Pride season approaches, and before you decide what to wear (we’re already working on our wardrobe), do yourself a favor and load up some gay anthems on your playlist. For years the community has compiled a discography of music which–unofficially, anyway–speaks to the pleasure, the pain and the pride of living out loud.
Granted, the hymns of the gay church are not limited to the songs listed here, and music gods willing, artists will continue to grace the world with tunes that speak to the LGBT.
Before hitting up the festivals, the brunches, the parades and the parties, cue up these ditties for some rainbow rocking out…
1. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Lady Gaga had already earned the nickname “Lady Gay-gay” and come out as bisexual when she released this song, which cemented her icon status for all time.
2. Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya & Lil Kim – Lady Marmalade
Who could supplant gay icon Patti LaBelle’s version of the soul classic? Try four gay icons, each dressed like a drag queen hooker, in a video promoting a movie musical.
3. Cher – Turn Back Time
How can we pick just one Cher song to feature here? Easy, check out that outfit. Also, check out those sailors…
4. Sylvester – Do You Wanna Funk
Disco drag queen Sylvester crooned out this sexy anthem back in 1982. Besides capping off the disco craze of the 70s, it also introduced “funk” as a euphemism for a more vulgar term.
5. La Cage Au Folles – I Am What I Am
We were going to include Gloria Gaynor’s version of the popular show tune here, though, given the recent reevaluation of her icon status, we’ve decided to credit out-gay composer Jerry Herman’s musical instead. With that in mind, check out gay performer John Barrowman’s version, and prepare to open up your closets.
6. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance with Somebody
Sister Whitney, we miss you, and never more than when we all dance to this awesome pop tune.
7. Madonna – Express Yourself
Much like some of the other icons here, picking just one Madonna song as a Pride anthem gets tricky. Still, we can’t help but go for Madge naked bobbing about on chair with a very hot man.
8. RuPaul – Supermodel
Ru has more than earned his right to land on this list, not the least of which with this dance-tastic song about looking fabulous.
9. The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men
Rarely does it get gayer than this dance anthem. Any chance we could also have it reappointed as the National Anthem? Seriously, how great would it be to listen to before every Superbowl…
10. CeCe Peniston – Finally
The early 90s didn’t earn a reputation for great pop songs. An exception: this strut-worthy dance hit ready-made for drag shows.
11. ABBA – Dancing Queen
No doubt more than a few queens have busted a move to this ABBA standard. Surely, some queens will again.
12. Kylie Minogue – All The Lovers
Gay dance floors know well the songs of Ms. Minogue. We picked this over her others thanks to a super sexy video which features a bisexual love fest on a city street…ya know, something you might see at an actual Pride festival.
13. Sister Sledge – We Are Family
All members of the LGBT community–and their allies–come together to celebrate as one big queer family every Pride. So, get up everybody and sing this standard from Sister Sledge.
14. Cheryl Lynn – Got to Be Real
Pride’s a special time when the community comes together and celebrates our truth. Our love is here to stay, and we’ve got to be real.
15. The Village People – In the Navy
We know some of you will be wearing sailor suits to Pride. That’s not a complaint.
16. Divine – You Think You’re A Man
What’s better than a 300lbs. drag queen howling out a dance tune about sexual satisfaction?
17. Scissor Sisters – Don’t Feel Like Dancing
Possibly the gayest band of all time, the Scissor Sisters were never more irresistible than with this toe-tapper. Bonus: Lead singer Jake Shears gyrating.
18. Cyndi Lauper – True Colors
Every member of the community faces moments of fear and doubt. In times like that, the wisdom of Ms. Lauper encourages us all to love ourselves, which is exactly what Pride is all about.
19. Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out
Self-explanatory. What better time to come out than Pride.
20. Against Me – True Trans Soul Rebel
Leave it to a rock band with a transgender lead singer to pen the most rocking song on this list: a tune about rebelling and being yourself.
What are your faves? Name the best in the comments section and we’ll add to this list or compile another roundup.