In the name of equality and gender rights, we have dedicated the month of October to LGBTQ+, including the history, achievements, and issues surrounding it. The perception and inclusion of LGBTQ+ in our culture have increased and gotten better significantly over the course of the past decades. There’s undoubtedly still a long way to go, making it even more important to talk about it, to preach messages of love and inclusion instead of hate and isolation.
That is why we want to look at some music videos, new and old, that embrace LGBTQ+ topics and shed light on issues as well as celebrating the freedom of one’s sexuality. Here are 7 Music Videos addressing LGBTQ+ issues.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Same Love feat. Mary Lambert
The longest video on the list, taking us through the life of one man from birth to his deathbed. It highlights issues, confusion and isolation felt at a young age evolving into the determination that sexuality is an undeniable part of a person that should be embraced.
Whatever god you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love
As a testament to love regardless of gender or orientation, the music video is in support of the 2012 Washington Referendum 74, allowing same-sex marriage in the state. The bill was eventually was approved in elections later that year.
Hozier – Take Me To Church
This song by Irish singer Hozier is based on the author’s frustration about religion (mainly Catholic religion) and its stance on same-sex relations.
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins, and you can sharpen your knife
The music video for the song is especially gruesome, telling the story of a gay couple that sees itself confronted with unspeakable violence based on their sexuality. A visual story that is far from fictional, as to this day countless members of the LGBTQ+ community have to endure similar attacks on their way of life.
Rise Against – Make It Stop (September’s Children)
Bullying is a disease spreading through our society like a wildfire, and though many are affected, it’s the youngest ones in our society that often suffer the most. Especially if the base of discrimination happens to be sexual preferences and identification at an age where insecurity and the search for a place to belong are most prominent. The band Rise Against tackled the issue in their song Make It Stop, picturing a grim reality for students.
From a nation under God,
I feel its love like a cattle prod.
Born free, but still, they hate.
Born me, no I can’t change.
While picturing psychological and physical abuse leading three teenagers to plan their suicide, the song also conveys the message that it always gets better and emphasizes what they and their society would lose if they end their lives prematurely. In the second half of the song, singer Tim Mcllrath calls out the name of five suicide victims from September 2010 which, among other things, influenced the band to create it. The song is part of the Non-Profit Organization It Gets Better.
Arcade Fire – We Exist
While the lyrics of the song We Exist by the Canadian alternative rock band Arcade Fire revolves around a gay boy coming out to his father, the music video portrays a transgender woman getting ready for a night out. Later in a bar, she is subject to sexual harassment and assault.
They walk in the room
And stare right through you
We don’t exist
But we exist
The video did get some criticism for casting Hollywood actor Andrew Garfield and not an actual transgender person. Arcadia Fire defended the decision by stating that a real celebrity would have more of a positive impact on public opinion surrounding the matter.
Christina Aguilera – Beautiful
This song is almost 15 years old and still holds true to this day. Back in 2002, it was a touching ballad claiming inner beauty and self-empowerment for everyone regardless of race, belief or sexuality.
Now and then I get insecure
From all the pain
I’m so ashamed
Beautiful eventually became an anthem for the LGBTQ+ movement and had been cherished by many people to this day as an extraordinary moment in mainstream music.
Queen – I Want To Break Free
Mainly regarded as a song against oppression, I Want To Break Free is still regarded as a classic anthem for LGBTQ+.
I want to break free from your lies
You’re so self-satisfied I don’t need you
I’ve got to break free
All band members dressed in drag as a satirical homage to English soap operas. The video proved to be very controversial in the states when it came out 1984. Queen and Freddie Mercury have helped a great deal bringing visibility to the existence of LGBTQ+ around the world.
David Bowie – Boys Keep Swinging
The song itself is an ironic take on how easy it is to be a boy while working in some small sexual references. Bear in mind this song was published 1979 when the world was a much more conservative place. The song was never released as a single in the US, but it was performed on Saturday Night Live with questionable lyrics censored in the final broadcast.
When you’re a boy
You can wear a uniform
When you’re a boy
Other boys check you out
The important part of the music video is that David Bowie poses as his background singers, unmasking himself by ripping off his wigs at the end of the music video. A sight that was rarely seen back in the day, making it even more important and one of the earlier depictions of drag and homosexuality in lyrics and videos of a released single.
Billy Bragg – Sexuality
Probably the best-known song by Billy Bragg, released in 1991. It revolves around sexuality and paints a positive image of how we should deal with it on a daily basis.
Strong and warm and wild and free
Your laws do not apply to me
Don’t threaten me with misery
I demand equality
The song effectively goes against homophobia and the censorship of sex, bringing the topic out in the open, making it one of the more important songs of the past three decades tackling sex in general
including same-sex relations.
Callejon – Schrei nach Liebe feat. BELA B.
We did indeed say “7 Music Videos, ” but here we are with number eight, a little encore for all of you. What we’ve shown you so far are old and new songs that are well known by most of us. However, we wanted to at least include a foreign song as well.
The song “Schrei nach Liebe” by the German Metal band Callejon is a cover of the same song by The Ärzte and is a protest against Neo-Nazis. The music video does not limit itself to that though, as the Nazis depicted here go on a violent rampage until they eventually end up in an LGTBQ bar.
Most may not necessarily understand a word, but we think the video speaks for itself. It seems the message of equality and self-empowerment may even turn around the worst of our society. Sometimes you just have to keep an open mind and try hard enough.
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