When it comes to romance and pop culture, most of us assume rom-coms are the way forward. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still think Love, Simon and Saving Face are great options, but there’s plenty of graceful queerness incorporated in music videos too. As a short-form medium, these miniature on-screen moments have won over audiences with their camp aesthetic and empowering images of LGBTQ+ intimacy. The internet is your haven when it comes to queer music videos, there are archives of content available to stream online. But, worry not, you won’t have to comb through years of videos to find a reliable string of videos to watch. Instead, we’ve got you covered with 10 music videos that shamelessly celebrate queer love.
Halsey – Ghost
An LGBTQ+ staple, this wouldn’t be a queer music list without the inclusion of Halsey. The American singer-songwriter has been an outspoken member of the community openly talking about queer rights, visibility and love. Ghost, the star’s debut single from her first studio album Badlands, was first released with a music video in 2014. However, in June 2015, the artist released a second iteration which was filmed in Tokyo and produced by Malia James. Speaking to The Fader, Halsey justified her decision to make an alternative video as she had made “enough videos of me and some male lead making out.” On the anniversary of the music video, the Without You singer expanded on her creative direction to have a female love interest: “The reason I was adamant about this was because despite being out and bi, it was only ever suggested to me that I’d cast a male as a romantic interest,” she explained. “It was often assumed. This was my first big budget major label video and I had a precedent to set for myself!”
Hayley Kiyoko ft. Kehlani – What I Need
A collab for the queer ages, Hayley Kiyoko teaming up with Kehlani was the lesbian equivalent of Lady Gaga working with Beyoncé. Well, okay, it didn’t quite break the internet in the same way, but it was everywhere. Clips of the music video surfaced across social media with screengrabs, gifs and lyric captions galore. For an LGBTQ+ audience, What I Need was an anthem of emotional vulnerability and the ups and downs of a relationship. Sticking true to Kiyoko’s engaging production, the hit song has a music video that had us all invested in.
Lil Nas X – That’s What I Want
Not only has Lil Nas X become one of the music industry’s leading voices, but he has confidently shouldered LGBTQ+ visibility throughout his music. When the 22-year-old is not causing viral controversy online, the star is either breaking records or dropping a hot new record. In the lead up to his highly anticipated debut release, the singer-songwriter released a string of iconic music videos, most notably That’s What I Want. Taking place in a fictitious setting, Lil Nas X’s music video delivers a queer cinematic tale, paying homage to Brokeback Mountain. Oh, and to push the campness up a notch the video features a cameo from the great Billy Porter. That’s What I Want packs a moving narrative that runs through all the emotions, but it’s important to spotlight its romance just as much as its heartbreak!
Holland – Neverland
Commonly labelled the ‘first gay K-pop idol’, Holland has been powerfully outspoken when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in South Korea. His single, Neverland, puts same-sex romance at the forefront. The song’s accompanying music video received a 19+ rating in South Korea as it features a same-sex kiss. Despite this, his powerful single struck a chord with listeners across the globe and was praised for its fearlessness. Speaking to GAY TIMES in 2019, the K-pop star opened up about advocating on behalf of the community: “LGBTQ rights in Korea are still not very progressive in comparison to some other countries”. Holland has since released hit songs Love You Better and more.
Shea Diamond – I Am Her
Queer love can take all forms. In her striking music video, Shea Diamond champions individuals from the NYC trans community and empowers a narrative of self-love. Diamond first started writing I Am Her whilst incarcerated and, later, released the song in 2009, while the music video came out in 2016. In a statement to GLAAD, the artist shared the meaning behind the impactful video: “No matter how the world treats me, no matter if I’m rejected, accepted, denied, or misunderstood, I will continue to live out my truth as Shea Diamond! It was in losing the world that I found myself and the will to keep living as the woman I am proud to be.” A moving music video, you can listen to Diamond’s power song on the trans experience here.
Fletcher – Girls Girls Girls
American singer-songwriter Fletcher has been truly flying the flag as of late. In this Katy Perry-sampled hit, the artist leans into her fruity side with a track that doesn’t miss. The music video for Girls Girls Girls is an edgy compilation of girls making out and an outright queer anthem. An empowering message of confidence and sexuality, Fletcher’s new track reimagines a classic chorus to make her own LGBTQ+ positive hit.
Shura – Touch
Electropop artist Shura has not been secretive about her mission to queer the mainstream music industry. The English singer-songwriter has a track record of releasing music videos that share her vision. Take her 2014 video Touch; a cinematic visualiser that embraces the notion of queer romance. The touch music video has garnered over 34 million hits on YouTube and for good reason. It wasn’t easy to find heartfelt new wave queer representation circa 2014, so for that alone Touch has to make our list.
The Internet – Come Over
A portrayal of music-infused domesticated bliss, The Internet captures the hues and highs of a complementary partnership. Parodying an American sitcom format, Come Over sees The Internet groove together during band practice while group singer Syd attempts to persuade a girl to come over. Her efforts are successful and so are the band’s who, in the background, are texting their romantic interests. Later, we see them all hanging out together and it’s confirmed Syd gets the girl. That aside, our standout moment, falls with Steve Lacey and his boyfriend as they jam together during the track’s solo in matching yellow shirts. It’s LGBTQ+ love all around.
Troye Sivan – Angel Baby
Did Troye Sivan sweep us all up with his melodic love song? Yes. Angel Baby is a gentle cacophony of visuals that we couldn’t get enough of. Teaming up with Heaven director Luke Gilford, Sivan slips in and out of intimate moments with on-screen love interests. From sharing kisses, riding a motorbike to swooning under fireworks there’s plenty to envy. If things couldn’t get any more saccharine, Sivan sings: “I just wanna live in this moment forever / ’Cause I’m afraid that living couldn’t get any bеtter”. Don’t just take our word for how glorious the music video is, watch it below.
Zolita – Somebody I F*cked Once
A newfound fan-favourite, Somebody I F*cked Once has chalked up over 20 million views since its release. Leading with an all-too-familiar high school backdrop, Zolita’s coming-of-age style single unpacks a young queer romance as a high school cheerleader starts questioning sexuality. To say its intensely queer narrative (and happy ending love story) has been well received is an understatement. The newly released track has gone viral on social media, particularly with LGBTQ+ fans on TikTok recreating scenes of the video and lip-syncing the lyrics. So, if you don’t want to miss the Gen Z hype, make sure to check it out.