With queer visibility and acceptance on steady rise, pressure for LGBTQ musicians to maintain a "universally relatable" (aka straight) image in order to appeal to a mainstream audience remains. Luckily, an increasing number of artists are starting their careers by actively avoiding that trap.
The impact this has on fans, particularly young, LGBTQ fans, cannot be overstated. These six artists may create music that's hard to compare, but they share a fearlessness to harness their passions to challenge heteronormativity in their careers. And they're making it that much easier for the next wave of artists to follow suit.
Scroll through to meet the Pride50 music honorees...
3. Olly Alexander
The Years & Years frontman is admired by a legion of queer fans. Alexander doesn’t take this fact lightly. He’s leveraged his success to amplify LGBTQ charities and initiatives that hit close to home for him and his audience. That’s included promoting safe sex and HIV services, speaking out against LGBTQ bullying, and opening up about his own struggles with depression and self harm.
Later this year, he’ll heave a new opportunity to further educate fans, many of whom are young and perhaps uninformed on the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Alexander will star in Russell T Davies’ (Queer As Folk, A Very English Scandal) Boys. The 5-part BBC drama will follow the lives of young, gay men coping with life under the spread of the virus. Rounding out the cast are Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry.
Here he is giving a quarantine concert from the (dis)comfort of home: