Y'all Means All: Six Religious Music Stars Who Are Vocal LGBTQ+ Allies

Jason A. Michael

The LGBTQ+ community has been a constant punching bag this year for conservative-leaning religious politicians and their followers, especially, but this take is only part of the story. Plenty of Christians and members of other faith communities ascribe to affirming, welcoming beliefs where LGBTQ+ folks are not only tolerated, but fully accepted into the fold. These six music superstars have been open about their beliefs, which include religion and LGBTQ+ acceptance under the same big umbrella. As Christian country star Miranda Lambert sings, "Y'all means all."

Amy Grant 

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Amy Grant. Courtesy Photo

Amy Grant and her country music star husband Vince Gill just made a show of their queer support by hosting Grant’s niece’s wedding at their Hidden Trace Farm in Franklin, Tennessee. Grant did not name her niece but identified her as a lesbian, adding that it was the first “bride and bride wedding” on their property. Grant recently told The Washington Post that her niece coming out was “a gift to our whole family, just to widen the experience of our whole family."

“Honestly, from a faith perspective, I do always say, ‘Jesus, you just narrowed it down to things: love God and love each other. I mean, hey, that’s pretty simple.”

Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds

Dan Reynolds came to be a queer ally over time. Raised Mormon, he struggled with reconciling his faith with childhood friends he found out were gay. Eventually, Reynolds followed his heart and decided to support LGBTQ+ rights. Today, Reynolds, who regularly performs at the LoveLoud Festival in Salt Lake City, is bringing up his young daughter to love everyone.

“My little girl, she’s raised to believe what she believes in her heart, and so as a little kid who’s raised that way, this is such an easy concept for her,” Reynolds told Pride Source’s Chris Azzopardi in 2018. “She’s 5 years old and I can say, ‘What does it mean to be gay?’ and ‘How does that feel?’ and to her I didn’t even have to teach her that concept. It’s like, of course people should love who they want, and you should never bully, and she understands all those concepts.”

Garth Brooks

The country music superstar has long been an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. This is likely due in no small part to the fact that his late sister, Betsy Smittle, was a lesbian. In 1993, his single “We Shall Be Free,” which included the line “When we’re free to love anyone we choose,” was actually boycotted by some country radio stations. More recently, Brooks, who is headed out on tour in the spring, spoke about the impact of the song to Billboard. "That line was about everything from interracial marriage and marriages crossing religions to same-sex marriages," he said. "If you truly love somebody, that's what I'm hoping, as a child of God, that we're doing. That whole line was just about, 'C'mon, man, see past the walls and love each other.'"

Dolly Parton

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Dolly Parton. Photo: Stacie Hukeba Courtesy of Butterfly Records LLC

Obviously, we have to include Dolly Parton, the original queer icon, on the list. Dolly has always embraced her LGBTQ+ fans. In a 2014 Pride Source interview, Chris Azzopardi asked Dolly why it was important for her to stand up for queer rights. “Why wouldn’t I stand up for everybody, for all people? In the country field, we’re brought up in spiritual homes, we’re taught to 'judge not lest you be judged,' and it’s always been a mystery to me how people jump all over things just to criticize, condemn and judge other people when that is so un-Christian – and they claim to be good Christians! We’re supposed to love one another. We’re supposed to accept and love one another. Whether we do or not, that’s a different story. But that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine 

In a series of 2014 tweets, contemporary Christian group Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine came out in support of queer people, and in particular same-sex marriage — long before it was even legal nationwide. As reported by GLAAD, the tweets quickly proved controversial. But Haseltine stood by his statements. “I just don't see a negative effect to allowing gay marriage,” read one tweet. “No societal breakdown, no war on traditional marriage. ?? Anyone?” And, in another he wrote, “I’m trying to make sense of the conservative argument. But it doesn’t hold up to basic scrutiny. Feels akin to women’s suffrage.”

Patti LaBelle

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Patti LaBelle. Courtesy Photo

Much like Dolly, LaBelle has been showing love to her queer fans since the '70s, when she was a member of funk/soul group LaBelle. The soul legend has been sitting down regularly to chat with Pride Source since 2001. In 2021, LaBelle, who calls herself "the original drag queen," spoke to Page Six about her adoring queer fanbase. “I always accepted everybody,” she said. “And I think they saw [in] me someone that they could spill their hearts to. And they just follow me."

In a 2016 interview with the Washington Post, LaBelle spoke openly about loving the gay community and God. "I'm still the Patti LaBelle who accepts gay people," she said, "while a lot of churches won't accept gay people."