Folk artists have long championed the quest for civil rights, from the movement for equal rights for African-Americans to the immigrants' movement and the gay rights movement. Here's a look at some folk artists who have long championed the rights of LGBT people.
Singer-songwriter Holly Near has long been an ardent activist and supporter of peace and equal rights for all people, be they African-American, gay, female, or any other marginalized group. She's often considered one of the most gifted topical songwriters of her time, and is one of the most devoted champions for equal rights. Her song "I Ain't Afraid" (purchase/download), which addresses the widespread use of religion as an excuse for discrimination, is an excellent anthem for civil rights.
Much like Holly Near, Ani DiFranco has been a long-time advocate for equal rights for all people. As a bisexual woman, DiFranco has had to answer to all sorts of inquiries about what exactly that means, and she's hardly shied away from the topic. In fact, one of her most popular songs, "In or Out" (purchase/download) directly addresses the common misconceptions about bisexuality.
The Indigo Girls have been one of the most notable folk-pop duos of the last 25 years, with their intricate counterpoint harmonies and memorable songs like "Closer to Fine." They're also both activists dedicated to environmental causes, Native American issues, and equal civil rights. Their song "It's Alright" (purchase/download) talks about the knowledge that, eventually, gay folks will be afforded equal rights.
Janis Ian has long been a champion of the gay rights movement and an out lesbian singer-songwriter. Her song "Matthew" on her album Billies Bones was a clear and moving tribute to the death of Matthew Shephard. In it, she sings, "It's not who you love, but whether you can."