How does a song become a gay anthem? Like the LGBTQ+ community itself, our soundtrack is vast and diverse. We have recorded our history and contribution to the culture through music, and with this list we acknowledge and remember the forerunners that have made possible the positive changes we’ve seen over the decades. These songs are a testimony to our resilience and excellence.
While it’s impossible to define exactly what makes a song “gay,” this list definitely isn’t straight. You will see many overlaps between this list and some of the best house and disco tracks that were blasted in the ballrooms, as well as transformative hits by our beloved big-voiced divas. There are introspective slow jams that mirror our struggles with self-acceptance and social rejection by queer artists and allies alike. There are chart-topping sensations and hidden gems that are forgotten or yet to be discovered; instant classics and songs that grew to be our community’s favorites. Besides the best-known songs that are essential to a list like this, we wish to highlight the queer musicians who deserve a spotlight.
To keep this countdown diverse, artists were only allowed one song on this list, and it is still growing and changing as our fight continues. As you listen to this playlist, check out what actions you can take against the anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures across the country. Don’t forget to follow our playlist on Spotify below. And for more stories about the LGBTQ+ community and our fiercest allies, keep up with Billboard Pride.