Was the 2023 Grammy Awards the queerest ever?


Kim Petras, Sam Smith (Pic: pitpony.photography) and Beyoncé (Featureflash Photo Agency) were among the winners at the 2023 Grammy Awards

Queer artists like Sam Smith and Kim Petras scored big at the 2023 Grammy Awards as did Beyoncé, who thanked the queer community in her acceptance speech.

Petras, who sings the smash hit Unholy with Sam Smith, made history as the first openly trans woman to win a Grammy award.

The two queer performers collected the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Grammy for the track on Sunday night at a star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles hosted by Trevor Noah.

Smith and Petras also performed Unholy at the event, wowing the audience with a red-themed spectacle complete with flames, red latex, whips, a cage, and a devil-horned top hat.

The duo were introduced to the stage by seven-time Grammy winner Madonna. “So, here’s what I’ve learned after four decades in music — if they call you shocking, scandalous, troublesome, problematic, provocative or dangerous, you’re definitely on to something,” said the queen of pop.

“Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” Petras said in her acceptance speech to cheers and applause from the audience. “I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here.”

Kim also thanked Madonna for “fighting for LGBTQ rights”, adding that “I don’t think I could be here without Madonna.”


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Lesbian singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile won secured awards for her song Broken Horses (Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song) and Best Americana Album (In These Silent Days).

Brandi was introduced to the stage for her performance of Broken Horses by her wife Catherine Carlile and their two young daughters.

“Millions of viewers watching tonight fell in love with the next performer four years ago when she took the Grammys stage for the first time and delivered one of the most iconic performances in Grammy history,” Catherine said. “I was lucky enough to marry her more than a decade ago, so I was way ahead of you,” she added.

British indie lesbian duo Wet Leg, scored two wins; Best Alternative Music album (Wet Leg) and Best Alternative Music Performance (Chaise Longue), while bisexual singer-songwriter Steve Lacy took home the Best Progressive R&B Album for Gemini Rights.

Queer allies also did well at the Grammys on Sunday. Most significantly, Beyoncé (who was recently criticised for performing in Dubai) won four awards: Best Dance/Electronic Music Album (Renaissance), Best R&B Song (Cuff It), Best Dance/Electronic Recording (Break My Soul), and Best Traditional R&B Performance (Plastic Off the Sofa).

The night saw the star breaking the record for the most ever Grammy wins by any artist; now boasting a total of 32 golden gramophones to her name.

An emotional Beyoncé thanked God, her family, and her late gay uncle Johnny, to whom she had dedicated Renaissance. Beyoncé added: “I’d like to thank the queer community for your love, and for inventing this genre.”

Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, who often shows his support for the queer community – including sharing an on-stage kiss with a male dancer – scored the Best Musica Urbana Album Award for Un Verano Sin Ti.

“By awarding queer artists from so many segments of the LGBTQ community and representing so many musical genres as Grammy winners, the Recording Academy reminded the world just how impactful LGBTQ people are when it comes to creating music,” commented Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD; Vice President of Communications and Talent after the show.

“The Grammy Awards were dominated by more openly LGBTQ artists and musicians than ever before,” Ramos added.

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