June especially means the celebration of Pride Month and since music is the universal language, what better way to celebrate it than to crank up a playlist of the best songs to celebrate LGBTQIA+? Here are 44 awesome songs to stir the heart and move the hips. Let’s all celebrate as if we were at a Fire Island party!
Hit play, and let your rainbow energy flow.
1. Heather, Conan Gray
On the topic of love, it really sucks when your crush doesn't love you back. Conan Gray told Apple Music that this heartbreaking ballad is the most honest account of his love life he has ever written. Originally released as a track on Gray's debut studio album Kid Krow in March 2020, it was released as the sixth single in September 2020.
The song is based on an actual teenage experience of Gray's. While in high school, he spent four years in love with a person who didn't love him back. The person was in a relationship with a girl named Heather.
The song explores feelings of frustration and hate as a reflection of love and a feeling of sorrow. He unravels feelings of envy and yearning in his wistful "Heather" song.
Fun fact: When this song took off on Tiktok, “Heather” gained the meaning of “a beautiful girl”. Urban Dictionary describes "Heather" as the following: "when someone says that you're Heather, they mean that everybody can't help but like you."
2. Girls Like Girls, Hayley Kiyoko
“Girls Like Girls” was unlike anything that Kiyoko has ever written. The song’s lyrics delved into her queer identity with brazen confidence that had remained unseen on previous songs up until that moment.
For many queer pop-starts coming out was considered a public announcement to be made after they'd already achieved major success. On the contrary, in 2015, Kiyoko stood out as one of the few queer stars who not only opened up about her sexuality publicly but by doing so, found substantially more popularity.
“Girls Like Girls” would go on to become the star’s signature song, introducing her to a massive audience. Today, the song is still shaping the star’s career path.
3. Bitter, FLETCHER - feat. Kito
On "Bitter" there is no wishing to return to the past or fully move on from the one who wronged you. Instead, FLETCHER gives us an anthemic outlet for when we are just not quite ready to move on.
The song insinuates a toxic or unfinished relationship between FLETCHER and her past lover. In the first verse, she lists some letdowns and disappointing circumstances that describe what she’s feeling. Discussing themes of jealousy and curiosity of a past lover and their new partner, the term “bitter” is used as a metaphor in the song, with FLETCHER hoping she tastes bitter in her ex-lover’s new partner’s mouth.
Fun fact: “Bitter” was produced over FaceTime in quarantine.
4. Sofia, Clairo
"Sofia" is a song by Clairo released on July 26, 2019. It became a sleeper hit after going viral on TikTok, charting on the Billboard Hot 100 more than a year after its initial release.
On her Twitter, Clairo explained the song, saying it’s about her first crush on women she saw in the media. It was her way of making a celebratory song about this discovery while maintaining the cheesy lyrics people normally find in love songs.
She created the song as an anthem for the actualization of her sexuality. She sings of budding queer love and societal expectations.
5. First Time He Kissed a Boy, Kadie Elder
In September 2014, the group released a new single called “First Time He Kissed A Boy”. The song brings back the memories of crazy summer adventures and it sounds brighter and more joyful than their earlier songs.
“First Time He Kissed A Boy” is a very light pop composition bringing a smile to your face. Repeating the phrase “Get lost” in the lyrics, Kadie Elder seems to tell us that there is nothing wrong in having a little bit of fun and it’s recommended to stop thinking for a moment, from time to time. Apparently, the guys of Kadie Elder don’t care that the summer is almost over.
The song itself is very catchy and quite ethereal, with a tune that will stay in your head. It’s about having that first kiss, having previously only known repression and hiding of your identity.
6. Honey, Kehlani
"Honey" is a song by Kehlani and it was released on October 6, 2017. She first performed the song live at Billboard's Women in Music 2017. Sweet and deeply personal, Kehlani’s song is a love song about her relationship with a woman.
She said she thought that her music lacked representation of how her actual life is: “My art mimics my life, so you know I have a girlfriend, and it's only right that that's what I make music about and that I'm able to put that out confidently."
