LGBT+ Music in the 21st Century
While we may not have even lived through a quarter of the 21st Century yet, the two decades that have passed have brought us an incredible range of LGBT+ artists from across the globe. Shifting political and social attitudes the to LGBT+ community have provided a broader space for LGBT+ performers to express themselves, artists able to come out safely as LGBT+ or an ally to our communities. Social media platforms such as MySpace, TikTok and YouTube have helped artists grow their audiences, allowing artists to connect globally with their fanbase.
In the early part of the century, attitudes to LGBT+ artists were still occasionally rather hostile. Will Young came out in 2002 after winning Pop Idol, partly to pre-empt a tabloid backlash. Russian girl group Tatu caused controversy across the globe with the music video to their hit 'All The Things She Said', but was later disregarded as a gimmick. Less of a gimmick were the intentionally outrageous and wildly successful Scissor Sisters, whose camp disco was taken seriously after successful LGBT songs such as 'Take Your Mama' (2004).
The Scissor Sisters seemed tame however to the flamboyant performances of Lady Gaga, whose 2011 hit 'Born This Way' became a Pride anthem across the globe. Major pop stars embraced LGBT+ culture through their music videos such as Katy Perry (whose video for 'Firework' included a same-sex kiss), while others came out publicly as bi, pan and non-binary, such as Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monae and Sam Smith. Widespread appeal across the world helped some of these minority identities gain news coverage and general awareness following artists announcing their sexuality or gender.
The 21st Century has also been a key period in music history for artists to proudly declare their support for the LGBT+ community. Matt Healy (The 1975), Ed Sheeran, Charli XCX, Harry Styles and Justin Bieber have all expressed themselves as allies to the community, with many contributing to LGBT+ charities and appearing at Pride events. Alongside openly-gay acts such as Years & Years, Tegan & Sara and MNEK, this century proves to be the most welcoming yet for the LGBT+ community.
LGBT+ Hits of the 21st Century
Mel C & Lisa 'LeftEye' Lopez - Never Be The Same Again (2000)
Kylie - Can't Get You Out of My Head (2001)
Tatu - All The Things She Said (2003)
Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mama (2004)
The Shapeshifters - Lola's Theme (2004)
The Killers - Somebody Told Me (2004)
Heather Small - Proud (2005)
Madonna - Hung Up (2005)
Gossip - Standing In The Way of Control (2006)
Infernal - From Paris To Berlin (2006)
Robyn - With Every Heartbeat (2007)
La Roux - Bulletproof (2009)
P!nk - Raise Your Glass (2010)
Robyn - Dancing On My Own (2010)
Lady Gaga - Born This Way (2011)
Tegan & Sara - Closer (2013)
Panic! At The Disco - Girls/Boys/Boys (2013)
Sam Smith - Lay Me Down (2014)
Years & Years - King (2015)
Lizzo - Good As Hell (2016)
Keala Settle - This Is Me (2017)
Taylor Swift - You Need To Calm Down (2019)
Taylor Swift - Betty (2020)
Dua Lipa - Physical (2020)
Elton John & Years & Years - It's A Sin (2021)