June is Pride Month in Toronto, as well as in cities and towns around the world. It’s a time to celebrate and to show love and support for the LGBTQ+ community. For those members of the community itself, it’s also a time to mark the accomplishments and contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals in various areas of society, most certainly in the arts.

Whether we’re looking at the performances and recordings of musicians such as Fred Hersch, Ma Rainey, Gary Burton, Patricia Barber, and Andy Bey, or the work of composers including Lorenz Hart, Cole Porter, and Billy Strayhorn, the world of jazz would be a little emptier without the contributions of LGBTQ+ artists and composers.

So, to mark Pride month, here’s a deeper look at what the LGBTQ+ world has given to the world of jazz, this time with the spotlight on some of the classic composers (and their tunes) of the Great American Songbook.