Hardcore punk has a long, varied history. Originating in the late ’70s as an offshoot of punk, hardcore is generally faster, louder and more aggressive than other punk spinoffs. There’s always been a strong political component to hardcore music, with most bands being on the far-left end of the spectrum. Given that left-wing leaning of hardcore music, it makes sense that queer hardcore bands are out there, calling out homophobia with a guttural yell.
While the outstanding band Against Me!, fronted by trans woman Laura Jane Grace, is usually the first band people think of when it comes to queer hardcore, there are a number of other acts fighting the good fight. Seminal rock magazine Kerrang just published a look at eight such bands, and that’s a great start for digging into the world of queer hardcore.
Queer hardcore should also not be confused with queercore, though the two are somewhat related. Queercore is more of a movement in itself that can include many genres — like the powerpop of Hunx and His Punx or Gravy Train!!!!‘s electropop — whereas queer hardcore is an offshoot of hardcore punk. While some hardcore bands may identify as queercore, not all queer-leaning hardcore is queercore. Get it?
One queer hardcore band that does identify as queercore is Limp Wrist. They’ve been going since the late ’90s, and the band’s best known song is “I Love Hardcore Boys, I Love Boys Hardcore.” Stick to Your Guns, on the other hand, is a hardcore band that isn’t queercore, even though their songs speak to the queer experience.
The Stick to Your Guns track “Life in a Box” calls out hypocritical, homophobic Christians with lines like “You’re looking for more / You follow a whore / On fire for Christ but your life is lukewarm / Evil and foul to the lives you dismiss / And I hate the fact that I let myself be pushed to this.”
The song even ends with a Henry Rollins sample: “Why don’t you run and find a God who likes you?”
And queer hardcore bands aren’t just fighting the good fight through their music; many also stage benefits for LGBT charities. These bands are unapologetic about everything — their beliefs, their queerness and their music — and we love them for it.
Do you have a favorite queer hardcore band? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image of Limp Wrist courtesy of StraightEdgeWorldWide Media
This story was originally published on April 17, 2018.