This week’s spin: LGBTQ stars of the music industry

By: Timothy Coffman, Columnist
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In honor of Pride Week, the time has come to talk about those in the music industry who have identified themselves as members of the LGBTQ community. Many of these artists broke boundaries during their time in the spotlight by creating incredible music and garnering the respect of their peers regardless of the social norms of the time.

  1. Tegan and Sara – This twin-sister duo started out as an acoustic alternative rock outfit before branching out into pop songwriting. As they have evolved over their decade-long career, they have become two of the most revered writers because of their incredible knack for creating stellar vocal melodies. You can hear some of their best work in the song “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie soundtrack.
  2. Freddie Mercury– In a time when identifying as homosexual was cause for exile, Mercury wore his heart on his sleeve and became one of the most captivating frontmen ever to grace a stage. With his band Queen, Mercury was able to bring people together through his sheer talent and bravado, which is perfectly showcased in their performance at Live Aid in 1985.
  3. Billie Joe Armstrong – Punk rock is known to have a somewhat stubborn fanbase who can be very set in their ways. Amid the explosion of pop punk music in the 90s, Green Day came out with the album Dookie, featuring the song “Coming Clean.” The song details Armstrong’s confusion and anxiety as he came to grips with his bisexuality. As a result, Armstrong became relatable to teenagers around the world, which has led to his band Green Day being one of the most successful acts going to this day.
  4. Laura Jane Grace – When the punk band Against Me! first started, no one expected the potential of this group. When frontwoman Laura Jane Grace came out as a transgender woman in 2012, she put all her energy into her music with the spellbinding record Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which is a heart-wrenching ride through what it’s like to be a transgender woman in the modern day. This album is a benchmark in punk history and one that will resonate for years to come.
  5. Janelle Monáe – While she has reinvented herself as an Oscar nominated actress, Monae’s career started as one of the best R&B singers of the 2010s. Monae identifies with both bisexuality and pansexuality and shows strong support for the LGBTQ community. Her latest record Dirty Computer was a daring look into how we approach the idea of intimacy in the modern day while also being a rally against the political discourse surrounding gay rights. All of this is done while still making some of the greatest dance tracks that the music world has heard in quite some time.

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