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The 10 Biggest LGBTQ Music Moments of 2023: Sam Smith, Troye Sivan & More

From queer artists reaching career-highs on the charts to a massive controversy surrounding a can of beer, 2023 proved to be pandemonium for the LGBTQ community.

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that the LGBTQ+ experience in the music industry was a lot like the LGBTQ+ experience everywhere else in 2023 — complete and utter chaos.

There’s no denying that the community faced massive lows throughout the year. Alongside the introduction of record-breaking amounts of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the U.S., LGBTQ+ performers experienced new levels of scrutiny and bald-faced bigotry for their work in 2023. Some performers were questioned over the brand of beer they chose to drink, while others were called “demonic” and “satanic” for simply sporting a pair of horns during a televised performance.

Yet in a year that was often defined by its setbacks for queer and trans folks, the highs experienced by LGBTQ+ performers felt especially high. Between making history with firsts at awards ceremonies like the Grammys and using their platforms to advocate on behalf of their communities, LGBTQ+ artists spent much of the last 12 months working to make both the world of music and the world at large a better place for themselves and their fans. As Ashnikko told Billboard earlier this year, there is always good reason for optimism. “There is a future of forehead kisses, family meals, picnics in the sun, board game nights, holding hands in public, french toast for breakfast, feeling held in every sense of the word, a safe place in this world,” she said in her love letter to the LGBTQ community. “I feel so hopeful … for us.”

In a year that was defined by its unpredictability for the LGBTQ+ community, Billboard is taking a look back at the biggest stories in queer music from 2023 below:

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