50 LGBTQ+ Anthems

From vulnerable coming-outs, to encouraging community ballads, to iconic bops for your Pride festivities, here’s a list of worthy LGBTQ anthems ranging from 1980 to 2019.

I was originally going to split these iconic anthems into the respective categories of the LGBTQ acronym– lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer. But then I realized something important and extremely simple…

By ‘definition’, I’m a lesbian…but I listen to all of these tracks. I listen to songs about lesbians, gays, transgenders, bisexuals, and hell…even straights (and not just because these take up most of the music industry).

Songs, especially ones about love and acceptance, may be written from a certain perspective or dedicated to a certain group; but, we can all relate to the lyrics. (Or the songs are just straight up BOPS so you don’t even have to personally relate).

These anthems are not in any particular order. To avoid any personal bias, I shuffled them all in a playlist and this list was born….

Ok…I lied. I put “Same Love”, “Girls Like Girls”, and “Heaven” at the top…because of personal bias. Oops…I couldn’t help myself.

“Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert (2012)

via HistoryLink.org
The single’s cover art features Macklemore’s uncle John Haggerty and his partner Sean, both of whom are referred to in the song.

It would quite honestly feel wrong to start with any track other than this one. Feeding into my personal bias, “Same Love” is the first song I ever heard that directly represents the LGBTQ+ community (I’m a later bloomer, I know). In this song dedicated to the fight for marriage equality, Macklemore + Ryan Lewis serve as the ultimate queer allies. Macklemore raps about his relationship with his gay uncle, how gender-based stereotypes made him question his sexuality as a child, and his frustrations regarding the church’s and hip-hop’s positions on homosexuality. The hip-hop duo also brought on Mary Lambert, an openly lesbian Christian woman, to sing the renowned chorus:

“I can’t change / even if I tried / even if I wanted to / My love […] she keeps me warm”

Lambert also sings “I’m not crying on Sundays,” symbolizing her continued Christian religious practices and belief in God despite the Church’s historic anti-gay practices.

“Same Love” became the first top 40 song in the US to support and celebrate same-sex marriage. The track reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in the US, and #1 in both Australia and New Zealand.

I will forever be rapping and singing this track, start to finish, at the top of my lungs.

[ ℗ 2012 Macklemore, LLC. ]

“Girls Like Girls” by Hayley Kiyoko (2015)

Hayley Kiyoko is known by the community as “Lesbian Jesus,” in large part due to this very song. Her straight-forward approach (particularly in this song) to her own homosexuality helped establish her as an international LGBTQ+ icon.

Personally, this track played an extremely pivotal role in my journey to self-acceptance. As someone who didn’t know many open lesbians, this song (and its associated video) normalized girls liking girls at a time when I needed it most.

Just by the title alone, you can understand how and why this song made this anthem list — it is indeed…very gay.

“Saw your face, heard your name / Gotta get with you / Girls like girls like boys do, nothing new”

[ ℗ 2015 Steel Wool Records. ]

“Heaven” by Troye Sivan, Betty Who (2015)

“Heaven” is a personal, socially important, and brilliant song performed and co-written by Troye Sivan outlining the struggles of coming out, while specifically addressing the additional difficulties for gay members of the Church.

Troye begins the song by painfully remembering his inner struggle with his sexuality.

“The truth runs wild / Like a tear down a cheek / Trying to save face, and daddy heart break / I’m lying through my teeth / This voice inside / has been eating at me / trying to replace the love that I fake / with what we both need”

In the chorus of the song, Sivan addresses his inner conflict regarding the connection between his sexuality and his faith. Sivan’s expression in “Heaven” is so powerful and intimate that it continuously pulls on this Christian-raised gay’s heartstrings. For almost the entirety of my adolescence, I attended Catholic school– this song bears all too personal for me. The Christian faith’s historically anti-gay preachings played a dominant role in my choice to closet my sexuality and ignore any homosexual thoughts I experienced for 20 years of my life.

For those who don’t practice or know about the teachings of Christianity, the Church teaches that those who sin do not go to heaven. With homosexuality being seen as a sin within the majority of churches around the world, gays are forbidden from entering heaven. And for those who may not know about the religious stipulations of heaven and hell, being rejected from entering heaven’s gates is essentially the worst possible outcome for followers of Christianity. Christians live their life in accordance of the Bible’s teaches in order to enter heaven’s gates following their deaths.

In “Heaven,” Sivan is afraid of being gay because he fears he won’t be accepted into heaven. By the end of the track, he comes to an important conclusion: if in order to go to heaven, he has to lose a piece of himself (his sexuality), maybe heaven isn’t something he should strive for.

“Without losing a piece of me / How do I get to heaven? / Without changing a part of me / How do I get to heaven? / All my time is wasted / feeling like my heart’s mistaken, oh / So if I’m losing a piece of me / maybe I don’t want heaven?”

Sivan, in an interview with Vulture magazine, stated the origin for the song as follows:

“I went into the studio and had to revisit some pretty uncomfortable and sometimes painful memories of what it was like to be 15 years old and in the closet. I started writing this song called ‘Heaven’ about that experience.”

[ ℗ 2015 Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd. ]


**now I swear the rest are in random, unbiased order**

“Queen” by Perfume Genius (2014)

“Queen” is a brave, socially confrontational single, which deliberately mocks homophobia.

“No family is safe / When I sashay”

This is my personal favorite lyric from this song. To define sashay (according to Oxford): “walk in an ostentatious yet casual manner, typically with exaggerated movements of the hips and shoulders.” Perfume Genius is not only calling out the stereotype that all gay men walk ostentatiously, but also that family’s aren’t safe from gays– that traditional families should fear homosexual behaviors.

In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Perfume Genius’ frontman Mike Hadreas stated about “Queen”: “I’ve always been very resentful of the fact that something I have no control over would make people uncomfortable. So with this song it was more of a ‘fuck you’ thing — I was hoping other people would feel uncomfortable for once, not me.”

[ ℗ 2014 Matador Records Limited. ]

“Honey” by Kehlani (2017)

I remember when this song first came out, I almost lost my shit. I’m, quite frankly, in love with this queen and to hear her sing about ladies makes my gay heart soar.

Kehlani has personally used the word “queer” to describe herself on Twitter. However, she has made it clear in her since deleted tweets that she doesn’t enjoy labels. Our girl simply loves love, no matter the genders involved. For “Honey,” the track’s lyrics match the tone…’sweet.’ It’s a blissful, simply acoustic song about Kehlani’s attraction to women and a specific love between her and a woman.

