As Pride Month approaches, it’s essential to acknowledge the contributions of LGBTQ artists in shaping the industry’s landscape. It’s also the perfect time to reflect on some classic and modern songs about the LGBTQ experience — from powerful ballads to infectious dance-floor bangers, we’ve selected a top 10 of the best LGBTQ songs to blast all June (and year!) long.
1. “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
Kicking off our list is the timeless anthem of resilience and empowerment, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Released in 1978, this disco classic became an instant hit within the LGBTQ community. The opening lyrics, “At first, I was afraid, I was petrified,” strike a chord, resonating profoundly with those who have faced adversity. But the energy quickly evolves into an upbeat tempo as Gaynor’s vocals soar. She delivers a resounding message of self-affirmation as she sings, “I’ve got all my life to live / And I’ve got all my love to give / and I’ll survive.” Together, these dynamic elements create a musical masterpiece that continues to uplift generations and inspires them to embrace their own resilience.
2. “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper
Another iconic LGBTQ anthem, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, captures the essence of embracing one’s authentic self while allowing reliance on others. Released in 1986, the song’s lyrics, “But I see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors, and that’s why I love you,” remind us of the importance of celebrating sincere expression. The lyrics “So don’t be afraid to let them show / Your true colors / True colors are beautiful / Like a rainbow,” serve as a heartfelt message of acceptance and support within the LGBTQ community, whose symbol, the rainbow flag, is alluded to in the lines.
3. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
No discussion about LGBTQ anthems would be complete without mentioning Lady Gaga’s massive hit, “Born This Way.” Released in 2011, the song quickly became an anthem for self-empowerment and acceptance. Its lyrics, “No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I’m on the right track, baby, I was born to survive,” boldly champion the idea that love and self-expression transcend all boundaries. Although not a gay music artist herself, Gaga’s unapologetic embrace of individuality has made her an icon within the LGBTQ community, and this song has become a rallying cry for embracing one’s true self.
4. “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert
In 2012, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released “Same Love,” a poignant song that addresses LGBTQ rights and challenges prevalent stereotypes. The powerful lyrics, “And I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to,” challenge the notion of sexual orientation as a choice, emphasizing the importance of love and equality for all. The inclusion of Mary Lambert’s emotionally charged chorus further amplifies the message of acceptance, making this track an anthem for LGBTQ rights and social change.
5. “Girls Like Girls” by Hayley Kiyoko
Hayley Kiyoko’s 2015 song “Girls Like Girls” is an electropop anthem that celebrates same-sex attraction and explores the complexities of queer love and relationships. With lyrics like “Girls like girls, like boys do, nothing new,” the song and its music video offer a refreshing representation of LGBTQ experiences, resonating with individuals who often face challenges expressing their feelings and desires.
6. “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
From the 2017 film The Greatest Showman, “This Is Me” quickly became an inspirational anthem for people from all walks of life. Sung by Keala Settle, the song captures the experience of those who have felt marginalized or different, offering a powerful message of self-acceptance and celebration. The lyrics, “I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be. This is me,” encapsulate the spirit of Pride Month and the LGBTQ community’s unyielding determination to be seen and heard.
7. “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross
The disco hit “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross was released in 1980 and instantly became an iconic Pride anthem. The song’s lyrics about embracing one’s true identity and living life on one’s own terms have made it a favorite among the LGBTQ community. Diana Ross’s powerful vocals and infectious energy make “I’m Coming Out” a song that celebrates the freedom and liberation of the LGBTQ community.
8. “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Lil Nas X
From one of the biggest gay music icons of today, Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” is a gay anthem that caused a sensation upon its release for its provocative music video and its embrace of queer desire and sexuality. The song’s message of self-love and its celebration of queer relationships have inspired and emboldened LGBTQ listeners, reminding them that they deserve to live and love freely and openly.
9. “Rainbow” – Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves tenderly nudges listeners to keep going through the hard times in her 2018 ballad, “Rainbow.” With lyrics like “’Cause the sky has finally opened / The rain and wind stopped blowin’ / But you’re stuck out in the same ol’ storm again / You hold tight to your umbrella / Well, darlin’, I’m just tryin’ to tell ya / That there’s always been a rainbow / Hangin’ over your head,” the song has become an anthem for LGBTQ individuals, reminding them that they are not alone and that there is always a chance for healing and happiness.
10. “Express Yourself” – Madonna (1989)
Let’s finish this top 10 on a bold note. Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” a dance-pop anthem, encourages individuals to embrace their authentic selves and express their desires freely via lyrics like, “Express yourself / So you can respect yourself.” The song’s message of authenticity resonates with LGBTQ individuals, reminding them of the importance of living their lives without fear of judgment.
A Final “Big Picture” Reminder
LGBTQ music artists have fearlessly used their platforms to advocate for equality, visibility, and acceptance. From the disco era to today, gay pride songs and LGBTQ anthems have become symbols of resilience, empowerment, and love that resonate deeply within the community.
Check out Deezer’s selection of Pride Month playlists, and get ready to celebrate love in all its forms!
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