10 music videos that represent homosexuality in all its glory
Music videos, for many, served as a creative escape; an art form that allows an audience to absorb creative visuals from their favorite song or album. Over the years, LGBTQ+ listeners have turned to instant classics. From Britney Spears’ Toxic to Beyonce’s Single Ladies, we’ve eagerly clung to an art form they have an affinity with. The Millennial generation, often white cis gay men, found solace in P!nk, Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson delivering lyrics that reinforced their homosexuality.
That’s not to say that LGBTQ+ artists didn’t exist or that their artist wasn’t valued. The mark left by Freddie Mercury and David Bowie can only be reinvented. The opening sequence of I Want To Break Free has been parodied, imitated and paid tribute to many times. Bowie’s DJ and Boys Keep Swinging were also peppered with hints of the singer’s fluid identity. The singer’s queer persona, often described as an alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, took the nation by storm. Likewise, artists such as George Michael, Boy George, and Pet Shop Boys have left their mark on the music world, especially in videos. From gender-defying drag outfits to music inspired by the gay dance club scene, these musicians have redefined mainstream music.
However, sometimes there has been a kind of creative dissonance when it comes to finding artists that we could really see ourselves in. Past generations of creatives still serve as icons for young listeners and remain relevant today, but, now, a new era of artists (alongside the iconic past) are recreating visibility in new ways. GAY TIMES has selected 10 of our favorite music videos that shaped the modern image of queer music. These videos (and artists) are unabashed in their art and that’s how it should be. So, from Raveena to Hayley Kiyoko, you can check out our list of groundbreaking LGBTQ+ artists below.
MUNA – Chiffon
An addictive modern day hit, Silk Chiffon is the queer pop earworm that not everyone has been able to shake. This new music video picks up the cult film But I’m A Cheerleader (1999) which sees the band parody its plot inspired by conversion therapy. Believe us, it’s not as dark as it sounds! The reimagined music video sees the band celebrating the song’s uplifting lyrics and its shameless homosexuality. A playful queer anthem that can cure any bad day, this iconic single, featuring Phoebe Bridgers no less, is here to stay.
Rina Sawayama – Bad Friend
A pioneer in her own right, Rina Sawayam’s self-titled second album, Sawayama, is a nuanced compilation of tracks tackling identity. The singer doesn’t shy away from big topics or even bigger lyrics. The Bad Friend music video proves it exactly. The nominated British artist gets into male flirting for the video as we watch just how toxic the dynamic between two men as a Japanese bar unfolds. A clear representation of how masculinity can translate into friendships and social contexts, Sawayama delivers an effortless image of how Bad Friend is so much more than a platonic breakup banger.
Perfume Genius – Queen
Seattle-based pop artist Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius steals the show in his music video for Queen. The track, taken from his third studio album, Too Bright, is a confident, pop-infused revenge against the hate hurled at the LGBTQ+ community. Flamboyantly dressed, Hadreas fearlessly explores the expression of gender, image and unfiltered queerness. If you haven’t seen it yet, Queen’s music video is a must.
Lil Nas X – Call Me By Your Name
If there is one clip that we had to salute as the most instrumental this year, it would be this one. Lil Nas X rocked the industry with consecutive music videos that caused a stir on the scene. While I’m sure the comments will say this is what I want or that Industry Baby deserved a spot (and we don’t disagree), nothing caused a moment like Call Me By Your Name. The young artist single-handedly outraged Republicans, global corporations, and pretty much everyone on the internet. Maybe it was strip pole going down to hell or Satan’s lap dancing, we’re not entirely sure, but for that alone, it’s a video worth crediting.
Hayley Kiyoko – Girls Like Girls
It would be a mistake to overlook the impact Girls Like Girls has had on the community. Released in June 2015, the song went viral on social media and across fandom for its open and vulnerable portrayal of the romance between two friends. Likewise, the video frankly rewrote the ending of the queer “punchline” (a trope historically used in videos, for example Physical by Olivia Newton-John or on a less whimsical take in Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepson.
Additionally, comments below the video reaffirm the impact of the video, with many commenting on how it has helped them recognize their own sexuality or appreciate their alliance as a member of the community. Either way, the video and track remain popular hits and it’s easy to see why.