“I like my girls just like I like my honey; sweet / A little selfish / I like my women like I like my money; green / A little jealous”

I love Kehlani endlessly — specifically for this song (and every other song she’s ever made) and for her open sexual fluidity.

[ ℗ 2017 TSNMI / Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International for the world outside of the United States. ]

“Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves (2013)

I don’t know about you, but I’m very grateful for our country ally, Kacey Musgraves. Some people claim she is queer-baiting. However, I appreciate Musgraves for serving as our queer ally in the country genre, which historically is very non-diverse and non-accepting of the LGBTQ community. On “Follow Your Arrow”, she teamed up with an out country music singer Brandy Clark to present a very straightforward message in support of the community:

“Kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls if that’s something you’re into.”

Though this gesture may seem small on the surface, it most definitely wasn’t. Even this small gesture was seen as extremely scandalous in country music at the time. So much so that the song tanked within the country genre. It was a small gesture with a big associated risk that Kacey Musgraves took for the community.

[ ℗ 2013 Mercury Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. ]

“Bloom” by Troye Sivan (2018)

Troye Sivan is one of music’s most-beloved gays. Sivan has released numerous pop songs (including the already discussed “Heaven”) regarding his homosexuality, another of which being “Bloom.” In this catchy pop track, Sivan sings about saving one’s virginity for a particular boy.

“boy, I’ll meet you right there we’ll ride the rollercoaster / ’cause it’s true, babe / I’ve been saving this for you”

One of music’s most-beloved young gays is a ‘golden star’!!!!!

Though this particular interpretation of a first sexual experience is upbeat and pleasant-sounding, I suggest you continue reading this article. On the same Bloom (2018) album, Sivan released a song called “Seventeen” that has a different tone and lyrical meaning in terms of his own first sexual experience.

[ ℗ An EMI Music Australia production; ℗ 2019 Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd. ]

“Elton’s Song” by Elton John (1981)

Today, Elton John is one of the most iconic gay men in the industry. However, “Elton’s Song” is the first and only song Elton John ever recorded honestly singing about his sexuality. At the time of the song’s release, John was not yet open about his homosexuality (and eventually, even went on to marry a woman before coming out). In the incredibly personal piano ballad, he sings about his hesitance to publicly show his love for a boy at school.

“time and time again I get ashamed to say / your name”

In the heartbreakingly closeted track, he also discusses the homophobia he has faced:

“they say it isn’t real but I know what I feel / and I love you”

[ ℗ 2003 Mercury Records Limited. ]

“Glad To Be Gay” by Tom Robinson Band (1997)

“Sing if you’re glad to be gay / sing if you’re happy that way”

This song is clearly one of the gayest of the gay anthems based on this proud chorus alone.

Outside of its chorus, “Glad To Be Gay” is directly calling out the World Health Organization for classifying gay as a disease, the British Police for discriminating against gays, the British press for reporting homosexuality as disgusting, queer bashers who physically attack homosexuals on the street, and bystanders who stand by and allow for the discrimination to happen. Songwriter and leading member of the band, Tom Robinson, even recalls his loving gay friend being beaten and hospitalized for a week after queer bashers attacked him in the streets.

Being as the song was released in the 70s, homophobia was very much alive and thriving. The song itself is not only meant to call out the homophobes in Britain and around the world, but also proclaims an angry and liberating truth that gays are still happy to be gay despite the violent and inhumane efforts to tear us down.

[ ℗ 1997 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company. ]

“Girls and Boys” by Blur (2000)

Where to begin…This song truly covers a lot of ground in terms of sexuality.

“Girls who are boys / who like boys to be girls / who do boys like they’re girls / who do girls like they’re boys”

You could argue that this song is meant for the transsexuals of the world, while others may argue it’s meant for the pansexuals or bisexuals. However, I don’t think the specifics of the gender roles are meant to be the ultimate message of the song. After the sexuality-filled tongue twister, Blur simplifies sexuality’s role in a relationship to be this:

“Always should be / someone / you really / love.”

Ultimately, love truly is love. I understand that some people love their label because it helps define who they are. However, in terms of a relationship, the real thing that matters is the love shared between the 2 individuals involved, no matter the sexual preference. And the love should be accepted no matter the sexual preference.

Also, this song is extremely catchy and immediately gets stuck in my head every time I hear it (thought it took me a bit to finally conquer the tongue-twister).

[ ℗ 2000 The copyright in this compilation is owned by Parlophone Records Ltd. ]

“Feelings” by Hayley Kiyoko (2018)

Hayley Kiyoko, or “Lesbian Jesus,” has numerous tracks directly mentioning loving women and her own homosexuality. This track is not necessarily one of the more direct ones. However, in my opinion, a few of lyrics in this track indirectly sum up the lesbian community and lesbian relationships pretty smoothly. Bear with me:

“I over-communicate and feel too much / I just complicate it when I say too much”

On the surface, these lyrics could be referring to a straight relationship or a gay one. The only real reason we assimilate it with the gays is because Lesbian Jesus is singing it. However, as a lesbian woman, I can say for certain that the majority of lesbians I know can relate to these lyrics, even if Lesbian Jesus wasn’t performing them. If they themselves did not act like this in one of their relationships, one of their partners did. Lesbians…am I right?…

[ ℗ 2018 EMPIRE / Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. A Warner Music Group Company. ]

“First Time He Kissed a Boy” by Kadie Elder (2014)

“First Time He Kissed a Boy” is an innocent, uplifting sexual awakening. His whole life, this boy felt he had to cover up his sexuality to blend into the pack that is society. All he ever wanted was to feel free, which is exactly what he felt once he kissed a boy.

In the beginning, Kadie Elder sings:

“Forgetting time and place / All he wanted”

After he kisses a boy, an echo replays singing

“Get lost…” on repeat.

Kissing a boy helped this particular boy get all that he wanted, helping him to feel free for the first time.

This song is incredibly simplistic in the most beautiful way.

[ ℗ 2016 Nordic Music Society. ]

“Coming Clean” by Green Day (1994)

“Coming Clean” is the coming-out chronicle for Green Day’s leading bisexual man, Billie Joe Armstrong. The song is a head-banger, fitting right in with Green Day’s usual vibe. However, this head-banger is extremely raw and personal for Armstrong. The track starts by expressing the confusion and isolation Armstrong felt regarding his bisexual feelings at the age of 17. He cites society’s views on manhood and his parents inability to understand his sexuality as two of the reasons he felt so trapped and confused. When Armstrong comes clean at 17, he finally sheds the confusion and isolation.

