In 2009, President Barack Obama recognized June as LGBT Pride Month. "LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society," he wrote in an official proclamation. "There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities."
More specifically, the music community has helped stepped up in the fight for equal rights since last June. Many of the hottest, most-recognizable names (Beyonce, Jay-Z, Madonna, Macklemore) have shown their support in visible ways, while out artists like Frank Ocean and Tegan and Sara were both critical faves and chart toppers.
Check out these 20 loud and proud music moments that from the past year.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are having a big year. The Seattle duo scored two No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us." But the rapper and producer have another song inching its way up the charts.
Their anti-homophobia anthem "Same Love" sits at No. 72 this week. While songs like Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" topped the charts, neither openly addressed the issue like Mack & Lew do: "Call each other f-ggots behind the keys of a message board / A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it / Gay is synonymous with the lesser."
Here's to hoping the duo score a threepeat.
Following Frank Ocean's coming out blog post, heaps of notable celebs showed their support.
Laura Jane Grace, the Against Me! frontwoman formerly known as Tom Gabel, began the transition into being a woman in May 2012 after years of privately dealing with gender dysphoria. She underwent hormone and electrolysis treatments in the following months before giving her first interview as a woman in April 2013. She reflected with the very intimate piece in Cosmopolitan. The takeaway of the eye-opening narrative? "Face your fears."
Pop-rock outfit fun. and fashion designer Rachel Antonoff—sister of guitarist Jack Antonoff—formed the Ally Coalition this year to raise awareness and funds for LGBTQ equality. The group has already raised $100,000 thanks in to the band donating $1 of every ticket sold to TAC. "Carry On," fun., carry on!
Canadian lesbian twin duo Tegan and Sara are having their best year yet with new album Heartthrob debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and its single "Closer" becoming their first sizable hit in the U.S. The girls are using their heightened fame to spread support for gay marriage with a big promise: they won't marry until everyone in America can.
Fuse News ran a segment about the issue with the Quin twins. Watch above.
Carly Rae Jepsen and Train backed out of a concert for the Boy Scouts of America over their exclusionary policy toward gay people. CRJ tweeted, "I always have and will continue to support the LGBT community on a global level." Train, meanwhile, said they'd participate "as long as [the Boy Scouts of America] make the right decision before [the show]."
Christina Aguilera turned a medley of Lotus album tracks into a celebration of love at the American Music Awards in November 2012. Drag queens, go go boys and a crowd behind her touting signs with "LOVE 4 ALL" and "LOVE YOURSELF" commanded the audience's attention, as did her powerful pipes. "Let There Be Love," indeed.
Madonna attacked the Boy Scouts' exclusionary policy toward gay people by wearing their uniform to the GLAAD Awards. In a 12-minute speech the diva called for a change to the policy before giving Anderson Cooper a special honor for his "significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community."
"Most people are not comfortable with things or people that they perceive as different from themselves," she said. "I would wager that if we took the time to get to know one another, looked beneath the surface of things, we would find that we are not so different after all."
While the Supreme Court debated gay marriage on a national level, Time magazine declared "Gay Marriage Already Won" in an April cover story. Behind the headline stands the striking image of a lesbian couple mid-kiss. The two women are Kristen Ellis-Henderson, the guitarist/songwriter of all-female rock band Antigone Rising, and her wife Sarah Kate.
Ellis-Henderson wrote in a blog post, "I'm kissing my wife on the cover because the mother of a gay kid might see it and finally come around to letting her son or daughter back in the house... because it's time for every American to have their civil rights." She added, "I want [young gay kids] to see my life and my family, and I want them to know that they can have that too."
Joke-rap trio Lonely Island, James Franco and Zach Galifanakis offered their support to gay marriage in a hilarious music video for ode to partying and gay marriage, "Spring Break Anthem." Check out these lyrics: "Bros before hoes / Chicks with no clothes," the trio rap. "Slammin' shots and marryin' a man."
Glam-electroclash act Scissor Sisters dispatched drag queen vocal to the mainstream with their addictive track "Let's Have a Kiki." The group explained to Time Out London that "a kiki" is "drag queen slang. It can mean gossip or a good time." Digital sales eclipsed the album's first single, "Only the Horses," and soon Glee covered the song, too, bringing drag queen chatter to American homes in a way RuPaul's Drag Race never has.
Gender-blurring, cross-dressing rapper Mykki Blanco blew up online this year, but the NY native's music is beyond any type of "queer rap movement." "One day I will have put out so much music and done so many different things and played with so many different nuances, that term will be irrelevant," she told MTV UK.
Kacey Musgraves' country song "Follow Your Arrow" lends support to the LGBT cause: "Make lots of noise / Kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls / If that's something you're into." The chorus: "Love who you love." The track has already sold 45,000 copies without an official single release.
Glee star Charice Pempengco came out as a lesbian during a TV interview in her native Philippines. "I love myself, that's why I'm able to do this," she said. "Now I feel free." She added, "We are all equal, whether you are gay or straight."