June is officially pride month. A time where the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual) community celebrates their freedom to feel and love as they choose. It is a time when the gender and sexual equality movement is applauded. And to join in on the festivities, we have decided to compile a list of our favorite ten songs from artists that identify as being something other than straight.
This list includes songs from old and new artists, but all of them alive. (Side note: we did not forget about George Michael, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, etc.) We simply decided to include those that are still making music magic in this playlist. And, they are not in any particular order.
‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ by Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin was the outstanding member of Latin boy band Menudo back in the late 90’s – always garnering the attention of his female audience. However, speculation of his sexual orientation was rampant for most of the 2000’s until he decided to come out in 2010 saying, ‘These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.’
‘King’ by Years and Years
Years and Years is breakthrough British band that has been climbing the charts in the past few years. Frontman Olly Alexander is gay, and has used his voice to inspire others and speak up on gay rights. He has talked about the struggle of being gay in the music industry, but they sure have overcome it. Fans all over the world adore them with songs like ‘King’ and ‘Desire’ breaking records worldwide. Alexander was told by his media trainer to stay in the closet for the sake of the band back when he was 15 years-old, but he just ignored it.
‘Same Love’ by Mary Lambert (featured)
The song ‘Same Love’ was one of the many hits that helped Macklemore & Ryan Lewis rise to fame. However, the lady behind those incredible vocals in the chorus is Mary Lambert. She is a lesbian and had a difficult childhood in a Christian household. But now with the success of her feature on that song as well as her solo career, she has been a great role model for those needing the strength to be open about their sexuality.
‘Whataya Want From Me’ by Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert ended up being in second place on season eight of American Idol. He came out during a Rolling Stone interview that aired shortly after the singing competition wrapped up – even though he was never ‘in,’ he says he chose to avoid the topic and focus on Idol. His queer-influenced, sexually charged performance at the American Music Awards in 2009 caused a lot of backlash. However, he stood by it and continued being another great vocalist in the music scene. Lambert has had great success and in the last few years toured all over the world as frontman of the legendary band Queen.
‘Closer’ by Tegan and Sara
Canadian twin sisters Tegan and Sara are both lesbians. Their parents thought it was a phase, but that would soon be concluded to be anything but. Despite their sexuality, they have managed to stay as a vital act of the indie pop-rock scene for over 20 years. Back then during their inception, they weren’t to keen on speaking about their sexuality. However in a recent interview Sara said, ‘But now it’s such a nice time to talk about our identity and how that parallels with the change happening in music and internationally and legislatively. There’s a lot of interesting elements to our identity and how that intersects with what what’s happening. It’s a nice change.’
‘Your Song’ by Elton John
One of the greatest love songs of all time comes to fruition from one of the greatest artists of all time in Elton John. He never has hidden his exotic self, but being in the business so long he has definitely seen the difference in times. During an interview with Rolling Stone in 1976, John revealed that he was gay. It caused an uproar back then, and his career suffer a bit. The magazine recently called it one of the boldest career moves in music history. But with the change of times, John maintains his place at the top and an icon in pop music.
‘West End Girls’ by Pet Shop Boys
The English duo, Pet Shop Boys, are openly gay. And, their music has been pivotal in the gay rights movement since their debut back in the late 1980’s. More specifically, their hit single ‘West End Girls’ premiered on MTV right around the time when homophobia ran rampant in the United States during the AIDS crisis. Their lyrics were so equivocal, and at times sexually questioning – but the music was so good, that the public received it well. It became their biggest song of all time.
‘My My My’ by Troye Sivan
Troye Sivan is the youngest artist in this list. The Australian singer has recently come to prominence via his catchy hooks and lyrically-genius love bangers. At 21 years-old, he has released one of our favorite songs right now in ‘My My My.’ But, his story starts with a musical career and a tie to coming out. He did what a lot of young, famous LGBT people do and posted a well-received video on his YouTube channel. In it, he said, ‘This is not something that I’m ashamed of and it’s not something that anyone should have to be ashamed of.’
‘To Good At Goodbyes’ by Sam Smith
Sam Smith has spoken about his personal preferences plenty ever since his rise to fame in 2012. He has mentioned how his sexually and gender fluid. ‘I feel just as much woman as I am man,’ he said not to long ago. Smith has also done incredibly well as an LGBT artist, catapulting into a career like some of the biggest pop stars in the world. When asked what was hard about coming out, he said, ‘Looking back on it, it was the fear of saying the wrong thing and offending.’ That is one of the many emotions and thoughts that cross the minds of those wanting to express who they are. It’s part of that phase. Like previously mentioned, he is also gender fluid. In fact, he said, ‘There was one moment in my life where I didn’t own a piece of male clothing, really. I would wear full make-up every day in school, eyelashes, leggings with Dr Martens and huge fur coats, for 2.5 years.”
‘All The Things She Said’ by t.A.T.u.
There’s a lot to be said about Russian female duo, t.A.T.u., due to the many claims and controversial stories that have come out about the two singers. But whether they were faking their sexuality or not, there is no doubt that their worldwide pop hit single ‘All The Things She Said’ did a lot for the LGBT community. For those growing up in the early 2000’s, this song helped them go through a lot of those tough times. Plus, that iconic kiss in the rain that caused an uproar cemented the idea of being sexually implicit in the music world with someone of the same sex.