Let's get this out of the way: Gay men make dance music while lesbians create folk music — it's true! And yet there are plenty of other shades to the queer music rainbow besides pink and green. A more valid generalization is that gay male musicians often prefer modes of expression that celebrate artifice while lesbians tend to favor naturalism, although there are plenty of exceptions to that rule as well: Consider for example Bob Mould and Husker Du's proto-emo, or the finessed camp of k.d. lang. It's not correct that gay and lesbian musicians automatically disregard humanity's most commonly assumed gender roles: Think of a leather-clad Rob Halford making his entrance at Judas Priest concerts atop a miked Harley, or the quieter, more sensitive moments of an Indigo Girls show. But it does stand to reason that homosexual orientation as well as the inferior social status that typically comes with the package can make gays and lesbians hyperaware of such gender roles, and more likely to play with them in their music.
Whether it's Bessie Smith righteously dismissing the haters in "Ain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do" or Antony & the Johnsons teaming up with Boy George for "You Are My Sister," there's plenty of that kind of playfulness in eMusic's Queer Dozen. Check these out and open your mind to gay music: You might even know and love some of it already.