Queercore is a subculture of the punk rock scene founded in the mid-1980s. The subculture, first called homocore, was first mentioned in a Toronto-based zine called JD’s. The subculture later became known as queercore, to be more inclusive as the community grew. Queercore was created because members of the LGBTQ+ community were outcasted by the local gay and punk communities. In Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution, Larry-Bob Roberts, the publisher of zine Holy Tit Clamps, says that the movement didn’t have political goals, only cultural, “It was more about being able to self-express and to connect with other people.”
Deke Nihilson, former co-editor of Homocore zine, also stated in Queercore that in his midwestern scene, “If you showed up, you belonged there. Nobody was in a position to say that you weren’t.”
Artists are considered queercore not only for the LGBTQ+ members but for speaking on their queer experiences in their music. If you want to start listening to this genre of music, here are six different artists you should listen to.
1. Pansy Division
Pansy Division was formed in San Francisco in 1991. They were the first band to be open about their sexualities. Their debut album, Undressed, was released in 1993 by Lookout Records. Pansy Division has released seven studio albums, but it doesn’t look like they will make another. The band is still active and plans to play a show in Oakland, California, in 2022.
2. Against Me!
Against Me! was formed in Naples, Florida, in 1997. They started being considered a queercore band when lead singer and guitarist, Lara Jane Grace, came out as a transgender woman in 2012. In 2014, they released Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which discusses Grace’s journey as a transgender woman. This album also won a GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Award for Outstanding Music Artist, given to musicians who use their music and performances to accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community.
3. Tribe 8
Tribe 8, one of the first queercore groups, was active from 1991 to 2005. Their five-album discography discusses transgender issues and situations involving their sexuality. They were considered controversial for their lyrical content and their live performances. Lynn Breedlove, lead singer, would wear a strap-on and be shirtless while performing.
4. G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit)
G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) had a short career, active from 2014 to 2016. They released two EP’s, DEMO and Trans Day of Revenge. In the summer of 2016, Epitaph Records offered the band a record deal which they denied. The members rejected this because of Epitaph’s affiliation with Warner Bros and did not want to contribute to a big organization. Since the breakup, all of the money made from their Bandcamp is donated to Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter, a homeless shelter in Olympia, Washington.
Worriers is a Brooklyn based band formed in 2011. They have released two projects in the last two years, You or Someone You Know (2020) and The Old Friends EP (2021), just in time for their 2022 cross-country tour. Their most popular song, “They/Them/Theirs,” is from their 2015 album Imaginary Life, which is about going against the gender binary.
6. The Hirs Collective
The Hirs Collective is something you have never seen before. In this band, there are no permanent members. Two of the band’s contributors are also on this list, Lara Jane Grace from Against Me! and Sadie Switchblade from G.L.O.S.S. In 2021, they released an album with 95 songs on it, called The Third 100 Songs, three years after their last release. According to The Hirs Collective’s bio on Spotify, they are there to “destroy capitalist misogynist scum, empower women, people of color, and the LGBTQIA+ community” – and they are doing a fantastic job.