“Seventeen and coming clean for the first time / I finally figured out myself for the first time”

In his coming out, Armstrong takes a belting jab at anyone who views homosexual and bisexual men as less manly when compared to their straight counterparts. When in reality, Armstrong argues that coming clean and being his truest self defines his manlihood:

“I found out what it takes to be a man…”

[ ℗ 1994 Reprise Records for the U.S. and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the U.S. ]

“Transgender Dysphoria Blues” by Against Me! (2014)

When Against Me!’s lead singer and guitarist Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender (making her one of the first highly visible punk rock musicians to do so), the band released the album Transgender Dysphoria Blues (2014) and this is the first track. Written in total by Laura Jane Grace, it begins by outlying a female transsexual’s broad shoulders resembling that of a man, which makes the transition seem ‘obvious’ but reminds her of where she came from. The lyrics and conclusion of the song are not uplifting, but instead portray the harsh and unjust realities of being a transsexual in society.

This particular track is full of hard-hitting trans-lyrics but these stand out:

“[…] we can’t choose how we’re made… / […] you want them to see you / like they see every other girl / They just see a faggot / They’ll hold their breath not to catch the sick”

If you haven’t read up on Laura Jane Grace’s story, I highly recommend doing so (one article I recommend is Rolling Stone’s piece from 2016). This punk-rock woman is an extremely courageous fighter in her lyrics and her life.

[ ℗ 2013 Total Treble. ]

“Come To My Window” by Melissa Etheridge (1993)

“Come To My Window” is one of the most prominent lesbian songs to exist. “It’s a searing song of longing,” according to Etheridge’s official website. (2020) Though Melissa Etheridge does not directly state her homosexuality or mention a woman, this track was her public coming out. She was longing for a love that wasn’t accepted:

“I don’t care what they think / I don’t care what they say / What do they know about this love anyway?”

The song not only reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 11, but also won Melissa her 2nd Grammy.

[ ℗ 1993 The Island Def Jam Music Group. ]

“Curious” by Hayley Kiyoko (2018)

For Kiyoko’s third (and not last) song on this anthem list, I bless you with “Curious,” an absolute gay BOP. You’re most likely going to notice a trend forming in the songs I use of hers in this list: she writes about her poor lesbian-relationship experiences– particularly with straight or ‘bicurious’ women who played with her emotions or closeted women afraid to express their love for her.

One can argue “Curious” does both. Some people interpret the ex in this scenario as the ‘bicurious’ villain, who just played with Kiyoko’s emotions to fall back into the arms of a man. However, I interpret the ex as a closeted woman using a relationship with a man to cover or hide her attraction to women. Interpret it as you will, here’s the meaning form the source:

In an interview with Verified, Kiyoko explains the story/relationship behind the song:

“I’ve hung out with a lot of girls that like to play games. And there was a girl in particular that I was involved with that really liked to push my button. I really cared about her and she kept playing with my emotions and feelings. It was a weird situation where she didn’t love herself enough to be with me.”

By Kiyoko’s interpretation, you can definitely argue both interpretations.

This song is filled with standout gay lines, so here are some of my favorites:

“Calling me up, so late at night / are we just friends? / You say you wanted me, but you’re sleeping with him”

{Kiyoko explains this relatable nonsense perfectly: “please…do not be hitting me up at like 10 pm being like ‘hey, miss you, what’re you doing? thinking of you’ and then being like ‘no, we’re just friends.'”}

“If you let him touch ya…/the way I used to…/…I’m just curious, is it serious?”

[ ℗ 2018 EMPIRE / Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. A Warner Music Group Company. ]

“Not In That Way” by Sam Smith (2014)

Sam Smith’s ballad, “Not In That Way,” crushes my gay heart each and every time I hear it. They pour their soul out about loving a man who they believe loves them, but not in the way they wish. This is the ultimate gay ‘stuck in the friend-zone’ track. Sam Smith is debating expressing their love to someone, but fears the ultimate rejection.

“I’d never ask you cause deep down / I’m certain I know what you’d say / You’d say I’m sorry believe me / I love you but not in that way”

I’d be lying if I said this exact scenario hasn’t happened to me once or twice…or three times.

[ ℗ 2014 Capitol Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited. ]

“What I Need” by Haley Kiyoko ft. Kehlani (2018)

Lesbian Jesus, Hayley Kiyoko, and the LOML, Kehlani…on the same track. I cannot begin to explain the excitement that I felt when I first heard they were releasing a gay-ass duet together.

It’s a frustrated and closeted duet that is once again, as Hayley Kiyoko does best,…extremely gay. Its about a girl-on-girl couple who isn’t “official,” but clearly wants to be. The problem is: one of the girls, in this case Kehlani, keeps the relationship closeted. The other half of the duet is Kiyoko expressing her frustrations — and brace yourself because this cuts deep:

“when we’re all alone, girl, you wanna own it / when we’re with your fam, you don’t wanna show it / oh, you’re tryna keep us on the low / I only want a girl who ain’t afraid to love / not a metaphor of what we really could be / oh, I ain’t putting on a show”

Though Kiyoko’s character is frustrated that Kehlani’s character won’t express her love publicly, she stays with her and honors the boundaries:

“if you’re cold and needed shelter / I’d hold you, but not sweat ya / I know we’re not together / but babe, I won’t forget ya.”

I know some lesbians, including myself, feel frustrated listening to this song for the first time. The love is clearly there, but remains in the dark. However, the more I listen, the more I understand. One of Kehlani’s parts in the duet is extremely important for me:

“We could be bigger and brighter than space / ain’t no running away / no, real loving is sure”

The love is real for her despite her hesitance to act on it. She knows their love can be big, and won’t run away. I think she’s also pleading for Kiyoko not to run, but instead give her time, because the love is so real. Kiyoko responds to the plea with:

“The way that I love, there’s no taking my place / starin’ you right in your face / no, don’t look away no more”

These two girls are in deep, no doubt about it.

[ ℗ 2018 EMPIRE / Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. A Warner Music Group Company. ]

“1st Position” by Kehlani (2015)

Kehlani tracks back-to-back? I’ll take it. And wow….this one makes me feel all types of things, if you know what I mean.

