10 LGBTQIA+ Songs for Pride this Year

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With Pride Month in full swing, we decided to take a look through the history of LGBTQIA+ music and recommend our picks for 10 LGBTQIA+ songs that capture the spirit of the queer community. From allies to trans-icons, this selection hits many musical nodes and celebrates some of the history around the queer communities’ struggles, successes, and pleasures all in one.

1. ‘It’s A Sin’ – Pet Shop Boys

No pride playlist is complete without ‘It’s A Sin’. Resurging in popularity after the Olly Alexander cover for the Channel 4 show of the same name, the song became a landmark for the queer community at the time – representing the struggle of trying to live the life you love without judgment.

2. ‘I Will Survive’ – Gloria Gaynor

‘I Will Survive’ was never meant to be a queer banger, but that didn’t stop the community from embracing it anyways. Infused with disco, catchy lyrics, and the song’s most important theme: survival, Gloria Gaynor created something that resonated with gay communities affected by the HIV crisis. Even now, the song persists, a reminder of those who passed and those who survived.

3. ‘Make Me Feel’ – Janelle Monáe

Out and proud, Janelle Monáe’s music is infused with tender reflections on queer pleasure and love, often stylised with funky disco beats, R’n’B backdrops, pop, and, most recently, reggae influences. ‘Make Me Feel’ may not be overtly queer lyrically, but one watch of its video captures the essence of Monáe’s style that makes them one of the most exciting queer artists working in music currently.

4. ‘Cherry’ – Rina Sawayama

Often overlooked in Rina Sawayama’s discography, ‘Cherry’ acted as Sawayama’s way of exploring and proclaiming her pansexuality. With the lyrics confronting Sawayama’s early desire to repress her sexuality, ‘Cherry’ represents coming to peace with and embracing queerness.

5. ‘It’s Okay To Cry’ – SOPHIE

Trans-icon SOPHIE faced a lot of discrimination within the music industry, challenging her and her music. However, when SOPHIE released ‘It’s Okay To Cry’, many saw this as a declaration of her trans-identity and an act of consolidating the fears and sadness that come with living a life she never felt was her own. As an artist who defied genres, SOPHIE only blessed us with one album before her passing in 2021, but it’s loved and respected within the queer community.

6. ‘Rush’ – Troye Sivan

Currently on his world tour during Pride Month, Troye Sivan’s ‘Rush’ is packed with plenty of references to male-queer culture and celebrating the joys accompanying it. Sivan’s song captures an explicit queerness, aiming for “[…] the feeling of kissing a sweaty stranger on a dancefloor” and opening a chapter in Sivan’s life where he “[…] feel[s] confident, free and liberated”. During pride month, this song celebrates queer pleasure, inspiring people to get up and dance and, quite possibly, be that sweaty stranger on that dancefloor.

7. ‘Unholy’ – Sam Smith & Kim Petras

Controversial even within the LGBTQIA+ and Queer community, that didn’t stop ‘Unholy’ from becoming a mega-success and launching a new era in Sam Smith’s career. Featuring a gospel-like open that morphs into the electronic hard-beats and swathe sexiness of its lyrics, Smith switches from the ballads of their heyday like ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’ in favour of a song that represented the start of a metamorphosis in their career and a stylised sexuality of being unabashedly fearless.

8. ‘The Code’ – Nemo

As the most recent song on this list, ‘The Code’ is a queer Eurovision multi-genre banger, leading to Switzerland’s success at the 2024 competition. From opera to drum & bass, Nemo’s musical heights create an odyssey, exploring a journey of gender through music. As a non-binary artist and Eurovision’s first non-binary winner, Nemo set another landmark victory for queer representation in one of television’s gayest competition shows.

9. ‘Eugene’ – Arlo Parks

Often consider the heights of Arlo Parks’ poetic lyricism and, more generally, her discography, ‘Eugene’ reflects on friendship and unrequited love – the problems of loving someone as queer when they’re not queer themselves. With a soft voice and those neo-soul undertones, Arlo Parks’ discography is a track list that captures much of the struggles and tender beauty of being queer.

10. ‘Relax’ – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

A song hounded by controversy upon release, ‘Relax’ not only ended up banned by the BBC, but its video was also reportedly banned by MTV for its setting in an S&M-themed gay nightclub. Celebrating pleasure (both homosexual and heterosexual), ‘Relax’ would eventually reach infamy and go on to represent the joy of sexual pleasure among all sexualities.

Bonus Song:

11. ‘Keep Riding Me’ – ur pretty

While many of the previous songs deal with sex and pleasure in queer communities, none do so as overtly as ‘Keep Riding Me’ by ur pretty. Smashing taboos and celebrating queer sex with a lick of humour, ur pretty draws from the various cis-heterosexual songs that crop up in all genres about sex, creating a banger that’s amassed millions of streams. What’s even better? ur pretty has plenty of similar songs split across their discography and personas (including Dixon Dallas & Jake Hill).

With so many songs to choose from, this is just a short list of LGBTQIA+ songs that all have something worth celebrating in their content. Each year and each Pride Month brings new music to celebrate – so who knows what songs will be on next year’s Pride playlists.

Words By Sam Pegg


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