8 U.S. Hardcore Bands Paving the Way for LGBTQ Today

Taylor Markarian​ runs through the best hardcore bands championing LGBTQ rights and culture right now.

8 U.S. Hardcore Bands Paving the Way for LGBTQ Today

Today’s hardcore scene prides itself on the creation of the so-called “safe space”. Despite its thorny exterior, modern hardcore is supposed to be about accepting and supporting everyone in the community. It’s a genre for societal rejects; a haven for the unwanted.

And yet, despite this creed, the scene still lacks bands who identify as representatives or defenders of the LGBTQ movement. Punk has the revolutionary Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! and many other bands at the forefront of the cause, but such leadership is more difficult to find in hardcore.

Fortunately, the scene isn’t completely barren. There are still a handful of acts paving the way for the LGBTQ community and opening up some much needed discussion. Here are a few of the most outspoken.


Sharptooth – Clever Girl

This feminist hardcore band are rising through the ranks very quickly. Mentored by Vanna’s Davey Muise and picked up by Pure Noise Records, their debut record Clever Girl speaks to subjects such as sexuality and abuse. Perhaps the most poignant moment on the record for LGBTQ rights is the song No Sanctuary, which was written about violence against the LGBTQ community and inspired by the 2016 Orlando shooting at a gay nightclub. The stand out lyric, ‘Every time that you say ‘faggot’ is a bullet through my head,’ puts into sharp focus the severity of the prejudice that exists.


HIRS  The Sexxxy Flexxxi Theme Song

Dubbing themselves “a collective of freaks and faggots”, this brash grindcore duo are all about making as much noise as possiblec. Spring of 2018 sees +HIRS+ playing a month and a half of consecutive shows for their ‘Coming out of our coffin. No more dead trans girls.’ tour. The relentless schedule, combined with their fearless attitude, proves that they give themselves entirely to the LGBTQ movement every second of every day.

Senses Fail

Senses Fail – Gold Jacket, Green Jacket...

Senses Fail’s Buddy Nielsen has been repping the phrase “queer hardcore” ever since he came out in 2014, via an interview with the 100 Words Or Less Podcast. He has even created merch sporting the same phrase, which many people in the scene now wear with confidence. Following the publication of that groundbreaking interview, Buddy committed to being extremely open and passionate about the LGBTQ movement. One of the band’s heaviest records, Pull The Thorns From Your Heart, was the musical result of his coming to terms with himself as queer.

Old Wounds

Old Wounds – Son Of No One

Anyone who has seen Old Wounds perform knows the sight of pride flags on amps very well. (If not, then check out the above music video for Son Of No One.) The formidable hardcore outfit stand tall in support of the LGBTQ community by raising pride flags at every show and donating some of the band’s profits to LGBTQ charities. They are dedicated to letting fans know that all are accepted at an Old Wounds show.

Stray From The Path

Stray From The Path – Damien

Stray From The Path do not mince words. This band exist specifically to provide a platform for its members’ social and political views. The band vocally supports LGBTQ rights – and human rights, in general – in their songs, music videos (see the above video for Damien), and interviews. The band even did a satirical interview with YouTuber/scenester Jarrod Alonge about their stance on homosexuality.

Hollow Bones

Hollow Bones – Altruistic Lung

During the writing process for their debut LP, Lionheart, Hollow Bones guitarist/vocalist Sharon Malfesi underwent a period of self-discovery. The melodic hardcore band’s record was, in part, the result of her struggle to come to terms with her sexuality. She and the rest of the band preach love of all kinds, both on their recordings and the stage. This quickly rising band are only at the beginning of their career, and have much more music and many more messages to share. 

Limp Wrist

Limp Wrist live at Fed Up Fest 2014

This raging hardcore punk group have been pushing the limits since the late ’90s. Just take one look at the album cover for the queercore band’s record, Facades, and you’ll understand how unapologetic its four gay members are about their sexuality. Limp Wrist offer their unfiltered, unadulterated thoughts and feelings on homophobia and conservative policies on each and every track. This bitchin’ bunch aren’t afraid to aggressively lay it all out there. 

Stick To Your Guns

Stick To Your Guns – The Reach For Me: "Forgiveness Of Self"

Like Stray From The Path, Stick To Your Guns are a socially conscious and socially active band, using music to comment on subjects from domestic abuse, to the Dakota Access Pipeline, to homophobia. Songs such as Life In A Box and Life Through Western Eyes detail the LGBTQ person’s daily struggle, and the band members have been vocal about their resentment of homophobia outside of the studio as well. Not only do they give their support for the community in interviews, but they have also put on several  shows to benefit LGBT and suicide prevention charities.

Words: Taylor Markarian

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