“Let me show you what it’s like / To fuck with something right / Girl let me put you on with something real”

Though Kehlani wasn’t technically publicly “out” at the time of the Soundcloud track’s release, this song couldn’t make it more clear. It’s a sexy and confident R&B hit about her wanting to sleep with a girl who hasn’t slept with another girl before. Kehlani explained her inspiration for the track with The Fader (2015):

“the inspiration behind the song was me trying to show young people in the LGBTQ community that you don’t have to hide anything. You can be adventurous and outspoken about your sexuality. It wasn’t too aggressive, but it wasn’t too safe — it pushed the buttons I needed it to push.”

On Twitter in 2019, Kehlani and her first girlfriend, Justice Domingo, confirmed the song “First Position” was actually about the beginning of their relationship. For Justice’s birthday, Kehlani confirmed their previous relationship on her Twitter and, though she has since deleted the follow-up tweet, confirmed the song was about Justice. Justice responded to Kehlani’s fans: “y’all can thank me for y’all favorite songs now.” Though Kehlani has since deleted the tweet, us gay Kehlani fans will always remember.

“Say baby / Stop messing with those boys get you a lady”

“Only You” by Calum Scott (2018)

First off, we should all send this sweet track to the person or people in our lives who accepted our sexuality and understood us when we felt most vulnerable.

Calum Scott, an openly gay man, is dedicating this to his best friend, who accepted him unconditionally. At the time when he was painfully closeted as a kid, he never had to hide his true self from his best friend, for which he is eternally grateful.

“On the inside I was screaming / with you I did not have to hide […]/ only you, you could see that I was hurting / only you, ever cared to understand”

This beautiful and honest track is utterly under appreciated amongst the community. Though Scott is best known for his cover to Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own,” tracks like “Only You” have rarely made other anthem lists.

[ ℗ 2018 Capitol Records. ]

“I Want To Break Free” by Queen (1984)

I can’t lie, I feel tremendous pressure to even write a synopsis for this track. Since Mercury never really discussed his sexuality with the public, opinions about his sexuality are very ‘he said, she said’ as he is no longer around to confirm or deny the assumptions. Newspapers and tabloids at the time alluded to his sexuality due to his flamboyant behavior, style, and performances.

Therefore, I do feel pressure due to the uncertainty of his personal life and success of his career (since Queen is one of the most successful and well-loved bands in the history of music). I am not one to ‘out’ anyone, whether alive or deceased. Though if Freddie Mercury was indeed gay or bisexual, his personal life stands as one of the most painfully closeted ones in the industry.

Since Mercury’s death, it is thought that songs like “I Want to Break Free” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” are coming-out songs. However, it’s easy to make these assumptions when the individual isn’t around to confirm or deny the assumptions.

Whether Freddie Mercury was indeed gay or bisexual or neither, the LGBTQ+ community has adopted this song as their own.

[ ℗ 2011 Hollywood Records, Inc. ]

“Sleepover” by Hayley Kiyoko (2018)

Hayley Kiyoko…back at it again with another super gay heartbreaker. This is a personal stinger for me…and I’m sure a good chunk of the gays can relate. Every time I hear this song, I think back to one of several situations I was in just like this one.

In this heartbreaker, Kiyoko sings about the struggle of romantically yearning for her friend who simply doesn’t feel the same way about her:

“you wanna be friends forever? / I can think of something better”

“Sleepover” is another one of those utterly tragic gay ‘friend-zone’ struggles that many of us have faced. And though I could relive my painful experiences and say more about this heartbreaker, Kiyoko said it best in the track:

“I don’t wanna talk about it / I don’t wanna think about it / I’m just feeling low, feeling low / even when you’re next to me / it’s not the way I’m picturing”

Ooooooooooooooof, still stings.

[ ℗ 2018 EMPIRE / Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. A Warner Music Group Company. ]

“Hold Each Other” by A Great Big World ft. Futuristic (2015)

“Hold Each Other” starts off like any other love song between a man and a woman. One of A Great Big World’s duo members, Ian Axel, begins by singing about a straight romance. Though it’s very sweet, this is not what we’re here for. Don’t fret…the unexpected gay part happens next.

“Hold Each Other” is Chad King’s, the other member of the duo’s, coming out. King stated to Billboard that when Ian Axel wrote the line “something happens when I hold her,” his duo partner turned to him and asked “Chad, how are you going to sing this and deliver it honestly?” At first, King was hesitant to change the lyrics to fit his own sexuality. He told Billboard that his thought process at the time was “…there’s no way I can do this…” But then, he:

“thought about it for like two seconds and said, ‘I have to do this.’ This is my truth, people will respond to that. I know they will and I hope it inspires other people to sing about their own truth or speak about their own…”

Despite his initial nerves to come out in the track, he felt an obligation to speak his truth in hopes of helping and encouraging other gays like him.

“Everything looks different now / All this time my head was down / He came along and showed me how to let go”

I can say for certain that I’m appreciative of Chad King.

[ ℗ 2015 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. ]

“He’ll Never Love You (HNLY)” by Hayley Kiyoko (2018)

Lesbian Jesus is back at it again. “He’ll Never Love You (HNLY)” is another confident, yet frustrated lesbian track about loving a closeted girl.

“Hold on, you tell me that I’m not the one but / You know what is right, you say is wrong / Playing with my fingertips / sitting there biting your lip / trying to kiss, who are you trying to trick? / Why don’t you just cut the shit?”

“Girl, why can’t you just be honest? / With yourself…”

In the lyrics and in her tone, you can hear the frustration that Kiyoko feels about the girl she loves going back to men who can’t compare to her. Frankly, Kiyoko’s impatiently waiting for the girl to wake up and admit her feelings:

“How many days, how many nights / ’til you realize he’ll never love you like me?”

[ ℗ 2018 EMPIRE / Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. A Warner Music Group Company. ]

“Pussy is God” by King Princess (2018)

I mean…the opening lines truly say all that needs to be said for this hella gay anthem:

“Your pussy is God and I love it / Gonna kiss me real hard, make me want it”

King Princess has quickly become one of the staple artists for the LGBTQ+ community, proving it with his particular song.

Though these lines are all that’s needed to prove its worthiness on this list, King Princess fills the already very hot track with extremely sweet touches that fit right into the lesbian community.

“I think star signs mean nothing / But I know you feel right so I’m coming/ […] You’re extra special, something else / or maybe it’s you / And I’ve been looking for something I want / And baby, it’s you”

I still don’t really know why, but for some reason, star signs have infiltrated the lesbian community. In this track, King Princess says ‘fuck the star signs’ because the connection she feels is what matters.

