Hayley Kiyoko’s new album is a step in the right direction

The pop star known as ‘Lesbian Jesus’ is putting LGBTQ representation into mainstream music


Expectations is Kiyoko’s first full-length album and was released on March 30 of this year.

With the popularity of artists like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, who are known for their songs about past relationships, pop music has its fair share of anthems for men who like women and women who like men.

Now that movies such as “Love, Simon” have hit mainstream media, it’s only fair that popular music should also have non-heterosexual representation.

Enter artists such as Hayley Kiyoko and Janelle Monáe, who are putting out music that LGBTQ people can identify with and sing along to without having to change the pronouns.

There have, of course, been several popular artists before Kiyoko who identify as LGBTQ. David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, as well as Billie Joe Armstrong and Lady Gaga all identify as such, but their music often lacks this same representation.

With as much as 12 percent of the United States population identifying as LGBTQ, it’s important that popular music reflects and represents that number. A young bisexual person should not have to be shocked to discover their favorite musicians share their sexuality, just as much as it should not be nearly impossible to find a love song by a woman about women.

Kiyoko’s new album, as well as Monáe’s, is a step in the right direction for creating more media that is representative of the LGBTQ population. Rather than songs that cryptically hide the underlying meaning, Kiyoko’s music is upfront and obvious about the fact that it’s about women, not men.

The artist’s confidence in herself is also a great example for LGBTQ people of every age, and the fact that she’s made it this far into the public eye as a lesbian female singer is an impressive accomplishment.

Personally, I didn’t know much about Hayley Kiyoko until recently. I knew her from the Disney movie Lemonade Mouth, and I knew she had been a singer before and after the movie. It wasn’t until I heard her song “Curious” that I finally bothered to look up the artist, then the music video, then at the EP it came from.

I’m not typically a fan of pop music, but I am a fan of LGBTQ artists in all types of media. The progress Kiyoko has made sets a great standard for other artists that want to expand on that representation, and create media that doesn’t just cater to straight couples.

The message it sends to young LGBTQ people is pretty powerful. If a gay woman can make it big in pop music — and a romance about a gay teenage boy can play in theaters across the country — then any LGBTQ person can create art about their own life and experiences, and share that with more than just their closest friends.

I’m not saying you should go buy Hayley Kiyoko’s album because I told you to, but the best way to support and encourage her and future artists is to buy their art and listen to their music. Even as an ally, it shows you care about what they have to say.