When all is said and done, 2021 was, at times, a breath of fresh air after the horror show that was 2020. For the LGBTQ community, though, the year came more as a mixed bag — while the community got to see the partial return of Pride celebrations and major coming out moments from stars all across the entertainment industry, we also watched in dismay as 2021 became a record-setting year for anti-LGBTQ legislation on the state level. With wide-sweeping triumphs immediately dampened by painful losses, 2021 was difficult for queer people around the world.
Luckily, the community was offered comfort by the profound musical stylings of LGBTQ artists throughout the year. Whether it was chart-topping pop stars redefining what it means to be queer in the music industry or indie up-and-comers finally enjoying their moment in the sun, 2021 brought music that felt like a reassuring hug after a hard day — filled with comfort, love and a whole lot of relaxation.
Check out Billboard’s picks for the 20 best albums by LGBTQ artists released in 2021.