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Gay Pride Anthems – Read This Article to Find Out the Most Iconic Gay Anthems of All Time

  • Jun.04.2021
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gay pride anthems

A Guide to the Best Gay Anthems

Do you need a gay pride playlist to get you amped up for the whole month of June? This guide to popular gay songs will help you celebrate pride all month long with some of the most iconic gay pride anthems. Whether you want to find a song about gay culture, a song about gay rights, and LGBT anthem, or an answer to the question “What is the gayest song ever?” This gay anthems list has it all.

Classic Gay Songs

Some of the best gay songs ever came out around the first celebrations of LGBTQ+ pride in the 1970s which followed the famous Stonewall Inn uprising of 1969. It is important to remember the legacy of the Stonewall Inn uprising, where Stormé DeLarverie, a self-identified butch lesbian, was violently arrested by the police during a night out at the Stonewall Inn bar. This bar was one of the few places at the time when the LGBTQ+ community was able to express their identities without the threat of violence or judgment. The arrest was said to be a catalyst that brought about the uprising led by Marsha P. Johnson, a black drag queen who was believed to have thrown the first brick.

The very first pride parade marked the one-year anniversary after Stonewall and people marched to begin a tradition that would spread around the world. Pride was then established as an essential time to celebrate diversity and freedom of gender and sexuality, educate the public about LGBTQ+ issues and fight for equal rights. Some of the most timeless top gay anthems from influential artists like Donna Summer, Queen, Diana Ross and Elton John were released in this era of disco and the beginnings of EDM. The 1970s-1980s marked the era of ball culture and disco dancing, a tradition that continues to inspire and influence current pride festivities and celebrations today.

The Village People – YMCA

Hailing from New York City’s Gay neighborhood Grenwitch Village, The Village People was a six-person group who started out performing in gay clubs and became hugely successful after the release of their song “YMCA.” At the time that this song became very popular, not all of the band members were open about their sexuality due to the fact that the repercussions for being openly gay in the 1970s were far greater than they are today. The Village People paved the way for openly gay artists to create hit music and find success on a grand scale.

Donna Summer – I Feel Love

Donna Summer, known to many as the queen of disco, was a true 1970s icon. Summer’s tracks are essential to any gay disco music playlist with their timeless dreamy sounds and groovy beats. Her 1977 hit “I Feel Love” was a new sound that many say made way for today’s EDM (electronic dance music). This track was a collaboration between Summers herself, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte.

Dianna Ross – I’m Coming Out

Dianna Ross is a legendary artist who has performed many a disco gay anthem. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross sang top hits such as “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough,” “Baby Love,” “It’s My House” and “I’m Coming Out.” “I’m Coming Out” was certainly a pumped-up song to dance to for many a person celebrating pride or dancing in a Gay club in the 1970s.

Gay Dance Anthems

If you are looking for some gay party songs, here are a couple of suggestions that might get you in the party mood. This list features some truly enchanting party music that is played in many gay clubs and bars to get the people moving.

SOPHIE – Lemonade

One of the best artists to look into for gay club anthems, Scottish musician SOPHIE was not just a musical artist, but an inspiration for LGBTQ+ youth. As a transwoman, she inspired many people to embrace their identity and creative individuality. SOPHIE’s love for music began at a young age when her father played her electronic dance music cassette tapes which she adored and found inspiring. Her 2014 song “Lemonade” was incredibly well received. In 2018, SOPHIE was nominated for a Grammy Award for her album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides. Her recent death was mourned by fans globally and came as a saddening shock to the many who adored her. She died in an accident in January 2021 at the age of 34.

Azealia Banks – 212

Described by many as their “problematic fave,” Azealia Banks has certainly caused some controversy in her time. She has been criticized on multiple occasions for her outlandish opinions of social and political topics on social media. Despite this, she continues to attract and sustain adoring fans. Her song “212” is one hell of a pump up song, and when it plays in a club or at a party no one can stop themselves from bopping along to the beat. “212” makes many people’s list of gay anthem songs, so have a listen to decide if it’s worthy of your playlist.

Scissor Sisters – Let’s Have a Kiki

This ode to camp and ball culture is one for the books. It could be described as one of the most gay songs around with its many references to popular gay terminology. The song “Let’s Have a Kiki” refers to the party or gathering called a “Kiki”, a term that was coined in Black American gay social culture. The Scissor Sisters are an electronic/dance/pop performing group formed in 2001 in the gay club scene in New York City. The group disbanded in 2012 but there are rumors that a reunion is not out of the question.

Rosalía – Con Altura

Rosalía, born in Barcelona, Spain, is breaking out as a globally aclaimed artist with songs that would fit perfectly into your gay dance anthem playlist. Her song “Con Altura” is about living your life in whatever way you want and having fun. It is about living life to the fullest, maybe with a slight mischievous twist. Rosalía was recently nominated for best new artist at the 2020 Grammy Awards. It would be fair to say that her music is taking the world by storm.

