices, David Bowie first came out as gay in 1972. Later, in 1976, he said, “It’s true — I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well.”
    • Freddie Mercury preferred to keep his romantic life to himself, so he never officially came out as bisexual. But the film Bohemian Rhapsody featured him dating both women and men, which suggests that this was an accurate account of his life. Whether he identified as gay or bi, he “never compromised his appearance, his music or his behavior to appeal to a mainstream heteronormative audience,” Billboard says.
    •  Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong came out as bisexual in 1994. During a different interview, he addressed the punk scene’s roots in the LGBTQ+ community, saying “Punk rock has been rather queer since the beginning.”
    • Back in 2009, Fergie confirmed her bisexual identity. She said in an amusingly straightforward interview that she “thinks women are beautiful,” and that she “love[s] a well-endowed man.”
    • Jason Mraz has said that he has had romantic experiences with both men and women, but he wasn’t sure how to identify. His wife described it as being “Two Spirit,” an identification sometimes used by indigenous people.

By Alyssa Maziarz

  •   Pansexual
    •  Miley Cyrus came out as both pansexual and gender-fluid a few years ago. Her sexuality has once again been at the forefront of conversation, as she recently went through a divorce with Liam Hemsworth and was then photographed with Kaitlynn Carter, whom she was rumored to be dating.
    • Panic! at the Disco singer Brendon Urie was long considered an LGBTQ+ icon even before he came out. He often danced with fans’ pride flags on stage, and fans often credited him with giving them the courage to come out. Last year, he came out as pansexual.
    • Janelle Monae first came out as bisexual, but has since said she identifies more with a pansexual identity. “I’m open to learning more about who I am,” she said.

 

By Abigail Silvis

  •   Gay
    •  Elton John, who often wore dazzling outfits during his on-stage performances, came out as bisexual in 1976, quickly becoming a key figure in queer representation. He later came out as gay in 1992.
    • Troye Sivan has been singing about men and his identity for years, including his emotional track “HEAVEN” on Blue Neighbourhood. He first came out as gay in one of his Youtube videos in 2013.
    • Tyler Glenn, the lead singer of Neon Trees, discussed his struggles with coming out and religion in a 2014 interview. You can hear more of his thoughts on the Neon Tree’s 2014 album Pop Psychology.
  •  Lesbian
    • Dubbed “Lesbian Jesus” by many of her fans, Hayley Kiyoko has been releasing clearly queer music since “Girls Like Girls” was released in 2015. Now, she focuses a lot of her attention on normalizing queer identities through her music and videos.
    • King Princess, known for her queer hits “1950” and “Talia,” strives to make queer art like that which she grew up on. She identifies as a genderqueer lesbian.
  • Queer
    •  “Chandelier” singer Sia came out as queer in 2013 on Twitter.
    •  Kehlani came out on Twitter last year by stating she is attracted to “women, men, REALLY attracted to queer men, non binary people, intersex people, trans people. lil poly pansexual papi hello good morning.” She explained in later tweets she finds queer to be the most accurate label for her sexuality, because she “really jus be walking around thinking ERRYBODY FINE.”
  • Trans
    •  Kim Petras is a rising star who identifies as transgender. However, she prefers that fans focus on her music instead of her identity.
    •  Singer Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! hopes to connect to her fans through their shared experiences and identities. And she’s loud about it, too. A few years ago, she “burned her birth certificate on stage to protest transgender discrimination.”
  •  Asexual
    • Mike Skinner, the lead singer of The Streets, identifies as asexual. He has been happily married since 2010.

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