In alphabetical order
This category is for LGBT+ community’s favourite music artists and looked for musicians who are either LGBT+, or who have proven to be strong advocates of the LGBT+ community.
Brit Awards breakthrough artist Arlo Parks rose to fame through her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams, which received outstanding critical acclaim and won the Mercury Music Prize in 2021. Despite being only 21, the singer has been outspoken about Black Lives Matter and her own sexuality and is already a prominent role model. Most recently, the artist shared her new relationship with American singer Ashnikko.
Singer-songwriter and YouTube personality Dodie released their debut studio album Build a Problem after a successful series of singles and EPs, many of which discussed their sexuality and identity. In May 2016, Dodie used their musical prowess to come out to their audience in a song entitled “I’m bisexual – a coming out song.”
Singer, songwriter and model Dua Lipa has told Instagram followers that her track Swan Song, which is on the soundtrack to the movie Alita: Battle Angel, was inspired by LGBT+ advocacy group ACT UP and its work with people with Aids. She also supported the community with her video Blow Your Mind and was moved to tears when fans at her concert in China were removed by the police for waving rainbow flags. Dua Lipa hopes to use her music in bringing strength, hope and unity to people from all walks of life. Speaking to Billboard she said: “I believe in equality and everyone having the same opportunities and there being a lot more acceptance in the world.”
A Grammy-nominated music artist and dancer, Kehlani’s career first began when they were just 14! No stranger to the spotlight, they have spoken honestly about the evolving definition of their identity as a lesbian, and their gender identity. Kehlani has additionally been open about their experiences, mental health and how they have overcome difficulties.
British rapper Lady Leshurr is a proudly pansexual woman, coming out in 2018, stating that she “doesn’t have anything to hide anymore”. Leshurr, who first rose to prominence through her ‘Queen’s Speech’ series of viral freestyles, has stated that she first learnt the word of her identity – pansexual – through fellow musician Kehlani. She has also spoken about those in the music industry who tried to convince her to remain quiet about her sexuality.
Lil Nas X
From his first single onwards, Old Town Road, Lil Nas X has been a feature in the Top 100 charts around the globe. During the press tour for the global hit, Lil Nas X came out as gay, the first person to have done so while at the top of the charts. He was also the first LGBT+ artist to win a Country Music Association award. Over the past two years Lil Nas X has taken on a leading role in our community and it is no mystery as to why. He took the internet by storm with his unapologetic anthem Montero (Call My By Your Name), which was applauded by the community, and immediately shot to the top of the US charts’ Hot 100.
Spraggan began her public career through The X Factor, where she quickly made a name for herself via her comedic and relatable songs, including Last Night. Spraggan came out at 14 and her very public rise to fame has been coupled with her activism and vocal support for fellow LGBT+ people, recently giving university talks regarding her experience as a lesbian.
British singer-songwriter Sam Smith is a familiar face to many both within the LGBT+ community and in wider pop culture. As winner of not only the Best New Artist Award, but also the Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 2015 Grammys, Sam is a highly decorated and well-regarded musician. Throughout their presence in the limelight, they have been open about their sexuality, and took the step in 2019 to come out as non-binary. Sam opened up about this, stating “I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out.”
The one and only Steps first made their name in the 1990s and have released seven studio albums and 27 singles of sharp dance-pop, with many early performances at Soho’s famed LGBT+ nightclub G-A-Y. The group took an extended break in 2001, then delighted fans by reforming 16 years later, releasing a wave of new music and going on their What the Future Holds Pt. 2 tour. Member Ian ‘H’ Watkins opened up about his sexuality in 2007 but emphasised the support he had received from fellow band members, stating in a PinkNews interview that, “I felt massive pressure to keep my sexuality a secret but I was not alone.” Now the group have become not only British pop culture legends, but true advocates for the LGBT+ community.
Will Young first appeared on our screens through the inaugural series of Pop Idol, with his subsequent debut single, ‘Anything Is Possible/Evergreen’ becoming the fastest-selling debut single in the UK at the time. Since then, Young has released a series of highly successful albums, with his most recent release Crying On the Bathroom Floor reaching acclaim for its reimagining of popular female-vocal singles. Will has been a longstanding ambassador for The Mood Foundation, The Prince’s Trust and Catch22. In 2020, Young released his latest book, To Be A Gay Man in which he addresses the rampant homophobia he experienced in his rise to fame.