Written by: Lucy Widmann
Pride History month is upon us, giving us an excuse to celebrate even louder for the freedom of people being themselves! Being an annual month-long observation during October, it celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, as well as the history of gay rights regarding the civil rights movement. Those before us fought for these rights with their heart and souls, which in turn has given people today the privilege to come out as who they are! In order to celebrate, here is a look at some key figures in the music industry who have given the LGBTQ+ community a voice to come out! 🥳
Lead singer of the English band Queen, Freddie Mercury was a well-renowned singer and songwriter. He is the voice behind hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are the Champions,” and “Another One Bits The Dust,” and he was taking risks in music that no one at that time dared to do! Freddie passed away in 1991 when he was just 45 from Aids-related issues, yet the legacy he has left has never diminished. Though he was never openly explicit about his sexuality, Freddie dated both men and women, coming out to his former wife turned best friend Mary Austin, as bisexual. Freddie pushed the line of sexuality by naming his band ‘Queen,’ wearing gender neutral clothing on stage, and was spotted many times at gay nightclubs. He gave musicians during this time the voice and courage to be themselves, encouraging them to pour themselves into the music and being true to who they are, rather than going along with the “status-quo.” 💜
A huge advocate to the LGBTQ+ community, and maybe one of the most honest musicians of all time, is Sir Elton John! But Elton wasn’t always quite so open with his sexuality. During the late 1960s to early 1970s, he was actually engaged to be married to girlfriend Linda Woodrow, but the relationship ended just a few weeks before the wedding with Elton calling it off. Elton’s first openly gay relationship was with music manager John Reid, which lasted five years until they split. This did not stain Elton John’s relationships with men, but rather sparked Elton to be transparent with the public; this turned into him coming out as bisexual in a 1976 Rolling Stone magazine! Elton stated in the article: “There’s nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex. I think everybody’s bisexual to a certain degree. I don’t think it’s just me. It’s not a bad thing to be. I think you’re bisexual. I think everybody is." 🚀
Not at all shy about his sexuality, David Bowie bent the rules of “gender norms” to his own tune! Throughout his career, Bowie would drop hints of his identity, but never claimed what was true. Until 1976, when Bowie came out as bisexual; he stated: “It’s true–I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well. I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Fun, too.” After this statement was made, Bowie had a tough time coming to terms with it, and he actually retracted the statement! But in 1993, Bowie shared with Rolling Stone magazine that he always thought of himself as a "closeted heterosexual." Bowie found himself at home within the culture of gay and queer individuals, showing all of us that it is okay to not know exactly how you feel at first! He showed all of that it takes bravery to voice how you feel, and that bravery has given so many artists today the confidence to voice the freedom of who they are! ⚡️
Two time Grammy winning rock artist Melissa Etheridge came boldly to the plate when she came out to the world as a lesbian! Coming out publicly in 1993 at the Triangle Ball, Melissa knew that she was a lesbian when she was 17 or 18 years old. Despite the challenges she faced when trying to get cut a record deal, Melissa never cowered down for who she was! It wasn’t until she was interviewed for The Advocate in 1992 that gave her a voice to speak up for herself and who she truly was. Melissa explained in the newspaper: “I said, ‘You know what? I have to, because this is who I am and I really want to be authentic.’” How cool is that?! Despite making the headlines and being the target of threats that people would turn away from her music, Melissa Etheridge stayed true herself and made sure she was the most authentic self she could be for others! 🤘🏼
From being a rap star in the 1980s, to co-founding an entertainment company, Queen Latifa has done it all! She has taken the world by storm by breaking barriers for Black women, and equally has done so with a positive and kind spirit. Though Latifa has never explicitly come out to the world about how she identifies her sexuality, she has a longtime partner in Eboni Nichols, and they have a child together named Rebel! During Latifia’s 2021 BET Award speech, Queen Latifah acknowledged her love for both Nichols and Rebel, and wrapped up with saying “Happy Pride!” This was the first time that Latifia had acknowledged her affection for her partner in public, which sent Twitter accounts into a spiral of euphoria for the two and their child! 👑
These individuals listed, and many more, are the people who have given artists the courage today to be true to themselves and their music! We celebrate each one of these artists, but especially during LGBTQ+ History Month. We hope that this spotlight will shine awareness onto all the achievements they have accomplished! It is so cool to watch the artists of our generation follow in the footsteps of these incredible talents, and we support the courage it takes to be fearless about who you are! ❤️🔥
To learn more about LGBTQ+ History Month, click here.
If you or someone you know is an LGBTQ+ member and needs support, please call the Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386.
If you want to get more involved in fan communities,