32 Queer Covers Of Songs by Straight Artists Because Everything’s Better When It’s Gayer

This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated and re-vamped with new artists and songs in February 2021.

My friends, I love a cover. I love covers so much I watched every season of Glee. But most of all I love queer covers, aka queer people covering songs. Give me a gay cover! Let us share in this love together? I attempted to only pick songs that had videos where things happened, like people singing for example, but some covers were too good to skip even though their video was audio-only. ALSO I was looking for songs usually by male artists about women so we could have some pronoun fun but also there are exceptions to that as well because of goodness and my personal desires. I also was looking for covers of songs by straight artists but I have indicated where that premise was slightly compromised. Lez begin!


Miya Folick, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” (Death Cab for Cutie)


Tracy Chapman, “Stand By Me” (Ben E King)


Alex G, “Perfect” (Ed Sheehan)


Joy Oladokun, “My Girl” (The Temptations)


Marika Hackman, “Between the Bars” (Elliot Smith)


Be Steadwell, “Use Somebody” (Kings of Leon)


Brandi Carlile, “Wildflowers” (Tom Petty)


Julia Nunes & dodie & Orla Garland, “God is a Woman”  (Ariana Grande)

(as far as i know, orla is not queer, but the other two people in this are!)


Hayley Kiyoko, “Mr Brightside” (The Killers)


Rebecca Black, “Love Me Two Times” (The Doors)

Note: Jim Morrisson may have been bisexual.


Jessica Betts, “I Kissed a Girl” (Katy Perry)


Japanese Breakfast, “Head Over Heels” (Tears for Fears)


King Princess, “Happy Together” (The Turtles)


Joan Jett, “Crimson and Clover” (Tommy James)


Janelle Monae, “I Want You Back” (The Jackson 5)


Sara Ramirez, “Chasing Cars” (Snow Patrol)

Unfortunately she is not the only singer on this track but we have what we have


Demi Lovato, “Take Me To Church” (Hozier)


Kai Mata, “Riptide” (Vance Joy)


k.d. lang, “Crazy” (Patsy Cline)


Katie Melua, “Just Like Heaven” (The Cure)


Melissa Etheridge, “Brown Eyed Girl” (Van Morrison)


Indigo Girls, “Romeo and Juliet” (Dire Straits)


Holly Miranda, “Lover You Should’ve Come Over” (Jeff Buckley)


Me’Shell NdegéOcello, “Who Is He and What Is He To You” (Bill Withers)


St. Vincent, “Lithium” (Nirvana cover, performed with surviving members of Nirvana)

Note: Kurt Cobain was possibly bisexual but this has not been definitively declared. Also Pat Smear is bisexual.


Lily Brown, “Rude” (Magic)

This song is actually unbearable in its heterosexual version but delightful when it’s gay.


Mary Lambert, “Teenage Dirtbag” (Wheatus)


Tayla Parks, “What’s Going On” (Marvin Gaye)


Halsey “Sucker” (Jonas Brothers)


K’s Choice, “Yellow” (Coldplay)


Tegan & Sara, “Dancing in the Dark” (Bruce Springsteen)


Santana Lopez and Brittany S Pierce, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (Whitney Houston)

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3228 articles for us.

99 Comments

  1. For some reason the second half of this list won’t load on any internet-having device I own, but I’m hoping against hope that someone has finally made a queer lady cover of “Scotty Doesn’t Know” and that it’s on this list.

    • None of my devices will load the second half either and I may hyperventilate from the anticipation of getting to listen to it…

    • i will learn to play an instrument and start a band for the sole reason of making that happen. why have i never thought of that before? it would be so good!!!

  2. I’m waiting for somebody to cover Jesse’s Girl. I feel like that would be so good!

    Love this list, made my day so much better.

  3. Me and two of my friends played She Will Be Loved at a gig for LGBTQ charities a few months back :) It was one of those songs that if you listen too closely can feel really creepy but if you let it can sound beautiful.

    I’m gonna put most of these songs on a Youtube playlist.

  4. Wait wait wait. Julia Nunes is confirmed lesbian, queer, or bisexual??? OH MY GOD OH MY GOD how did I miss this? She was totally my middle school crush (pre queer awakening). Also, this post is my new fave thing.

  5. I serious think I need to start covering more songs..
    I also really need MK Nobilette to make an album my gosh!

  6. I don’t know how any of the members identify but Postmodern Jukebox does amazing retro style covers of pop songs and they don’t change the pronouns from the original no matter who sings it.