I don’t know about you…but I definitely bow down to genderqueer King Princess.

[ ℗ 2018 Zelig Music, LLC. ]

“Freedom! ’90” by George Michael (1998)

The story surrounding this track and artist intrigues me. On the surface, the song is filled with lyrics that definitely fit the requirements for a coming out song:

“I think there’s something you should know / I think it’s time I stopped the show / There’s something deep inside of me / There’s someone I forgot to be”

“Heaven knows we sure had some fun, boy / […] we were living in a fantasy”

He even sings about how his religious beliefs impacted his possible coming out:

“Well it sounds like the road to heaven / But it feels like the road to hell”

The intriguing part about this particular coming out song is that it really wasn’t George Michael’s coming out. Technically, he didn’t come out for another 8 years. At the time of its release, the song was just about having a secret that he wanted to share. But really, even though he wasn’t technically ready to speak about his sexuality, he was coming out under the surface of this particular song.

[ ℗ This compilation ℗ 1998 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited. ]

“I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross (1980)

My music shuffle read my mind. This is the perfect coming out song to discuss next because it also isn’t what it seems. This Diana Ross banger has become of the most prominent coming out songs for the LGBTQ community. Understandably so, considering the title alone. However, it actually isn’t what you think…

Diana Ross was not actually coming out in terms of her own sexuality. Instead, she recorded the song as a tribute to her loyal gay following.

At first, Ross was hesitant to record this track. Not only was she a straight woman, but she also feared the public’s response. Considering the song was recorded in the homophobic late 1970s, she felt the song would sabotage her entire career, according to one of the song’s writers, Nile Rodgers, during an interview with Billboard.

Considering the song reached #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 list in 1980, I’d assume Ross is glad she went through with recording the song. And I know the gays are glad she paid homage to their loyalty despite the risks she faced.

[ ℗ This compilation ℗ 2003 Universal Motown Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. ]

“Boyfriend” by Tegan and Sara (2016)

We can’t have an LGBTQ anthem list without including the original leading ladies of lesbian pop representation. Tegan and Sara are the very beloved twin lesbian duo who have been making pop music since 1998. Before the queer pop stars included in this list like Hayley Kiyoko and King Princess released music, Tegan and Sara lead the queer pop charge for women.

We don’t just love Tegan and Sara for bringing us queer music, we love them for creating absolute BOPs in doing so. Frankly, there is an array of ‘bop’ songs from Tegan and Sara that can make this LGBTQ anthem list. And while most lists may include tracks like “Closer,” I choose “Boyfriend.”

“Boyfriend” is hella gay, catchy, and relatable for the lesbian community. The song’s about best friends blurring the lines between friendship and romantic relationship. However, instead of a happy love song, the closeted best friend in “Boyfriend” takes advantage of the gay’s love and affection by stringing them along. The catchy chorus has a very irritated and honest tone:

“You treat me like your boyfriend / And trust me like a very best friend / You kiss me like your boyfriend / You call me up like you want your best friend / You turn me on like you want your boyfriend / But I don’t want to be your secret anymore”

The funny part about Tegan and Sara is that they never actually came out publicly. When asked about coming out publicly in an interview with NPR, Sara states “we never did. We just really looked gay…” It just so happened that some of their first press interviews were with gay-associated media, and eventually the duo started using female pronouns in their love songs.

I will forever bop to tracks like this from my lesbian pop leaders, Tegan and Sara.

[ ℗ 2016 Warner Records Inc. ]

“Sissy That Walk” by RuPaul (2014)

An absolute BOP from infamous drag queen, RuPaul. This song never fails to boost my entire mood. Tracks like this, and his show RuPaul’s Drag Race, led to him becoming one of America’s most beloved entertainers. Ultimately, “Sissy That Walk” is a song instilling confidence and perseverance.

I’m gonna break this track by the lessons RuPaul teaches:

  1. Don’t let the haters bring you down.

“People talking -ish since the beginning of time / Unless they paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind”

2. Be proud of what you do and persevere through failure.

“And if I fly, or if I fall / Least I can say I gave it all”

3. Fuck gender norms, don’t feel ashamed to express yourself.

“I’m a femme queen, mother of a house of no shame / My pussy is on fire, now kiss the flame”

This song is a BOP for any sexual orientation, even the heterosexuals. However, it especially fits for the LGBTQ+ community.

[ ℗ 2014 RuCo, Inc. ]

“Girls/Girls/Boys” by Panic! at the Disco (2013)

“girls love girls and boys / And love is not a choice”

This bisexual anthem comes from our pansexual king of the music industry, Brendon Urie, frontman for Panic! at the Disco. To quote Urie: “I guess you could qualify me as pansexual because I really don’t care. If a person is great, then a person is great […] I guess this is me coming out as pansexual.”

Originally, Urie wrote the song about his first threesome, which he experienced at 15 or 16. When fans began interpreting the song as a coming out anthem, he was pleasantly surprised. In an interview with Paper magazine:

“That song was about my first threesome but they made it about coming out and accepting who you are as a person which I thought, what a way better message.”

[ ℗ 2013 Fueled By Ramen LLC for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ]

“Searching for a Former Clarity” by Against! Me (2005)

Before Against! Me released songs like “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” (which is discussed earlier in this list), the band released “Searching for a Former Clarity.” In fact, this track was released 7 years before lead singer Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender.

“Searching for a Former Clarity” is painfully confessional and raw transgender rock anthem. Though Laura Jane Grace was not out yet, the social, mental, and emotional struggles the transgender community faces are very clear in this song:

“Confessing childhood secrets of dressing up in women’s clothes / Compulsions you never knew the reasons to”

As a child born into a male’s body, Laura Jane Grace wanted to look like a woman, but didn’t understand why.

[ ℗ 2005 Fat Wreck Chords. ]

“Take Your Mama” by Scissor Sisters (2004)

While many queer artists release serious and raw coming-out songs, Scissor Sisters took a humorous approach in “Take Your Mama.” It is an upbeat and comedic take that presents one way to come out to your mom.

“Gonna take your mama out all night / Yeah we’ll show her what it’s all about / We’ll get her jacked up on some cheap champagne / We’ll let the good times all roll out / […] Do it / Take your mama out all night / So she’ll have no doubt that we’re doing oh the best we can”

Instead of a dramatized event, Scissor Sisters lead singer Jake Shears suggest a different approach to coming out — get your mom drunk and then break the news. Scissor Sisters’ comedic approach is proving that your coming out process doesn’t always have to be dramatic and heart-wrenching.