Fun fact: The song was made using a Geoffro guitar loop with her best friends.
7. Cool for the Summer, Demi Lovato
"Cool for the Summer" is a song by Demi Lovato. It was released as the lead single from their fifth studio album Confidenton on July 1, 2015, and attracted attention for its bi-curious hints and sexually suggestive lyrics.
The song received nominations for MTV Video Music Awards and 2015 Teen Choice Awards and it received an award for being one of the most-performed songs of 2015 at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards.
Demi Lovato said she wanted to bring attention to people's sexuality, taking away the stigma and the shame of wanting to try things. She wanted to inspire people to be themselves.
Even though she has now come out as non-binary, at that time she was hinting that the song's experimental lyrics come from her real life, saying that she was not confirming nor denying anything about her own lesbianism.
8. Oh my God, (G)I-DLE
Oh my god is a Korean pop song performed by (G)I-DLE, released in both Korean and English through Cube Entertainment on April 6, 2020.
The main theme seems to be about temptation and the initial push/pull of resisting or giving in to something. The song was conceptualized around the theme of “self-trust” when encountering reality and experiencing feelings of rejection, confusion, recognition, and dignity.
The imagery represents love in its many forms, a notion made more powerful by the unexpected use of female pronouns - left for fans to interpret. She didn't want to limit that “she” pronoun to a certain being or a certain definition. It's open to anything because all kinds of love are valuable.
9. Lgbtqia, Crissy B
Crissy B’s HIP-HOP single called Lgbtqia was released on September 11, 2020.
Even though there isn't much information about the song online, the lyrics speak for themselves. It’s a hype track supporting the LGBTQIA+ Community: “Lgbtqia, Lgbtqia, Lgbtqia … if you don’t like us, then move out of the way.”
10. Born This Way, Lady Gaga
"Born This Way" is a song by Lady Gaga, released on February 11, 2011. It was inspired by 1990s music which empowered women and the gay community. She said that "Born This Way" was her freedom song.
The lyrics during the verses talk about empowerment, while the chorus talks about making no apologies and accepting one as themselves. It features the names of LGBTQIA+ and other minority communities.
This song ended up winning best video and best song at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards, and Gaga won best female and biggest fans, recognizing that she knew that the song was very special when she first wrote it, and the most important song that she has ever written.
Fun fact: Lady Gaga wrote ‘Born This Way’ in 10 minutes in an act of “immaculate conception”.
11. Take Me to Church, Hozier
"Take Me to Church" is a song by Irish singer-songwriter Hozier and was released as his debut single on 13 September 2013. The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards and has been certified five-times platinum in the US.
This song is heavy, full of meaning, and culturally relevant. Hozier is singing against church-fueled "shaming", specifically against homophobia. The music video shows a gay couple being hunted and tortured by mask-wearing men.
The song comes in two parts: an adoration of Hozier's female lover and an indictment of the church: the chorus is an explicit and sarcastic attack on legalistic churches. In “Take Me to Church”, he reinforces his opinion that sex is an act of love far better than being beholden to a religion, supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.
Fun fact: He had a religious upbringing, but distanced himself from the church as he didn't agree with the way they judge people's lives. During an interview, he confessed, "It's no surprise I have strong opinions on where the Church should stick its nose out of and I have strong opinions as to what authority it does not have when speaking about sexuality or speaking about the relationship of two people."
12. I Kissed a Girl, Katy Perry
"I Kissed a Girl" is the debut single by Katy Perry for her second studio album, released on April 28, 2008.
This song is all about exploration and female bonding and it really inspired LGBTQIA+ people. Kiyoko, for instance, told The Guardian that only after hearing Perry sing about kissing another girl, pursuing her own pop-music career seemed attainable.
Fun fact: Katy Perry said the song was inspired by a friendship she had with a girl when she was 15. Even though she had never kissed her, she was totally obsessed with her, but never told her the song was about her.
