The Parental Rights in Education bill, which has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by LGBTQ+ activists, was recently passed by both Florida’s Senate and House. If this extremely detrimental bill is signed into law, it would limit what classrooms can teach about sexual orientation and gender identity. In effect, this would essentially erase the existence of the LGBTQ+ community in Florida’s pedagogy.
There is no doubt about it: if passed, this law will harm queer youth. It perpetuates the idea that students should be ashamed of and suppress who they are. In addition, LGBTQ+ youth already face a higher risk of bullying, depression and suicide. A law like this will only serve to further isolate young queer kids.
Although Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t explicitly said he will sign the bill, he has said he supports it.
Thus, we would like to present to you a list of 10 LGBTQ+ rock and metal songs that you can blast in the faces of Florida’s homophobic politicians.
We hope that this list (which probably includes some of your favorite artists, such as Judas Priest, Halestorm and PVRIS) can assure you that you are not alone in this music scene, or on this planet — even if some bat-shit representatives are determined to make you feel like you are.
Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford came out during an MTV interview in 1998. Since then, he has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Many Judas Priest songs have queer undertones, but the 1977 Sin After Sin track “Raw Deal” is the only song (to our knowledge) Halford has openly stated was about his sexuality. In a 2019 interview with 96.7 KCAL Rocks!, Halford described the track, which talks about a queer hangout spot in New York called Fire Island, as “almost like a coming-out experience” for him. On “Raw Deal” Halford sings, “The true free expression I demand / Is human rights.”
Type O Negative, “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend”
“My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” comes off Type O Negative’s 1996 album, October Rust. It was the first single off the album, and it describes a polyamorous relationship.
Frontman Peter Steele sings, “Her and me and her and she and me / An uncrowded couple, we are three / Hey, we don’t care what people say.”
The music video for the track also depicts a same-sex relationship between two women. Although polyamory isn’t a sexual orientation, much like how being cisgender or transgender isn’t, people who are polyamorous are sometimes identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Reel Big Fish, “She Has A Girlfriend Now”
“She Has A Girlfriend Now” comes off Reel Big Fish’s 1996 album Turn the Radio Off. The track details a man whose girlfriend leaves him for another woman, stating that guys just don’t do it for her anymore.
Aaron Barrett sings, “She says she’s found someone who’s gonna understand / She don’t need nobody to be her man.���
David Bowie, “John, I’m Only Dancing”
David Bowie is arguably one of the most well-known queer icons in the music world, having come out as bisexual in an interview with Melody Maker in 1972.
It has been speculated that “John, I’m Only Dancing” is about a man reassuring his boyfriend that yes, he is attracted to the girl he’s dancing with, “But don’t get me wrong / I’m only dancing.”
The song was deemed far too risqué for American audiences by the RCA, and wasn’t released in the states until 1976. But, why, RCA? He was, after all, only dancing…
Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody"
You’re probably wondering, “Why is this song on this list?”
Like Bowie, Freddie Mercury is another queer music icon that defied the expectations of a rock ‘n’ roll frontman. He was confident, flamboyant —and boasted a four-octave vocal range.
There is speculation, started by comedian and television writer Guy Branum, that Queen’s 1975 hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” is actually about a man coming out to his parents. He calls it a “breakup song for your mom,” arguing Mercury singing that he just killed a man was alluding to him killing off the closeted part of himself.
Some may argue that “Bohemian Rhapsody” is about someone committing a crime, to which Branum points out: having gay sex in Britain was a crime until the late ‘60s.
Elton John, "Elton’s Song”
We couldn’t talk about David Bowie and Freddie Mercury without also giving a shout out to Sir Elton John.
John once told Rolling Stone that “Elton’s Song” was “the first gay song that I actually recorded as a homosexual song.”
The track first appeared on the 1981 album The Fox. The music video and lyrics both frankly depict a teenaged boy's crush on another boy. The visual appeared on the video album for The Fox, but was never actually shown on television as the themes were considered too controversial at the time. John sings, “They say it isn’t real / But I know what I feel / And I love you.”
Halestorm, “Do Not Disturb"
Did you know Halestorm’s “Do Not Disturb” is based on a true story?
Vocalist Lzzy Hale, who came out as bisexual in 2021, told Revolver, “I had a lot of fun with a man and a woman a few years ago on this amazing tour overseas… it was just this freeing moment.” She also said she was inspired by people like David Lee Roth, The Rolling Stones —even Cinderella— talking about sex.
The power of flipping the script to showcase a woman taking control of her own sexuality to portray a threesome is, in our opinion, an impressive “fuck you” to the male-centric portrayals of sex and sexuality.
“Holy,” from PRVIS’ debut album White Noise, is another worthy “fuck you.”
This one deals with religious hypocrisy and those who claim to “love thy neighbor” while spitting hate speech at queer folks.
Lynn Gunn sings, “But there's no way that there's weight in the words that you preach / When you're claiming your faith and you contradict your speech.”
In an interview with Kerrang!, Gunn explained the meaning behind the track. “It’s about someone who was a friend of mine. She was like, ‘You’re going to hell, you’re sinners’ [because a friend and I were gay]. I was like, ‘But you aren’t perfect either, you’re self-absorbed, and you’re calling out flaws but not working on yourself.’”
Against Me!, “True Trans Soul Rebel”
“True Trans Soul Rebel” comes off Against Me!’s sixth studio album Transgender Dysphoria Blues. The album was released in 2014 following Laura Jane Grace’s transition and delves into gender dysphoria.
On the track, Grace sings, “You should have been a mother/You should have been a wife / You should have been gone from here years ago / You should be living a different life.”
Laura Jane Grace also performed the song with Miley Cyrus during Cyrus’ Backyard sessions in support of the Happy Hippie foundation, a nonprofit organization founded with the goal to “rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.”
Panic! At The Disco, "Girls/Girls/Boys”
Taking it home, we have Panic! At The Disco’s “Girls/Girls/Boys” off their 2013 album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!.
Brendon Urie, who is pansexual, told Paper it was a recollection of his first threesome experience. In the track, he sings sings, “Girls love girls and boys / And love is not a choice.”
Simple and to the point, those lyrics encapsulate the whole point of this article. People don’t chose to be gay just as much as they don’t chose to be born (or to have homophobic politicians erase their identity).