A Tribute to Gay Musicians

In light of all the celebrations happening today in San Francisco on the first full day of legal same sex marriages in California, I thought I’d take a moment to acknowledge some of the gay musicians that have made a mark on the musical landscape.

Music certainly isn’t the only thing evolving these days. I feel so fortunate to live in a progressive environment like the bay area, where conventions are challenged, change is embraced, and activism is the norm. Gay, straight, bisexual, white, black, brown, yellow, tall, short, fat, thin…we are all just people after all.

One of the pillars of anthropology that has stuck with me since college is the notion of “becoming familiar with the unfamiliar and becoming unfamiliar with the familiar.” In other words, before you go judging what you don’t understand because you think it’s different or strange, try to understand it. And conversely, it’s immensely insightful to view the things you are comfortable with from an outside perspective and realize that what you consider normal might seem quite abnormal to another person.

The traits we share are what make us human. But the traits we don’t share are what make us unique. And interesting! So, let’s celebrate our differences, shall we?

I think most people would acknowledge that there are a lot of gay* musicians out there. I could only think of the most obvious ones off the top of my head, so I did a little digging around and compiled this list:

*I’m including artists who are either gay OR bisexual to the best of my knowledge in this list, but please feel free to correct me if you find anything inaccurate!

Ani DiFranco

Boy George

Erasure‘s Andy Bell

Dusty Springfield

Elton John

Eva Dahlgren

Freddie Mercury

George Michael

Indigo Girls

Janis Joplin

K.D. Lang

Lance Bass

Le Tigre‘s JD Samson

Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Ferrick

Rufus Wainwright

Sinead O’Connor

half of Sleater-Kinney

Tegan and Sara

Tracy Chapman

most of the Village People

And there you have it! Although the road ahead is clearly a bumpy one for same sex marriage, the recent events are groundbreaking and life-changing and I, for one, am very proud of California for being in the forefront of the movement. Whether you agree or disagree with what is going on in gay rights right now, I think most of us can agree that music as we know it would not be the same without the artists mentioned above.

And thus, I salute them.

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3 Responses to “A Tribute to Gay Musicians”


  1. 1 Barbie July 7, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Is Barry Manilow gay and does he live with his manager Garry Kief?

  2. 2 Sandra Possing July 8, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    @Barbie

    I don’t know but would put my money on yes. There is certainly a lot of debate on the topic:

    http://tinyurl.com/5mr78t

    http://tinyurl.com/6hrqh5


  1. 1 A Tribute to Gay Musicians Trackback on June 17, 2008 at 7:47 pm

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