It’s International Transgender Day of Visibility! In light of the exclusion trans and non-binary individuals face both in the music industry and within society at large, we curated 6 amazing trans and non-binary musicians that you need to know about!
Shea Diamond is a singer, songwriter, and a trans rights activist. Diamond has been posting some incredible TikToks on transgender awareness in an effort to keep the public informed on how we can help fight anti-trans legislation. Her music generally falls into the category of R&B, but she is also known to cross genres into hip-hop and folk. Her 2021 single, “Smile,” is guaranteed to put you in a good mood no matter what. Diamond’s powerful lyricism and addicting melodies make her a must-add to your summer playlist.
You may have seen Laith Ashley’s name before, and that could be because he starred as the love interest in Taylor Swifts’ music video for her song “Lavender Haze.” But Ashley has been making a name for himself long before Swift. While Ashley has become well known as a model, (he’s walked in New York Fashion week!) He also makes incredible music. One of his most recent songs is the uptempo, pop-heavy “Like Me”, though Ashley has been putting music out on Spotify since 2017. If you enjoy artists like Zayn Malik or Justin Bieber, then you’ll definitely find a Laith Ashley song that you love.
THE BLSSM is an Australian non-binary pop artist. THE BLSSM made waves in 2021 with their debut EP, BLSSM, which featured upbeat yet emotionally honest tunes such as “HARDCORE HAPPY.” One of the coolest things about THE BLSSM is how they’re practically inventing their own genre. THE BLSSM’s music bounces between shoegaze, indie pop, alternative rock, and everything in between, which makes them incredibly fun to listen to. Their newest single, “WHO’S TO SAY” just dropped today, and is a mid-tempo springtime anthem that you need to hear.
Nat Puff (Left at London)
Nat Puff, who also goes by the stage name Left at London has been putting out unforgettable music that centers queerness and navigating the world in its current state. She’s also made herself accessible to her fans through her hilarious Twitter presence, which is definitely worth a mention. For example, on former President Trumps’ recent indictment, Puff tweeted, “personally i think they should wheel trump out in a tiny lil cage onto baseball fields during games so ppl in the stands can throw peanuts at him.” And yeah, we agree. Puff is also one half of the duo WOW OK, and you can find her music on all streaming platforms.
personally i think they should wheel trump out in a tiny lil cage onto baseball fields during games so ppl in the stands can throw peanuts at him.
— ⌘ left at london ⌘ (@LeftAtLondon) March 31, 2023
Shamir Bailey is a singer/song-writer who is quickly becoming a star. His 2022 album, Heterosexuality, received critical acclaim, and gifted us with bangers such as “Abomination” and “Reproductive.” Shamir has drawn similarities between his identity as a queer artist and his capability to defy genre boundaries. In an interview with the Philadelphia radio station WXPN, Shamir stated, “Not only am I a Black queer artist that rejects genre, but I am super DIY artist that refuses to be boxed in in a way a lot of Black and/or queer artists are put in for the sake of success.” Shamir is definitely an artist you’re going to want to keep an eye on.
Laura Jane Grace
Laura Jane Grace is not just any singer; she’s a punk icon. She’s most well known for being the lead singer of the band Against Me! which has produced incredible punk songs like “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” and “Thrash Unreal”. In 2015, Grace even teamed up with Miley Cyrus and Joan Jett to perform a cover of The Replacements’ song “Androgynous.” One of the most exciting aspects of Grace’s music is how she isn’t afraid to be political. Check out her 2020 song “Hanging Tree”, where she calls out the violence that has been perpetuated in Trump’s America with the lyrics “Babies born into apocalypse/ Got no vision, got no taste for death/ You can’t trust a man with hair like that/ Too much deception, no self-conscience.”
While today may be Trans Visibility Day, we hope this list provides you with some artists that you can stream all year long!
Top image: Screen grab from “Shea Diamond – Smile (Official Music Video)” from @iamsheadiamond on YouTube