LGBT Pride Songs

gay anthem songs

Your list of gay songs might feel incomplete without a song about pride or two. These songs, whether they be gay icon songs or songs about identity, are great to listen to during pride month, or any time that you want to feel good about your individuality, your identity, and the ways that you express yourself.

Lady Gaga- Born This Way

Lady Gaga is a true icon in gay popular culture. She has written and performed many songs that have delved into themes of freedom of expression, whether that be in terms of gender, sexuality, creativity, or living your life in a way that disrupts the status quo. Gaga’s “Born This Way” is totally a gay anthem for your list of celebratory songs that inspire pride and self-love. Other important songs to listen to by Gaga include “Paparazzi”, “Disco Stick”, and “Alejandro”.

Hayley Kiyoko – Girls Like Girls

Hayley Kiyoko came out as a lesbian at the age of 11 and has made LGBTQ+ advocacy and activism a big part of her musical and personal career. Her song “Girls Like Girls” is an important anthem for the LGBTQ+, specifically for bisexual and lesbian women who may feel less represented in the media and in popular music.

Ru Paul – Supermodel (You Better Work)

This pop hit by the one and only Ru Paul is played throughout the hit show Ru Paul’s Drag Race and is recognizable by anyone who enjoys the show about absolutely dazzling drag queens. Ru Paul is truly an LGBTQ+ icon, bringing drag and diversity in gender expression to a mainstream audience and showing the world the stories of so many drag queens of all walks of life. This song makes you want to strut your stuff on the runway and show the judges what you’ve got.

Charli XCX – Vroom Vroom

Charli XCX’s flavor of electro-pop has made her an essential feature of many gays anthem playlists. The U.K.-based star came out with the hit song “Vroom Vroom” in 2016. This song can really make anyone feel like dancing and feeling themselves whether they’re on the dance floor or blasting this bop in the car. The lyrics shout out an unapologetic message of enjoying yourself and your lifestyle.

Sam Smith – HIM

Sam Smith, who uses the pronouns they/them, wrote the song “HIM” recently about their complicated and difficult struggles with sexuality. Smith who has a voice that vibrates through the souls of their listeners released the song “HIM” in 2017, two years before coming out to the public as gender non-binary. Sam Smith has been an LGBTQ+ advocate and activist since long before they came out as non-binary, and their iconic songs about queer love and identity have touched the hearts of many.

Robyn – Dancing on my Own

Robyn, a Swedish lesbian singer/songwriter, is definitely an artist to add to your LGBTQ+ anthem list. Her song “Dancing on my Own” is an ode to unrequited love and references the singer’s favorite genre of the sad-gay-disco music. Another hit to check out by Robyn is “Call Your Girlfriend,” which is the first thing you hear when listening to the popular podcast of the same name.

Janelle Monáe – I Like That

Janelle Monáe, who is openly queer and pansexual, released the hit song “I Like That” in 2018. The soul/pop sound and lyrics with a strong message of self-love and acceptance make this song a great addition to any LGBTQ+ anthem playlist. Janelle Monáe is not only a singer/songwriter, she has also starred as an actress in top movies, including a film that is required viewing for pride month: Moonlight. She has also acted in other films with important social and political messages, including Hidden Figures and Harriet.

Recent Famous Gay Songs

Recently, a couple of songs have been released that have really made a statement about LGBTQ+ rights, culture and community.

Lil’ Nas X – Montero (Call Me By Your Name)

Something of a gay hymn, Lil Nas X debuted his newest song in 2021, and it quickly received a lot of media attention, much of it negative from conservative and Christian folks. There were many reactions to the song and music video painting Lil Nas X as evil and sacrilegious. The music video for this song depicts Lil Nas X giving the devil a lap dance, which is an image that offended and angered many religious people. This gave way to many twitter arguments between listeners and Lil Nas X, during which he pointed out the hypocrisy of many arguments against him. In one statement, Lil Nas X said, “I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the [things] you all preached would happen to me because I was gay. So I hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”

Kehlani – Can I

Kehlani, a queer pop artist, released a new video in 2020 for her new hit song “Can I”. This video was what Kehlani called an “ode to sex workers.” The video features Kehlani singing while browsing through multiple screens of sexy dancers on cams. In a statement about the video, Kehlani says “It is often the lives and livelihoods of those who do street-level work that is impacted by criminalizing policies and cultural stigmatization. Overwhelmingly, those folks are Black trans women, Black cisgender women, and other Black queer and trans people—including youth.”

While these anthems are certainly iconic, they are not the only LGBTQ+ anthems that exist. There are so many songs that give people a feeling of pride and freedom to be who they are. Explore whatever music makes you feel the freest, most understood, and cared for, or simply whatever makes you want to get up and dance your cares away. Celebrate pride however you see fit this month, and if you happen to have this playlist going in the background, I hope it makes you move your body to the beat from time to time.

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