Queer yearning and trauma are common themes through many of pop’s greatest hits from “Sofia” by Clairo to “TALK ME DOWN” by Troye Sivan. But, queerness is not just struggle, sacrifice, and heartbreak. Queerness is bold, vibrant, and exciting. And, while it may be cathartic to sob along to songs alone in bed, sometimes we need music to remind us that queer joy exists. Here are ten songs by queer artists about the queer experience that radiate sunshine and serotonin.
Throughout the past century, media that portrays and represents queerness and queer relationships have changed for the better. When looking at earlier 20th-century queer works, the tone is rather drab, with an understanding that queerness isn’t allowed to be something that is happy or something that leads to happy ends.
I recently read “Filthy Animals” by Brandon Taylor, which was released last year in 2021. I’d been looking to read more explicitly queer novels, ones that explored themes outside traditional YA themes. “Filthy Animals” is an exploration of queer sexuality and masculinity, a book that seems to understand the contradictions between all levels of queer identity. It is a book that aims to explore generational trauma, the past haunting its characters like an ambivalent ghost where the characters crave an intimacy they haven’t before.
Illustrated by Cole Lopez (They/Them) This comic was originally published in our Winter 2022 Volume 2 print issue “Wanting: A Queer Beauty & Burden.“
Jenny and I met in the early days of middle school, when everyone was all acne and gangly legs, and got on like a gasoline-soaked house gets on with a match. Frankly, it was a nightmare for our parents. My mom, who I know had been quietly worrying about my ability to make friends, was suddenly unable to enter a shared space in our house without me bombarding her with requests to go to Jenny’s house, stories of something funny that Jenny had said at school today, of Jenny’s new puppy that she got last week.
It’s summer time! And you know what that means: driving with the windows down, ice cream sundaes, and all of our body image issues that we concealed under winter clothes being brought to the surface!
Illustrated by Steph Liu (She/Her) This comic was originally published in our Winter 2022 Volume 2 print issue “Wanting: A Queer Beauty & Burden.“
Illustrated by Christopher Ikonomou (Xe/He) This piece was originally published in our Winter 2022 Volume 2 print issue “Wanting: A Queer Beauty & Burden.“ Since checking into work that morning, Lynn had done little besides load up the popcorn machine…
Illustrated by Cole Lopez (They/Them) I am going to start this piece with a declaration of what it is not: it is not a cry against sexuality and sex. The fight for equality in the queer community includes the fight…
Photo by Sarah Joyce For the second spotlight of this series, we have Sky Cubacub (pronounced Koo-BAH-Koob), an exuberant and innovative fashion designer and artist currently working in their hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Sky (they/xe) is the founder of Rebirth…