13. I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend, Girl in Red
Girl in Red is trying to make sense of heartbreak and mixed signals. Her songs are for everyone who hid behind hetero ballads we put on mixes to our same-sex best friends, hoping that they’d get the hint.
What makes her unique is that she didn’t set out to be a queer icon, she just wanted to be honest.
She released the song "I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend" on Apple Music in March 2018 and it was listed at number 9 on The New York Times list of "The 68 Best Songs of 2018", considered “not a plea, but an insistent statement of purpose.”
14. Everybody Talks, Neon Trees
"Everybody Talks" is the lead single from the second studio album by rock band Neon Trees. It was released on December 20, 2011, and soon became a sleeper hit.
On 2020 National Coming Out Day, Tyler Glenn - the lead vocalist and keyboardist of the band - said that he wrote the first 3 Neon Trees’ albums in the closet but hid queer messages in songs. “Everybody Talks” was about his ex-girlfriend spreading rumors that he was gay. He concludes by saying that coming out 6 years (now 7) ago was the best move for his health and happiness.
Fun fact: The entire music video was filmed in one day, starting in the morning at 6 a.m. and wrapping at 2 a.m. the next day.
15. Girls in Bikinis, Poppy
"Girls In Bikinis" is a song by Poppy from her second studio album “Am I A Girl?”, released on October 31st, 2018.
The song is a critique on the sexualization and objectification of women in the media and an empowerment song celebrating revealing clothing. The song uses bikinis as a focal point to represent these topics, mentioning women throughout the song in a dreamy, fantasy-like manner.
A lot of people consider her “Am I A Girl?” album a nonbinary anthem.
16. I’m Coming Out, Diana Ross
Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out'' has become an LGBTQIA+ Pride anthem, and was released on August 22, 1980. "I'm Coming Out" has been regarded as an anthem for the LGBT community.
Due to the title “I’m Coming Out" - used to describe one's self-disclosure of sexual orientation or gender identity in the gay subculture since the early 20th - the song is interpreted as a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender identity and the encouragement of self-disclosure.
It was a hit then and it is a hit now - 40 years later, it continues to be a staple of Pride playlists around the world.
Fun fact: The singer was warned four decades ago that the song could ruin her career.
17. The Village, Wrabel
“The Village” by Wrabel, highlights the daily struggles of many transgender teenagers. The video begins with a scene in which the protagonist's father bursts in on their attempts to conceal their breasts with tape. The lyrics explain the young trans boy’s difficulties in being transgender and a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
He wrote the song in February 2017, shortly after Donald Trump removed federal protections for trans students in public education. In an interview about the song and video with Billboard, Wrabel described it as "the most important thing to me that I have ever done and probably will ever do. It's the closest thing to my heart."
Fun fact: On the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2019, Pink praised Wrabel and his video for "The Village", saying: "The song ‘The Village' will break your heart into many little tiny pieces... he's great."
18. She, dodie
“She” was first uploaded on dodie’s YouTube channel in September 2014 and the studio version of the song was released on January 18, 2019.
The song explores sexual orientation and truly accepting oneself. It’s another example of an artist exploring her feelings towards girls. Dodie wrote the song when she was about seventeen about a friend of hers. She was in love with her, but she was straight.
Fun fact: “She” became her first song to hit 1 million views on YouTube.
19. We Fell in Love in October, Girl in Red
"We Fell in Love in October" is a non-album single by Girl in Red. The song was released on November 21, 2018, in a double single with "Forget Her".
According to an interview for The Fader, this song was the first song she wrote about a girl in a relationship with a girl. She had just broken up with a guy and the screaming chorus “My girl, my girl!” was the reflection of her happiness for choosing to embrace her sexual orientation.
"We Fell in Love in October" has long been a streaming success, having racked up over 126 million global plays on Spotify alone, according to Billboard.
20. A Shitty Gay Song About You, Smoothboi Ezra
“A Shitty Gay Song About You” is Ezra’s most popular song. It’s about loving someone and feeling that you are perfect for each other but the person doesn’t know how you feel.
