As inherently political conversations about resistance, rights, and representation continue to grow and emerge, PAPER, like many of you, can't help but find ways to usher these vital discussions forward. Forget what you've heard: despite discrimination, laws, and even violence, we believe it's always a great day to be lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, an ally.
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Below, we present a range of 50 powerful musicians changing the industry at large, some with mainstream clout, but all are people innovating within their chosen genres and communities. All artists show tangible proof that visibility (hell, mere existence) in all spaces normalizes narratives and experiences for all LGBTQ people. It's joyful, it's good, and these people are all changing our world.
Click through our picks for LGBTQ musicians you absolutely should prioritize.
"The first time I tasted somebody else's spit, I had a coughing fit" croons Lucy Dacus on her breakup epic "Night Shift." She's a sadgirl indie icon who can write about heartbreak with a cliche-annihilating, no-fucks forthrightness that's as emotionally explosive as it is lyrically elegant, traversing raw sincerity and grim irony. She's the kind of artist whose every other lyric is a tattoo waiting to happen, because her stories about pain, confusion and growth have have the capacity to make you feel a little less alone. The queer, Virginia-born singer's truth-telling, on her impeccable 2017 record Historian, has scored her comparisons to songwriters like Bob Dylan and Marvin Gaye — and speculation about what stories she'll tell us next. — Jael Goldfine (Photo via Lucy Dacus)
Story by Michael Love Michael, Jael Goldfine, Justin Moran