Great Gay Anthems: 11 LGBTQ Pride Songs (Some You’ve Heard, and Some You Almost Certainly Haven’t)

Pride is about more than just owning who you are and letting the world know it. It’s the recognition you’re worthy, an intimate connection with your truth that lets you live beyond the limitations and demands of the world and embrace your real self.

It’s a suit of armor.

Pride doesn’t mean you’ll never get hurt or feel down. You’ll suffer blows. You might even get dented. But when you do, you’ll you know it’s those who attack you who are wrong. Because you are right, you are perfect, and you are free.

No song can make you feel that way. Not even a colorful, rollicking parade down Main Street can do that.

It comes from within. But these popular (and lesser-known) gay anthems can help put you on the right track toward self-love and unwavering PRIDE.

You’ve probably heard popular gay anthem…

I Am What I Am from La Cage aux Folles

You better have. It doesn’t get more gay pride than this song, which was written by a gay man for Broadway’s gayest musical about… well… gay pride.

If you haven’t, here’s Harvey Fierstein singing it:

 
And Ginger Minj with the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2 performing it:

 
And Linda Eder representing the women of Broadway:

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But have you heard potential gay anthem…

I Am Who I Am by Holly Dunn?

Now, it might seem a little topsy-turvy to pair the gayest song to ever grace Broadway with a barely-known song by a country singer whose most famous hit is about her minister father, but this song has the credentials.

Holly Dunn spent the late-80s churning out a series of top 10 country hits. Then, in the late-90s, she quietly exited country music, moved to the American Southwest, worked as an artist, and married a woman.

This song was on her last semi-successful studio album, and she kind of threw the writing on the wall.

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You’ve probably heard popular gay anthem…

This is Me from The Greatest Showman

If you haven’t, God bless you for avoiding the world and Muzak for the past few years.

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But have you heard potential gay anthem…

I’ve Gotta Be Me by Sammy Davis Jr.?

Hint: You probably have, because Glee couldn’t keep its hands off it and advertisers adore it.

This song wasn’t written to be gay – it comes from a straight romantic musical – but it is anyway. A lot of songs about being true to one’s self sort of have that gay vibe.

To make it even gayer, the musical it’s from is called Golden Rainbow. ‘Cause of course it is.

 
The Glee version is a bit more up-tempo, but not as gloriously dramatic.

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You’ve probably heard popular gay anthem…

Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

But did you know the song comes from a decidedly gay place? Linda Perry wrote it and intended to record it herself, before she let Christina sing it and went gaga, as the world did, for her powerful vocals.

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But have you heard potential gay anthem…

I’m Beautiful by Bette Midler?

Groovy beat? Check.

Empowering lyrics? Check

The Divine Miss M? Bonus check.

Camp? In spades.

I’m Beautiful is a cover of the song I’m Beautiful Dammitt! by duo Uncanny Alliance with slightly altered lyrics to make it more gay-inclusive.

It’s also a helluva lot of fun.

If you’ve been looking for an anthem that says what it needs to say in an utterly euphoric fashion, this is the song for you.

 
Here’s the original if you’re curious, but be forewarned there’s no little gay boy:
 

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You’ve probably heard popular gay anthem…

Let it Go from Frozen

(performed by Idina Menzel)

If you’ve somehow avoided it, again good on you.

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But have you heard also-popular gay anthem…

Defying Gravity from Wicked?

(also performed by Idina Menzel)

Probably.

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How about potential gay anthem…

Brave by Idina Menzel?

Of these three songs Defying Gravity probably has the gayest lyrics, bolstered by a mid-song plea in which Idina’s in-song character, Elphaba, begs her “best friend” Galinda to join her in blowing off society’s expectations and limitations.

But it’s a close contest.

And that’s without touching Idina’s work in Rent – GAY! – or the rest of Wicked, which can be tossed and turned and saddled with a (shared) male love interest, but really is just a three-hour hate-to-love story between two women.

Seriously, though, listen to Brave. It’s obviously written about the end of a relationship, but there’s a lot of coming out metaphor in there.

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You’ve probably heard popular gay anthem…

Born This Way by Lady Gaga

One can even hope you’ve belted it out at Pride in a meat dress with a well-glittered eye.

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But how about old-school gay anthem…

I Was Born This Way by Valentino or Carl Bean?

This song has an interesting origin story. The lyrics were written by a straight woman with a lot of gay friends whose aim was to capture how her gay friends felt inside, as opposed to how they were treated by society.

And that feeling, as captured in her song, is undeniably, unabashedly PRIDE.

The music is also undeniably and unabashedly disco, especially in the Carl Bean version, and the sheer number of times you get to sing “I’m gay” in this song is incredibly satisfying.

Here’s the original Valentino version:

 
And the follow-up by Carl Bean:

 
Happy listening! Happy Pride!

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