Smoothboi Ezra wants to help people feel a little less alone. They said in an interview: “I want to release songs … so that people will have a song like that to listen to. When you’re in it, you feel very alone. Really, it’s a universal feeling for a lot of people. It’s not just me.”
21. Same Love, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - feat. Mary Lambert
"Same Love" is a song by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, released as the third single from their 2012 album, The Heist.
The track features vocals by Mary Lambert, and talks about the issue of gay and lesbian rights. “Same Love” was recorded during the campaign for Washington Referendum 74, which, upon approval in November 2012, legalized same-sex marriage in Washington State.
Not only does this song advocate for same-sex marriage, but the entire song is also dedicated to arguing for marriage equality.
Fun fact: The song was inspired by Macklemore's gay uncles and gay godfather, and is an issue that is personal to him.
22. Stay With Me, Sam Smith
"Stay with Me" is a song by Sam Smith, released in the United States on 14 April 2014 and in the United Kingdom on 18 May 2014.
The song has become Smith's most successful single to date. It was number one in the UK Singles Chart, topped the charts in Canada and New Zealand, and reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Smith later admitted that the person he is singing about throughout this song is a man. He didn't want his sexual orientation to influence how listeners perceived his music, so he waited to come out as gay.
This song takes all people, LGBTQIA+ or not, to a place of vulnerability and loneliness. It’s about that hollow, needy feeling after a one-night stand and that feeling of wanting someone to stay even if it was just a meaningless encounter.
23. Papercut, Kevin Abstract
“Papercut” is track eleven on Kevin Abstract’s sophomore album “American Boyfriend”, released in November 2016.
The lyrics of this song speak about his sexuality and relationship struggles.
In an interview with Interview Magazine Kevin confessed he found it very difficult to write this song, and was very scared to record it with so many people being in the same room.
Like most things produced by a queer artist, this song reflects emotions, thoughts, and struggles many LGBTQIA+ people face and endure. There are constant admissions of suicidal thoughts, closeted self-hate, and family tension. It confronts grief in some ways, it is authentic and many people can relate.
24. If You’re Over Me, Years & Years
"If You're Over Me" is a song recorded by Years & Years, released on 10 May 2018.
Olly Alexander said in an interview that this song it’s about him reflecting on a past romance that went wrong. This is a song about trying to stay friends with an ex, and spoiler alert, the relationship ended up ruined. It’s about the emotional torture of meeting up and making out, then breaking up all over again.
Like so many other artists, the singer was also advised to keep quiet about being gay when the group got their record deal. Nowadays, he has become an LGBTQIA+ advocate and ended up winning the LGBT Celebrity of the Year award at the British LGBT Awards, in November 2020.
Fun fact: The advice the band leaves for its audience is: “Shove a rainbow in fear’s face”.
25. Smalltown Boy, Bronski Beat
"Smalltown Boy" is a song by the band Bronski Beat, released in June 1984. It’s from their debut album, The Age of Consent, released in December 1984.
The song was a big commercial success, reaching number 3 in the band's native UK, number one hit in the Netherlands and Belgium, and hit the top 10 in Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, and Switzerland.
As a heartfelt cry for liberation, “Smalltown Boy” is a popular gay anthem, discussing the oppression and maltreatment of closest homosexuals in the 1980s, particularly in Scotland.
It’s a semi-autobiographical story of Jimmy Somerville, who was the lead singer of the band at the time, covering the oppression of homosexuals in provincial Scotland in the early 1980s. The music video showed Somerville being attacked by a homophobic gang and being brought home by police to the family whom he is attempted to run away from. It was among the 125 videos selected by Channel 4 to be voted into their top 100.
26. Pussy Is God, King Princess
"Pussy Is God" is a song performed by King Princess, released in November 2018.
The song is mostly a celebration of sex and the feeling of finding the right partner. Has she previously said, “Queer love was only allowed to exist privately for a long time.” She continues to bring the once-private into the public. Because of that and more, her music has garnered her a passionate fan base in the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond.
Fun fact: The track was co-written by King Princess’s girlfriend, the actress Amandla Stenberg.