  7. I love Joan Jett something fierce. I saw her play a couple years ago and she is still slaying. I would not kick her out of my bed. I’m just saying.

    • Not much of joiner or one prone to fan-girlishness but I managed to get close to the stage when she started singing Crimson and Clover and suddenly Beatlemania made much more sense to me than I ever though it would….

  8. My second favorite, after Joan Jett’s “Crimson and Clover,” will always be Bratmobile’s cover of “Cherry Bomb” in which they change “Hey street boy…Your dead-end dreams don’t make you smile?” to “Hey straight girl”.

  9. I’m a huge fan of the Melissa Etheridge cover of Maggie May, but I cannot, for the life of me, find a decent version to link here. It’s tragic.

  10. Maybe I’m just having an especially emotional day but I definitely cried at least a little through about half of these.

  11. I. Love. This. So. Much.

    Joan Jett is so dreamy in that video. I definitely have it favorited on my computer. #blackhearts5ever

  12. Bruce Springsteen songs make magic queer girl covers in my opinion.
    I’ve been singing ‘dancer in the dark’ in the shower a lot recently. But my favourite to sing in the shower is ‘I’m on fire’.

  13. I came for Joan Jett’s cover of Crimson and Clover and there it is in the top five, yuhss.
    Have some more Joan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SlgRSNkWu4
    My Baby Does the Hanky Panky ;)

    *wants to brag about how I can do her growl an’ stuff but I have to finish dancing to Hanky Pank and listening to the rest of the 28 artists.

    • (I should have probably said “all genders” rather than “both genders”, I apologise. the Mefi thread is more gender-binarist.)

  14. Queer girl covers 5ever. I love any kind of cover that switches genre or changes context or subverts. This list is amazing.

  15. I am so thankful this article exists and I am especially thankful for that cover by Melissa Etheridge.

    The Alex Parks cover of “Yellow” is also pretty fabulous. I like it better than the original version.

    • I was looking through this list wondering where Alex Parks was! I pretty much prefer all of her covers to the originals

  16. Oh oh oh, plus the Electrelane cover of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire is sexy and brilliant and amazing. Writing this from my phone, otherwise I’d go find a video to share…look it up!

  17. Ferron’s Inside Out is all covers of a lesbian’s take on straight songs that influenced her growing up. She’s in her 50s, so the songs are not new. However, Walk Away Renee is just heartbreaking and brilliant.

  18. Kitty Crimes does a kickass, queerified version of the Violent Femmes’ “Lemme Go On” that I am DYING to find somewhere so I can download it!!

    (As far as I know, it’s on exactly one 8tracks playlist and one live video online)

  19. That Melissa Etheridge cover…🔥🔥🔥

    The rhythm layering, the way her patter is still part of the song…almost felt like being at a live show :’)

  20. Downtown Boys have a cover of Dancing in the Dark. The singer(or maybe it’s the band in general) gives off queer & anti-capitalist vibes.

  21. I feel like there should be some Grace Petrie here somewhere since she spent all summer covering songs but now I can’t find them anywhere because I don’t have instagram :(

  22. there’s a version of The Highwayman (useless name, I know. especially when you’re listening to folk music) that’s sung by a lady who is talking about how the singer became a bandit for their wife.
    also, if you want queer (gender) folk songs, In London so Fair is about a girl dressing up as a boy to become a sailor

    • You are referring to the title track from the debut album by The Highwomen. They are a folk/country all-female “supergroup” answer to the old-school all-male Highwaymen. The group is Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby and Maren Morris. The whole album is AMAZING and also includes a lesbian cowboy song!

  23. if you think you are real music love then every one look for spotify premium so getting spotify premium for free just vist on Modlelo

  24. Queer person covering straight people songs and making them gay is kind of my schtick, but with less pop than this list. In the pre-pandemic times, I did schtick-y gigs where I’d cover hardcore, metal, grunge, and punk on piano & talk about music history. I’ve got two albums (one of punk/metal/grunge covers and one called Creepy Christmas: Carols in Minor Keys).

    https://open.spotify.com/album/6Qda1iXM6Ix6oXtmA6jFoT?si=yfPUPUgVSVygTNotq0HWrg

    Anyway, cool list. Enjoyed this.

  25. This is a great list. Two Princes by Spin Doctors is another song waiting to be queered.

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