[ ℗ 2004 Polydor Ltd. (UK), licensed exclusively to Universal Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. ]

“I Wish” by Hayley Kiyoko (2019)

Another one from Lesbian Jesus. You had to expect more than a couple right? She’s literally called Lesbian Jesus…and I’m a lesbian…so I practically worship her.

Based on the music I’ve presented on this list from Kiyoko, she has had a rough go at love and relationships. “I Wish” is no exception. It is an extremely catchy yet lonely, jealous, and angst-filled track about being taken advantage of by a seemingly bisexual, or possibly closeted, lover.

“Your black heart, you ain’t even budge when you tore mine apart / You wild out, so I wild out too, motherfucker, what’s up? / We butt heads ’cause you keep payin’ him attention / And you’re selfish with your affection”

An extremely toxic relationship to say the least. The song ends with a painfully heart-breaking plea for a loving relationship, unlike the one discussed in the song.

“I wonder if I’m ever gonna find somebody / I cry […] to the heavens / Why won’t you just send me somebody? / I wish […] I found love / I wish […] I found love / ‘Cause I wake up, up in the morning time / And there’s nobody here by my side”

I feel you, Kiyoko, I feel you.

[ ℗ 2019 EMPIRE / Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. A Warner Music Group Company. ]

“Seventeen” by Troye Sivan (2018)

“Seventeen” is another honest pop song about Sivan’s first sexual experience, which he also sings about in the song “Bloom.” “Bloom” is the 2nd track from the album Bloom, while “Seventeen” is track 4. He addresses how 17 may seem too young to lose his virginity, but expresses that it was what he wanted at the time.

“I went out looking for love when I was seventeen / Maybe a little too young, but it was real to me”

But wait…it isn’t exactly the perfect, happy first experience. There is a particularly somber tone in “Seventeen.” Sivan sings honestly about starting a relationship (a technically illegal one, at that) with an older man online. Sivan wanted to lose his virginity, knew this older man wanted to take it, and there was essentially no stopping the experience.

“He said age is just a number, just like any other / We can do whatever, do whatever you want / Boy becomes a man now / Can’t tell a man to slow down / He’ll just do whatever, do whatever he wants”

Sivan was honest about the experience and his hesitance to release the song in an interview with Billboard:

“I’ve rehearsed the backlash and the response a million times in my head. I’m worried because I don’t want to ever come across that I’m condoning that or anything like it. But I felt, greater than all of those worries, a responsibility to tell that true story — of the curious gay kid who puts himself in some kind of shady situation to find a connection, like all of us crave.” This situation is, unfortunately, all too familiar for young members of the gay community.

[ ℗ An EMI Music Australia production; ℗ 2019 Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd. ]

“Poker Face” by Lady Gaga (2009)

The meaning of “Poker Face” has been discussed and debated by listeners since its release. Some took the meaning literally thinking it’s about gambling, casinos, and sex. In reality, Lady Gaga (alongside RedOne) wrote this robotic, sexual dance-pop song about her experiences masking her bisexuality to the men she was dating.

During a live stripped-down version of “Poker Face” at Mayfair’s private member’s club in London, Lady Gaga paused the performance 2 minutes in to clarify the meaning of the song with the exclusive crowd:

“you know this song is actually about when I was making love to this guy that I was dating a long time ago. I was thinking about chicks every time we had sex…and I just didn’t want him to figure it out because I felt so bad…but I don’t anymore…”

She was putting on a ‘poker face’ to hide her bisexual thoughts from her then-boyfriend. Gaga has openly discussed her previous boyfriends’ insecurities and struggles to accept her bisexuality.

Fun fact: the well-known version of the lyrics “p-p-p-poker face, p-p-p-poker face” is wrong. She’s actually singing “p-p-p-poker face, f-f-f-f*** her face” throughout the song.

[ ℗ An Interscope Records Release; ℗ 2009 UMG Recordings, Inc. ]

“Michael” by Franz Ferdinand (2004)

Though many believed this song was his coming out as bisexual, lead singer of Franz Ferdinand, Alex Kapranos, said he simply writes songs like this “based on situations that happen around [him].” He hasn’t confirmed or denied the assumptions made about his sexuality. Even if the song isn’t about his own personal sexuality, it is still one the most popular bisexual anthems to this day, worthy of belonging on this list.

For “Michael”, Kapranos stated in an interview with The Courier that he wrote the song about an erotic encounter between two male friends on a dance floor. He goes into detail about the attraction and Michael’s features:

“Michael, you’re the boy with all the leather hips / sticky hair, sticky hips, stubble on my sticky lips / Michael, you’re the only one I’d ever want / […] beautiful boys on a beautiful dance floor / […] So come and dance with me, Michael”

[ ℗ 2004 Domino Recording Co. Ltd. ]

“Born This Way” by Lady Gaga (2011)

Lady Gaga’s dance-pop banger “Born This Way” is jam-packed with queer innuendos and pride. It is quite literally the ultimate banger for Pride events:

“Rejoice and love yourself today / ‘Cause baby you were born this way / No matter gay, straight, or bi / Lesbian, transgendered life”

She covers a lot of ground with this catchy upbeat anthem. She clearly states in the song that is meant in part as a LGBTQ anthem. Along with the direct acknowledgement of the LGBTQ community, she covers self-acceptance, religious praises, drag queen culture, socioeconomic class, race and ethnicity, bullying, and more.

Ultimately, it’s a song about self-love:

“I’m beautiful in my way / ‘Cause God makes no mistakes / I’m on the right track, baby / I was born this way / Don’t hide yourself in regret / Just love yourself and you’re set”

We must protect Lady Gaga at all costs.

[ ℗ 2011 Interscope Records. ]

“True Trans Soul Rebel” by Against Me! (2014)

Another truly heart-shattering protest song about the isolation and pain our transgender community faces, both written and performed by our transgender queen of rock music, Laura Jane Grace. On the surface, the song sounds like an upbeat and positive anthem, but the lyrics express loneliness and pain.

Loneliness:

“All dressed up and nowhere to go / Walking the streets all alone / Another night you wish you could forget / Making yourself up as you go along”

Pain:

“Once you were born, you were already dead / You sleep with a gun beside you in bed / You follow through to the obvious end / See your veins wide open, you bleed it out”

Songs like this are proof that we all need to do better in supporting and protecting our transsexual community.