27. Miserable America, Kevin Abstract
Rapper Kevin Abstract's song and music video for "Miserable America" is an intersectional reflection of his experience as a Black queer man.
Every time an LGBTQIA+ couple chooses to so much as glance at each other lovingly in public there is the threat of violence - he captures all of this terror, confusion, and discomfort in his title.
28. I Confess My Love, Keiynan Lonsdale
Keiynan Lonsdaleis an Australian actor, dancer, and singer-songwriter. In 2018, he starred as Bram in the film Love, Simon, about a teenage boy who struggles to come out. It was this role that helped him come to terms with his own sexuality, identifying himself now as queer.
Throughout his acting career, Lonsdale has been producing music, telling stories about love, queerness, and the lessons he’s learned.
“I Confess My Love” is one of those songs in which he explores and discusses queer relationships on a more melodic track.
29. Girls, Girl in Red
Girl in read’s 2018 singles "Summer Depression" and "Girls" gained millions of views and streams online.
“Girls” is her most popular video on YouTube - currently sitting at over a million views - is an upbeat slice of love-filled bedroom pop containing the line: “They’re so pretty it hurts / I’m not talkin’ bout boys, I’m talkin’ bout girls.”
A lot of the LGBTQIA+ people, especially the young generation, are exploring their gender and sexual identity via her music.
30. Colors, Halsey
"Colors" is a song by Halsey from her debut studio album, Badlands. It was released on February 9, 2016.
A passionate ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, Halsey is also bisexual and supports community organizations and LGBTQ causes. Themes depicting her sexuality come across heavily in her music.
Halsey says that her song is about being in a relationship with someone and watching the colors start to fade. Any sort of negative behavior that's taking the colors away from the bright and lively person that they used to be.
31. Palm Dreams, Hayley Kiyoko
“Palm Dreams" is the eleventh track off Hayley Kiyoko's debut album, Expectations. It was released on March 30, 2018.
Ever since her breakout viral single “Girls Like Girls”, which comes number 2 in our playlist, Kiyoko doesn’t hold anything back by simply being herself.
Born in Los Angeles, California, this song dictates Hayley’s current journey to stardom which she achieves with some help from the "golden state", or California.
32. Ease My Mind, Hayley Kiyoko
"Ease My Mind" is the second track off Hayley Kiyoko's third extended play, Citrine. It was released on September 30, 2016.
Kiyoko’s songs aren’t about experimentation, they are about normalizing love – all love. From beginning to end, Citrine tells a story. Each song is a chapter detailing her personal growth and acceptance of herself.
Contrary to her other songs, “Ease My Mind” can distract the audience from the more difficult aspects of this struggle with glossy, optimistic beats, high notes, and cheery interludes.
33. Echo, Kevin Abstract
“Echo” served as the first single from Kevin’s sophomore album “American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story”.
This powerful song touches on Kevin’s various struggles throughout life, from the departure of a loved one to family issues. It was shortened and remastered with a completely new production for the album and served as the closing track, ending the story of the album with Kevin running away from home. He collaborated with Tyler Mitchell, an up-and-coming photographer based in New York City, to create the music video for “Echo.”
34. You’ve Got Time, Regina Spektor
"You've Got Time" is the main title theme song for the Netflix Original Series Orange Is the New Black, by Regina Spektor, released in 2013. The song was nominated in the Best Song Written for Visual Media category at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
Unlike most other series, this one is still teeming with important, well-drawn LGBTQIA+ characters.
35. Heroes - David Bowie (1999 remaster)
“Heroes” is a song by David Bowie, released on 23 September 1977.
It was inspired by the sight of Bowie's producer-engineer Tony Visconti embracing his lover by the Berlin Wall - the song tells the story of two lovers, one from East and one from West Berlin. Bowie's performance of “Heroes” on 6 June 1987, in West Berlin has been considered a catalyst to the later fall of the Berlin Wall.
More than a leading figure in the music industry, Bowie inspired and influenced many LGBTQIA+ when he declared himself gay. For thousands of young LGBT people across the world, life was suddenly a little less suffocating.
