LGBTQ & Gender Justice
Our Pride Playlist
June is Pride month, and a great time to recognize the contributions of LGBTQ individuals in music. As part of our Agenda for a Just Future, we are addressing the impact of housing instability and youth incarceration in queer communities, and fighting for LGBTQ rights. We hope you'll enjoy this Spotify playlist showcasing some of our favorite Pride-themed songs and LGBTQ artists.
- Aging Core, Aging Periphery - Terre Thaemlitz
Also known as DJ Sprinkles, Terre Thaemlitz is a trans musician and cultural critic who bridges scholarly explorations of gender identity with ambient and dance-oriented electronic music. Thaemlitz has also been involved with Ultra-red, an international political arts collective that includes members of the Liberty Hill grantee, Union de Vecinos.
- I Was Born This Way (Better Days Mix) - Carl Bean
In the 1980s, Liberty Hill made a grant to the Minority Aids Project to address the impacts of the AIDS crisis in communities of color. The organization’s founder, Minister Carl Bean, was the same Carl Bean who recorded one of the first LGBTQ libertation anthems. This version was remixed specially by Bruce Forest and Shep Pettibone for the influential NYC gay club, Better Days.
- Dancing On My Own - Robyn
An unofficial queer anthem, Robyn’s single “Dancing On My Own” has been at the center of many coming out stories. “Hearing it put that way doesn’t surprise me,” she says. “Gay culture has always had to embody outsidership. I think we’re all just scared to be lonely. We all want to be loved and we all want to be seen.”
- We R Who We R - Kesha
Kesha is known for being creative and fun, but did you also know she is also an openly bisexual artist and outspoken member of the LGBTQ community? This single is all about empowering marginalized misfits, and the perfect pride song for your summer pool party.
- Arm Around You - Arthur Russell
After growing up queer in straightlaced Iowa, Arthur Russell took off to San Francisco at age 18 where he joined a Buddhist commune and became involved with the beat poet Allen Ginsberg. He later moved to New York City where he immersed himself in the wild downtown scene of the late ’70s, experimenting with delicate cello and voice compositions. While in New York, he was also drawn to the burgeoning disco scene anchored by clubs like The Loft and The Gallery, and began to produce forward-thinking dance tracks, like “Arm Around You” that also drew from the city’s experimental punk scene.
- The Whistle Song - Frankie Knuckles
If you’ve heard of house music, you should know Frankie Knuckles. After getting his start DJing at one of New York’s gay bathhouses with friend Larry Levan, Frankie was invited to take over the turntables at a new Chicago club called the Warehouse. It was there that he discovered a raw electronic sound being produced by Chicago’s African American teens and helped export it to the world. Frankie Knuckles reminds us that the roots of modern dance music are defiantly Black and gay.
- Thank You - Kehlani
You can’t have an LGBTQ playlist, without Kehlani. The queer performer has ties to other queer artists like Demi Lovato, and recently went on Twitter to discuss her sexuality with fans. After admitting that she has a lot of learning to do about the LGBTQ community, she welcomed her fans’ contributions to her growth. “Thank You” is an ode to being human, and admitting that mistakes are necessary for growth.
- WILD - Troye Sivan
In 2013 Troye Sivan came out in an emotional video posted to Youtube that has since been viewed over 8 million times. Since then, Troye has been creating the type of queer music you can’t live without, and “WILD” is no exception. “I feel like gay relationships are sexualized in the media and I just wanted to show a romantic, adorable, puppy love situation between two little boys because that’s something we never ever see.”
- Strangers - Halsey & Lauren Jauregui
Halsey and Lauren Jauregui have both publicly identified as queer women, and this song is the queer relationship song we’ve always needed. Lauren performed at Liberty Hill’s annual Upton Sinclair Awards Dinner in 2018, and brought the house down with her vocal performance.
- Let’s Go Swimming - Arthur Russell
Arthur Russell’s “Let’s Go Swimming” received a remix from Walter Gibbons, one of the New York disco scene’s most pioneering queer producers. Although Russell was still relatively obscure when he passed away from an AIDS-related illness at age 40 in 1992, his music has found a larger audience in recent years.
- Somebody Loves You - Betty Who
Betty Who recently gave the Queer Eye theme song an update, but she’s no stranger to the LGBTQ community. After her song “Somebody Loves You” went viral, Who realized it was her devoted LBGTQ fans who brought her to stardom. “I wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for the LGBTQ community…I’ve felt the most at home within the LGBTQ+ community. I feel like I’ve found a space that I can sort of be myself and also share my stories, share my insecurities and good days and bad days with them. And they share theirs with me. I’m very, very lucky.”
- Where are we Going? Pt 1 - Octo Octa
Maya Bouldry-Morrison started releasing music under the name Octo Octa in 2011, and publicly came out as transgender in 2016. Now, with albums like “Between Two Selves” and “Where Are We Going,” she is bringing greater visibility to trans artists and elevating the need for gender inclusivity in the music industry.
- Sometimes - be steadwell
You may recognize this song if you’ve listened to the “Queery by Cameron Esposito” podcast. It's a song all about self-exploration, and learning who you are and where you fit in.
- Azure - Cecil Taylor
Known for a uniquely percussive style of piano playing, Cecil Taylor made waves with his bold experimentations. But he also stood out for being one of the few queer musicians in the world of avant-garde jazz.
- Over & Over - Sylvester
Sylvester was the out and proud West Coast disco star who put gender expression at the forefront of his music and persona. Though Sylvester passed away in 1988 after contracting HIV, this track is still liberating dancefloors worldwide.