21 Major LGBT Moments In Music This Year, And Why They Mattered In 2014 More Than Ever
The past 12 month saw unprecedented acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. From "How To Get Away With Murder" on the small screen to Laverne Cox on the cover of TIME, from Michael Sam on the football field to the 17 states where pro-marriage equality legislation passed, 2014 was a banner year for LGBT inclusion, visibility and representation.
And those changes were reflected in the music world, as well. The year was packed with major moments for LGBT artists and LGBT fans alike. Let's review 21 of those major moments below.
Demi Lovato Really Doesn't Care, Unless We're Talking LGBT Pride
Ms. Demetria Devonne served as Grand Marshall of Los Angeles 2014 Gay Pride Parade in June, and filmed the experience for her "Really Don't Care" video featuring Cher Lloyd.
Laura Jane Grace Fights For Trans Narratives
Laura Jane Grace wasn't too comfortable with Arcade Fire's "We Exist" video, in which Andrew Garfield plays a character who appears to be a transgender woman, and she had no qualms with making her feelings known. "Maybe when making a video for a song called 'We Exist' you should get an actual "Trans" actor instead of Spider-Man?" the punk singer tweeted in May.
Grace, whose band, Against Me!, released Transgender Dysphoria Blues in January, has since reconsidered her views on the clip, but the exchange demonstrated the importance of letting trans individuals have a say in how their stories are represented in the media.
Le1f Says Hey At Long Last
Le1f dropped Hey back in March, and, much like the ski boots he rocked during his "Late Show" performance that month, the New Yorker's debut EP was -- and continues to be -- everything. Get into him, if you haven't already.
The Country Music World Follows Its Arrow
"Do you guys realize what this means for country music?" Kacey Musgraves exclaimed when "Follow Your Arrow," co-written by openly gay singer-songwriters Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, won Best Song at the 2014 CMA Awards in November. When Nashville stands behind a song that tells listeners to "Kiss lots of boys/ Or kiss lots of girls/ If that's something you're into," you can't help but feel good about the world.
Tyler Glenn Comes Out As Gay
The Neon Trees frontman opened up about his sexuality in the pages of Rolling Stone last March.
And So Does Chad Vaccarino
The less bespectacled half of A Great Big World, the duo responsible for "Say Something," came out as gay back in June.
Oh, And Sam Smith! Maybe You've Heard Of Him?
You know that long-held notion that coming out will destroy one's career? Nobody told Sam Smith. The "Stay With Me" singer's success only grew following his FADER reveal in May, with Sam picking up an American Music Award, two VMA nominations and four EMA nominations. No wonder he's MTV News' pick for 2014 Artist Of The Year.
Angel Haze And Ireland Baldwin Hit The VMA Red Carpet
For those of us who had been low-key following Angel and Ireland's relationship via Instagram all year, their first official appearance together as a couple at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards was a such a moment.
The Gay Male Gaze
From that provocative Flaunt magazine photo spread to his "Kingdom" character coming out in the season finale, Nick Jonas appealed to his gay male fans in a way few straight male artists have in the past. (I'm sure the straight women out there felt the love, too.)
"Yas" usage reached its apex in May 2014, a month that saw Nicki Minaj release "Yasss Bish" featuring Soulja Boy and Lady Gaga sell tour merch displaying the affirmation.
Speaking Of "Yas," Beyoncé Landed The Cover Of Out's May 2014 Power Issue
How many people can say that they got married at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards? How many people can say that Queen Latifah officiated their wedding ceremony? How many people can say that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Trombone Shorty and motherf--king Madonna performed at their reception? These 33 gay (and straight) couples can.
Jenny Lewis' "Just One Of The Guys" Drag King Revue
The onetime Rilo Kiley member enlisted Anne Hathaway, Brie Larsen and Kristen Stewart to dress in drag for her gender-subverting "Just One Of The Guys" video.
Frank Ocean Speaks Out In The Wake Of Ferguson
The "Thinkin Bout You" singer has put his position as a public figure to good use these past few months, keeping the aftermath of Michael Brown's killing present on his Tumblr followers' dashboards.
Bow Down To Your New Queen
Perfume Genius' Too Bright track "Queen" made a powerful statement about reclaiming your identity in a world that's often hostile to it. "Sometimes I see faces of blank fear when I walk by," PG, a.k.a. Mike Hadreas, said of the song. "If these f--king people want to give me some power -- if they see me as some sea witch with penis tentacles that are always prodding and poking and seeking to convert the muggles -- well, here she comes."
The World Stops Sleeping On Mary Lambert
The woman who sang the hook on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Same Love" took center stage in 2014, releasing her debut album in October. Heart On My Sleeve is full of self-love anthems like "Secrets," on which Lambert sings: "I know I'm not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else/ Well, I'm over it."
John Legend Celebrates All Women
John Legend's "You & I (Nobody In The World)" video stars Laverne Cox, Tig Notaro, Chrissy Teigen and dozens more women of varying ages, races, sizes, sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.
Adore Delano? Shantay You
"RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 6 runner-up Adore Delano, a.k.a. Danny "Some people weren't liking it!" Noriega of "American Idol" fame, released her debut album, Till Death Do Us Party, in June. The LP, with tracks like "DTF" and "I Look F--kin' Cool," boasted the greatest single sales week numbers of any "Drag Race" contestant-turned-musician ever. Party? Party.
Welcome To New York, LGBT Swifties
Taylor Swift added a pro-gay lyric to her 1989 opener, "Welcome To New York": "Everybody here was someone else before/ And you can want who you want, boys and boys and girls and girls."
Category: Pop Queen First Time In Drags At A Ball
Rihanna and FKA twigs worked the runway at a House of Miyake-Mugler vogue ball, "Porcelain: A Sanctuary of Ostentatious Extravagance," last month, and THEY BOTH DID THEIR BEST OK. #LeaveFKAtwigsAlone #ThisIsWhyWeCantHaveNiceThings #BuyLP1OniTunes
Sia Literally Takes Us To Church
Sia's "Chandelier" performance at the 2014 Logo Trailblazers event featured the New York City Gay Men's Chorus and choreographer Ryan Heffington in blond wigs, identical to the Australian singer-songwriter's own, on the altar of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. It might just have been the most momentous moment of all.