Some of the best and most groundbreaking music stars have also been members of the LGBT community, and despite performing during periods of history where their music could be banned from playing on radio and television stations, these artists still made music videos that directly challenged the status quo.
Very often, these songs later also became classics and gay anthems across the world, and a lot of them remain iconic to this day.
Here are 7 LGBT-themed music videos that are still classics today.
1. YMCA – Village People
The brass riff intro to this song still has the ability to ignite a crowd 40 years after its release in 1978.
2. Rough Boys – Pete Townshend
Filled with innuendo, this video of The Who’s guitarist is anything but subtle. Townshend described it as a coming out of sorts, and did later officially come out as bisexual.
3. I Want to Break Free – Queen
Now a gay anthem (together with a few other Queen songs) “I Want to Break Free” was banned by MTV. The rest of the band members’ solidarity with their frontman’s playful banter about domestic life is as touching as it is fun.
4. Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Another music video that was banned by both the BBC and MTV, “Relax” is set in an S&M-themed gay bar, with leather men and drag queens aplenty. The theme of the song is edging, or the act of delaying ejaculation, so there’s that, too.
5. Justify My Love – Madonna
This video features the Queen of Pop sharing her first on-screen lesbian kiss with an androgynous dominatrix.
6. The Power of Two – The Indigo Girls
This beautiful song is an ode to love in all its forms, from a folk duo that was far ahead of their time.
7. Dancing in the Street – David Bowie and Mick Jagger
Long-rumoured to be having an affair, this music video only added fuel to the fire when it was released in 1985. Many people rate it the gayest music video of all time, and when Bowie and Jagger move closer together, it’s easy to see why.