In the days following his death, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender fans shared how the rocker influenced their lives and helped bring queer culture into the mainstream in the 1960s and 1970s.
36. Grace Kelly, MIKA
Mika topped the UK Singles Chart in January 2007 with "Grace Kelly". In the song, Mika points out how he can pretend to be anyone he likes to win approval - in this case, the glamorous actress Grace Kelly.
A few years later, in an August 2012 interview with the magazine Instinct, the singer described himself as gay, confessing that only through his music has he found the strength to come to terms with my sexuality.
37. Make Me Feel, Janelle Monáe
"Make Me Feel" is a song by Janelle Monáe, released on February 22, 2018, and praised as a "bisexual anthem."
The world may recognize Janelle Monáe for her music, but no one can deny her new role: advocate. In the video for “Make Me Feel”, she comes forward as an unapologetically queer person. We found her seductively dancing and flirting with a man and with a woman.
She sings about feeling a certain way for another human as a woman, regardless of that person’s gender.
38. Pynk, Janelle Monáe - feat. Grimes
"Pynk" is a song by Janelle Monáe, released in 2018.
The video itself also supports the message of championing self-love. It’s an ode to the insides of the female sex as represented by giant pants made in the image of a vagina. Its video is a multisensory, radical journey into a new dimension of queer sexuality.
39. Mystery of Love, Sufjan Stevens
"Mystery of Love" is a song by Sufjan Stevens, released on December 1, 2017. It is an acoustic song, the lyrics describe romance and allude to the relationship between Call Me by Your Name LGBTQIA+ film characters Elio and Oliver.
Without being openly queer himself (even though questions pertaining to his sexuality are speculated about), he makes LGBTQIA+ people feel like they also deserve happiness.
40. Wish you were Gay, Billie Eilish
"Wish You Were Gay" by Billie Eilish was written by her and her brother Finneas O'Connell, and release on March 4, 2019.
The song was inspired by real-life events. Billie Eilish penned the song about a crush who made it clear he wasn't interested in her - hence she wishing he was gay.
41. Only a Girl, Gia Woods
Gia Woods is taking the LGBTQIA+ community by storm. She released her debut single, "Only a Girl", in 2016, and it served as her coming out song.
Through her music, she has inspired many people to embrace their own identities. Growing up in a strict Persian household, Woods struggled to find herself. It was the music that saved her.
Her exotic charm swept the LGBTQIA+ community, along with millions of pop perusers. Ever since “Only a Girl”, Woods has been a voice to many people going through tribulations of finding their true identity.
42. Everyone Is Gay, A Great Big World
The song “Everyone Is Gay” by A Great Big World, was released in 2014.
It was written when the Everyone Is Gay platform asked them to write the “gayest song ever” for their compilation album. They give advice to LGBTQIA+ youth who are struggling with their sexuality. That’s how the song came to life, they wanted to write a song they wish they could've had growing up.
43. I Wish You Liked Girls, Abbey Glover
“I Wish You Liked Girls” by Abbey Glover was released in 2017.
This song is about a girl that found out that she liked either another girl or a guy who said that they liked boys. In her pain of lost love, she sings “I know you can’t change someone, so I’ll just leave you alone, although I wish you like girls.”
This song is about people, feelings, and heartbreaking moments.
44. Fuck You, Lily Allen
"Fuck You" is a song by Lily Allen from her second album, It's Not Me, It's You, released in 2009.
It's a hard-hitting attack on racism with a seemingly innocent nursery rhyme tune that started as a protest against George W. Bush. However, the subject matter of this song changes. It’s about everyone who doesn't respect others. In 2019, Lily Allen dedicated the song to Liam Neeson, an actor who has also been in the middle of a racist storm, saying: “Normally, I dedicate this song to Donald Trump, but tonight I’m dedicating it to Liam Neeson.”
Fun fact: The song has charted in countries under its more radio-friendly title "Guess Who Batman." A title with the same initials as George W Bush.