It’s 2018, otherwise known in the queer community as 20gayteen, due to the amount of LGBTQ+ exposure and representation in the media. Hayley Kiyoko, also known as “Lesbian Jesus” dubbed this term on Twitter when she debuted her album called “Expectations.” In the past, the only remotely gay music I remember listening to was “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry. Nonetheless, Perry’s lyrics oversexualized women and hinted at feelings of shame, specifically “No, I don’t even know your name, it doesn’t matter, you’re my experimental game, just human nature.” Although these lyrics can be relatable to some, it is not entirely amazing exposure or a great representation of LGBTQ+ in music. Perry then goes on to say in her lyrics “it’s not what, good girls do, not how they should behave” implying that the thoughts and feelings she has towards women are shameful and that “good girls” should ignore them.
However, today the LGBTQ+ community is finding comfort that the minority of people they have always looked for as inspiration are finally rising to the surface to create real music that is actually relatable. Kiyoko sings about love and lust, not just hookups and experiments. Her music is first and foremost, empowering. She writes from the heart and you can hear it in her music. Secondly, she raises awareness of the LGBTQ+ community’s struggles as well.
Some other artists that are increasing the visibility of LGBTQ+ representation in music are Troye Sivan and Kehlani. Kehlani, a queer woman, was featured in Hayley Kiyoko’s song “What I Need” and sparked conversation in the queer community. It is inspiring to see the growing representation in music especially when the artists collaborate to make great art. Every song in Troye Sivan’s album “Bloom” can be categorized as gay anthems. No one hides or switches up the pronouns in love songs anymore, which is what makes songs relatable for the queer community.
Even Halsey’s song “Bad At Love” is explicitly bisexual when she switches pronouns from male to female in the second verse. Simple representation like that in pop music today is inspirational for the type of music that will be produced in the future. Representation is everything, especially when it comes to music. Music is influential in our lives and finding relatable music can make a bad day, good. Let me know who your favorite LGBTQ+ artists are in the comment section below! What are your favorite LGBTQ+ songs and albums? I would love to hear! Happy 20gayteen!