[ ℗ 2013 Total Treble. ]

“If They Only Knew” by Alfie Arcuri (2017)

The Voice Australia star Alfie Arcuri has frequently opened up about his struggles to accept his own sexuality. In his first single, “If They Only Knew,” you can feel the agony and pain he endured during one of his former partner’s coming out which occurred during the time of their relationship. The song is so personal to the singer-songwriter that he never intended on releasing it. Arcuri explained the meaning behind the song in an interview with The Daily Telegraph (2017):

“The song is almost like a diary entry for me telling his parents how innocent our love and relationship was because to them I was like the devil who turned their son gay.”

The track is extremely emotional and honest…I distinctly remember crying actual tears when I heard it for the first time. Here are my favorite lines:

“If they only knew / How to keep you safe like I kept you”

“They’ve never ever had the strength / To fell the way in what we met / So leave, go home / And leave, go home”

“If they only knew / […] I wish they only saw/ […] If they only knew/ […] I’d still be holding you”

[ ℗ 2017 Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd. ]

“Anthem” by Pansy Division (1991)

“Anthem” is an explosive and raunchy gay rock anthem. It’s a brutally honest, no-fucks-given announcement that their rock band is gay and here to stay. Though “Anthem” is not the band’s only explicit queer rock song, the message being sent in this particular song makes for the ultimate queer rock anthem. I interpret “Anthem” as a big ‘fuck you’ to the homophobes of the rock music industry (and associated fandom) and closeted artists in rock music. To keep this post relatively PG-13, I’ve picked some of my favorite lower-key lyrics from the track.

“We’re here to tell you, ya better make way / we’re queer rockers in your face today”

“With loud guitars, we’re gay and proud”

“Closeted rockers, we’ve heard of a few / They won’t risk their careers to come out to you / We have no such deceptions, no such ploys / We make it clear we wanna sleep with boys”

Very explicit warning needed for this one.

[ ℗ 2016 601724 Records DK. ]

“If Our Love Is Wrong” by Calum Scott (2018)

The common belief among homophobes regarding homosexuality is that it’s simply ‘wrong.’ Whether these homophobic beliefs stem from their religious practices, from their inability to sway from society’s traditional ‘norms’, or whatever other excuse they may use — ‘homosexuality is wrong’ is the common denominator. “If Our Love Is Wrong” is Calum Scott’s response to society’s negative views about his sexuality. He directs the song to his lover:

“if our love is wrong / then I don’t ever wanna be right”

Instead of allowing the homophobic culture suppress his sexuality, he ignores the homophobic hate. No matter what some people have to say, he is human, and gay is a part of his human DNA.

“Why would I need their permission / skin and bones, I’m only human / It’s in my DNA / Suffocating just to fit in / Why do I care what people say”

[ ℗ 2018 Capitol Records. ]

“Brave” by Sara Bareilles (2013)

“Brave” is another uplifting and supportive song that belts LGBTQ allyship. It is one of the sweetest and most heart-warming songs on this list of anthems and should be shouted from the rooftops. Though the song has been adopted by all communities and all walks of life, it was originally intended for the LGBTQ+ community.

According to Sara Bareilles on her YouTube channel:

“the lyrics for ‘Brave’ were inspired partially by a really close friend of mine who was really struggling to come out.”

The lyrics truly are the ultimate coming-out anthem. Coming-out does take courage and bravery, and Sara Bareilles belts out her ally-ship in this anthem, which spent 42 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

“Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do / when they settle ‘neath you skin / kept on the inside and no sunlight / Sometimes a shadow wins / but I wonder what would happen if you / say what you wanna say / and let the words fall out / Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

Co-writer Jack Antonoff also spoke on the song’s bigger meaning:

“brave is obviously a song that’s gonna mean a lot to a lot of people. But, to me, I’ll always internalize it as a real civil rights anthem…”

[ ℗ 2013 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. ]

“Kiss The Boy” by Keiynan Lonsdale (2018)

Singer and actor Keiynan Lonsdale, known for his roles in The Flash and Love, Simon, came out on Instagram shortly following the wrap of the gay romance film, Love, Simon. Though he does not use labels, he expresses his attraction to both men and women. For Lonsdale, coming out was a long-awaited experience. Lonsdale expressed: “spent way too many years hating myself, thinking I was less valuable because I was different…which is just untrue…”

According to Lonsdale in an interview with Hollywood Reporter, he was already out to some castmates on The Flash, family, and friends. However, it took him a while to really accept it and come out publicly. He previously stated:

“A couple years ago I was able to accept myself, & it saved my life…I gotta take the next step & actually embrace who I am, which is pretty exciting. Not faking shit anymore, not apologizing for falling in love with people no matter their gender.”

His realizations about his sexuality and his coming-out process are summed up in “Kiss The Boy”:

“My head gets stuck / I’m scared to show you just how I feel / ‘Cause people talk”

“Don’t want to hide, don’t want to hide / Most of my life I’ve been terrified / Spending my days always questioning / Am I wrong to love a man”

“If you want to kiss the boy then you better / Kiss the boy right now / You ain’t got to be afraid of the words you want to say right now / ‘Cause love is a game we deserve to play out loud / So if you want to play then you better kiss the boy / Oh, you better kiss the boy right now

[ ℗ 2018 Keiynan Lonsdale. ]

“The Village” by Wrabel (2017)

Wrabel’s tear-jerking, yet beautifully reassuring ballad “The Village” is directed toward the members of the community facing homophobic backlash from their families and communities.

It starts by introducing a particular family’s homophobia:

“No, your mom don’t get it / And your dad don’t get it / Uncle John don’t get it / And you can’t tell grandma / ‘Cause her heart can’t take it”

Wrabel switches to a reassuring tone. He reassures gays that there is nothing wrong with being gay. Instead, there’s something wrong in the “village,” representing the homophobic family.

“There’s nothing wrong with you / It’s true, it’s true / There’s something wrong with the village”

For the last set of verses, Wrabel expresses the homophobia that is faced by gays in a religious Church setting. He empathizes with those in this situation because he was a young gay pained by his homophobic religious beliefs.

“Then it’s Sunday hell to pay, you young lost sinner / Well, I’ve been there, sitting in that same chair / Whispering that same prayer half a million times / It’s a lie, though buried in disciples / One page of the Bible isn’t worth a life”

The homophobic teachings in the Church do not define you. You’re not wrong just because the Bible says so. Instead, Wrabel argues “it’s something in the village.” The ‘village,’ or in this case the Church and its following, is wrong for its inability to accept homosexuals. No gay should live a life in pain or end their life because the Church preaches that homosexuality is wrong.

