I Want To Break Free - Queen
Freddie Mercury's performance with his bandmates as women in a domestic setting has long been hailed for its early commitment to camp. It's weird, unexpected, and incredibly fun.
Alejandro – Lady Gaga
The entire video for this track contains strong homoerotic imagery. Whether it’s the soldiers in fishnets or the dancers in heels, the video brought in a new decade of fearless sexual identity and self love that few artists had shown before.
Just One Of The Guys – Jenny Lewis
'Just One of the Guys' was a song that sent an important message about gender, and the video packed with Hollywood A-listers helped Jenny Lewis amplify that message even further.
Take Me To Church - Hozier
This video was partly responsible for the song’s quick rise up the charts. Depicting two men in a relationship, the video takes a shocking turn as it shows men hunting and attacking one of the men after discovering his sexuality. The video is an honest (and frankly scary) look into a reality that still exists for many today.
Justify My Love – Madonna
Madonna has been a strong advocate of the LGBT community for some time, but this video was the first to explicitly show her experimenting with bisexuality.
Laura – Bat For Lashes
Lyrically, this song is about a woman who has fallen upon hard times even though she has the undying support and love of so many others. The video threw in a twist when it's revealed that Laura is an old drag queen. Wearing a torn dress and looking lost, Laura is pulled into dancing one more time by Natasha Khan.
We Exist – Arcade Fire
This video stars Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman) as a transgender women and documents parts of her life as she gets dressed, goes to a bar and gets assaulted, before ending up onstage with Arcade Fire at Coachella. The video was criticised by some people for the band’s choice of a cis male portraying a trans woman. That backlash became somewhat muted when the band explained their casting choice and the important message it had.
Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
This song’s video sent a powerful message with its portrayal of the LGBT community. It’s simple and beautiful, and had an influence on many LGBT youth in the early 2000s.
Blue Neighbourhood (Trilogy) – Troye Sivan
This music video trilogy blew up the internet last year as the young Australian told a tragic love story through the videos of his first three singles off the album. Dealing with sexuality, family, love, and even suicide, these videos aren’t light-hearted, but they brought an authenticity to Sivan's work.
Really Don’t Care – Demi Lovato
This video shows the Disney Channel star performing at LA Pride - and having the time of her life. Whilst it has the generic air of a publicity stunt behind it, the video does still showcase the community to an international audience that wouldn't normally see it.
Androgyny – Garbage
This song conveys a message about gender fluidity, further enhanced by its video. The simple idea of men and women in either gender’s public restrooms, toying with the societal norms of their genders is something not seen often enough in music videos. Keep in mind that this video is now 15-years-old and predicts a broader conversation about gender that we've only really seen heat up in the past few years.
Boys Keep Swinging – David Bowie
This song has always been controversial - and coming from one of the most controversial artists of all time, that's saying something. From the infamous SNL performance where they muted some of the homoerotic lyrics (but managed to forget about the large swinging appendage between his legs), to the video featuring Bowie in drag as his own backing vocalists, the song is a celebration of sexuality and gender fluidity. It’s also a tongue-in-cheek mockery of gender roles - a commentary very few artists were making in 1979.
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
It's your standard, catchy pop song, but the plot twist in its video made headlines around the world. Carly Rae Jepsen really turned the modern American love story on its head with what could easily have been a forgetable music video.