Wrabel’s impressive and beautiful vocals cut deep to express his own coming out process and reassure gays facing similar experiences.

[ ℗ 2017 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. ]

“LGBT” by Lowell (2014)

“Hi my name is LGBT / Don’t take out your misery on me […] / I’m happy / and free […] / LGBT, LOVE […] / don’t hate our love”

Though the song starts in with a happy and upbeat tone, the tone switches. When Lowell begins to address those who don’t accept homosexuality, you can feel the frustration in her voice.

“Some old people wanna go back home / To the life where everyone pretending to belong […] / And some old people hate to change / except when they’re praying away the things they need to shame”

Then, the song returns to the happy and free tone, representing how members of the LGBT community feel expressing their truest selves.

[ ℗ 2014 Arts & Crafts Production Inc. ]

“Gettin’ Bi” by Pete Gardner (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast) (2016)

“Gettin’ Bi” is an original song for the musical rom-com television series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It does a superb job of celebrating bisexuality, and the associated biphobia at a very upbeat pace from start to finish.

I could truly quote the entire song to prove my reason for putting it on this anthem list. Instead, I’ll focus on it’s take on biphobia, as this is still a huge problem (since even some members of the LGBTQ+ community are biphobic).

“Now some may say / ‘Oh, you’re just gay / Why don’t you just go gay all the way? / But that’s not it / cause bi’s legit / Whether you’re a he or a she / we might be a perfect fit / And one more thing / I tell you what / being bi does not imply that you’re a player or a slut / sure, I like sex […]”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. He directly addresses prominent biphobic beliefs and stereotypes in an extremely catchy musical tune.

[ ℗ 2016 This compilation WaterTower Music as licensee for MMXVI CBS Studios Inc. ]

“Heterosexuality Is a Construct” by Onsind (2010)

UK’s Onsind’s acoustic punk song is an in-your-face, big ‘fuck you’ to all the homophobes out there.

“I’m not a heterosexual man / I’m not ticking your boxes / that’s not who I am / I don’t fit into your neat little plan / and I never will”

Onsind directly addresses that masculine pride is one of the reasons men can’t accept homosexuality, because it’s less ‘macho.’

“did that make you uncomfortable / is your macho pride in trouble now / when you’ve beaten me up / then what will you do?”

Onsind also aggressively pleads that the homophobes of society begin to accept homosexuality because love doesn’t know gender.

“Love is not a crime / and I’d rather colour / outside of the lines / love knows no gender and it’s about time / you nailed your colours up next to mine”

[ ℗ 2010 ONSIND. ]

“There I Said It” by Adam Lambert (2015)

“There I Said It” is a massive ballad by openly gay pop artist, and former American Idol contestant, Adam Lambert.

On Adam Lambert’s YouTube channel, he discusses the meaning behind the track:

“Hey guess what, I know who I am. I’m grown and I’m going to voice my opinion and speak my mind and be exactly who I’m gonna be. I’m not gonna make apologies, and I’m not gonna go hide and downplay myself. I’m gonna be this, this is who I am.”

In this song, he doesn’t directly address his homosexuality. However, considering his personal interpretation of the song, one can assume his sexuality is part of the meaning. In the beginning, he’s apologetic…

“You say you want the truth / But you can’t take it / So I give you lies / I give you lies”

But, he comes to his senses, sheds the apologies, and lives his truth…

“So there I said it / And I won’t apologize to you anymore / Cause I’m a grown ass man”

[ ℗ 2015 Warner Records Inc. ]

“That’s So Gay” by Pansy Division (2009)

Pansy Division has recorded a lot of great gay anthems (one of which I previously discussed, “Anthem”). I wanted to add this one to the list specifically because it takes a very pissed-off direct jab at the very common saying “that’s so gay.”

“I heard what you said / Just a figure of speech? / If you meant nothing by it / Practice what you preach / The next time you say it / you better think twice / Some pissed off faggot / may not take it too nice”

Put very simply:

“What’d he say? / ‘That’s so gay’ / Um guess what? / That’s not okay!”

[ ℗ 2016 601724 Records DK. ]

“I Know a Place” by MUNA (2017)

“I Know a Place” is a reassuring, healing, and uplifting song written for the LGBTQ community. The song reassures the community that safe spaces exist. MUNA’s leading lesbian, and songwriter for the group, Katie Gavin told Time:

“We knew that if we were to make a song that truly spoke to the American LGBTQ community in 2015, it would need to address both victory and violence. With ‘I Know a Place,’ we chose to imagine a place where none of us would need to be afraid. In honor of Pride and the rich LGBTQ history of turning bars and ballrooms into safe havens, the space we imaged was a dance club.”

“You think being yourself means being unworthy / And it’s hard to love with a heart that’s hurting / but if you want to go out dancing / I know a place / I know a place we can go / where everyone gonna lay down their weapon”

Gavin acknowledges the more tragic real-life events that have occurred since writing and releasing the song:

“At the time, we intended the dance club to serve as a metaphor. Then, on June 12th, 2016, a gunman walked into Latin Night at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida — a queer space, a brown space, a safe space– and shot 49 people to death…[After the Pulse shooting], people all over the country went out dancing — not just because it was Pride weekend, but because they felt it important not to give in to fear in the face of hate. People came together in dive bars, bedrooms, and places of worship to celebrate and to grieve, to love and protect one another, and this gentle resilience was nothing less than radical resistance.”

“They will try to make you unhappy / Don’t let them / They will try to tell you you’re not free / Don’t listen”

Gavin also spoke about the song’s intent to encourage the LGBTQ community in America:

“[The song] was also meant to serve as encouragement for our community to remain vulnerable and kind and hopeful in the face of violence. We cannot build a better world without first imaging what that world might look like, and by creating that space inside ourselves first.”

[ ℗ 2016 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. ]


Friendly reminder: pride NEVER ends. Though these anthems are most notably heard during Pride months and at respective Pride celebrations, they deserve year-round credit. Blast these for Pride and for every other day of the year.

Did I miss any of your favorite LGBTQ+ anthems? Please share the song and the reason you love it in the comments!

5 thoughts

    1. I have to be honest, I actually hadn’t heard this album until just now. Thank you so much for sharing, definitely worthy for this list. Such a cool sound showing so much range and truth on just one album. After first full listen, “First Vision” and “Devil” really caught my ears!

      Liked by 1 person

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