Your mind probably immediately goes to the classics. "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor or "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross are still played in gay clubs around the world. Probably remixed over a trap beat, but nevertheless, they are still celebrated in our community. Fast forward 20 years and we got songs like "Believe" by Cher or "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera to keep us inspired.
Anthems usually have a few defining qualities. Previously, pop divas have been ubiquitous with gay anthems, but for the first time this decade, we're finally seeing a push of actual LGBTQ artists in mainstream media. Gay anthems have evolved, though they still revolved around themes like celebrating your sexuality, unrequited love, overcoming hardship, and ultimately invoking a sense of community.
So what are the greatest of the 2010s gay anthems?
To define a gay anthem (and a great one at that), we took notice of a song's mainstream popularity but also dissected each track's messaging, quality, queer factor, the icon or ally status of the artist, if the gays scream when the track comes on, and how much of a pop culture moment the track was. There might be some songs you don't know at the top of the list that nabbed that spot because the track's weight as an anthem was more powerful than streaming numbers. There are bubbly pop songs about falling in love and heartbreak, as well as moody R&B and hip-hop songs that launched movements.
So here are our picks for the best gay anthems of the 2010s!
50. 'You Need To Calm Down' - Taylor Swift
The country-pop superstar came out as a vocal gay ally in this synthy kiss-off to bullies and internet trolls. The video features a jam-packed cast of queer celebs and pushed her fans to support the Equality Act, a bill hoping to reduce discrimination against LGBTQ people in the U.S. "Shade never made anybody less gay" indeed, Miss Swift!
49. 'LGBT' - CupcakKe
"Fuck out my way when you see me/I'm rollin' with the LGBT." The first line was all we needed to declare this rap track as an instant gay anthem!
48. 'Girls / Girls / Boys' - Panic! At The Disco
Led by pansexual rock star Brendon Urie, the iconic pop-punk group said it plain in this funky 2013 track. "Girls love girls and boys/Love is not a choice."
47. 'How To Be a Heartbreaker' - Marina and the Diamonds
Bubblegum pop star Marina showed us exactly how to break hearts while not putting our own on the line, and that clearly resonated with many a queer people who notoriously aren't always so lucky with love.
46. 'Read U Wrote U' - RuPaul's Drag Race Stars
I'm Roxxxy Andrews and I'm here to make it clear, this Emmy-winning reality series has come to define this decade and pushed drag into the mainstream. We could list countless RuPaul songs on this playlist, but this all-star-studded remix featuring several of the most iconic queens and moments in Drag Race herstory takes the cake.
45. 'Summertime Sadness Remix' - Lana Del Rey
The sex. The drama. That wild and uncaged feeling. The morbid celebration of it all. It's easy to see why so many queer people stan Lana Del Rey, and she brought her syrupy sadness into the mainstream with this banger.
44. 'Truth Hurts' - Lizzo
The world might have just caught on to Lizzo and her #1 single 'Truth Hurts,' but gay men have been rabid fans of the outspoken LGBTQ ally way back since her drunken club banger "Phone." Taste? We have it! And well be singing this self-love anthem in our graves!
43. 'Pussy Is God' - King Princess
LGBTQ people—and especially queer women—have been absolutely smitten by King Princess and her acoustic pop soliloquies to female lovers. "1950" might be her biggest hit, but "Pussy Is God" can't be described as anything other than a gay anthem.
42. 'New Rules' - Dua Lipa
Need help getting over an ex? Dua Lipa's candy-coated instruction manual on how to get those f*ck-bois/girls/people out of your life was screamed by queer people who had finally had enough!
41. 'King' - Years & Years
This British pop group, led by openly gay frontman Olly Alexander, has blessed us with bop after bop over the years, but "King" seems to have resonated the most with fans around the world. Even Nick Jonas covered this bouncy track about escaping the control of a destructive lover.
40. 'Let It Go' - Idina Menzel
From Disney's icy animated film Frozen, this musical theater track about finding the strength to let yourself be exactly who you are instantly connected to queer people everywhere. I've even heard some remixes played in gay bars and as you can imagine, everyone absolutely lost their minds trying to hit those high notes.
39. 'Bisexual Anthem' - Domo Wilson
The lyrics of this hilariously tongue-in-cheek rap track say it all here: "I like girls/I like guys/I like to eat the p*ssy/then again I like to ride."
Better not forget the "B" in LGBT!
38. 'Work Bitch' - Britney Spears
Iconic. Who amongst us hasn't tried that side to side arm sway while screaming "YOU BETTER WORK BITCH" in our bedrooms?
37. 'Tuesday' - Ilovemakonnen, Drake
This hip-hop collab dominated the charts and clubs in 2014, and while ILOVEMAKONNEN came out as gay after this song's popularity peaked, whose else's "clubs are going up on a Tuesday?" Straight people? I think not.
36. 'Bad At Love' - Halsey
This bisexual pop star sings about her doomed romances with both guys and girls in this radio-friendly track with all too relatable lyrics: "I'm bad at love/ooh-ooh/But you can't blame me for trying."
35. 'On The Regular' - Shamir
Shamir might not enjoy this first album of experimental pop-electronic tracks but the catchy songs, eye-popping visuals, and Shamir's gender-bending style were instantly celebrated in the gay scene.
34. 'Somebody Loves You' - Betty Who
This wholesome bop went viral when it was used in a gay marriage proposal at a Home Depot, and it still slaps till this day.
33. 'Take Me To Church' - Hozier
This Irish folk singer took the music industry by surprise with the success of this soulful ode to worshiping in the bedroom. Comparing a climax to a religious shrine, Hozier's borderline-blasphemous track on the effortless sin of sex pissed off people around the world. The outspoken LGBTQ ally took it a step further with the music video, where he depicts two gay men being ripped apart by homophobic violence in Russia. It brought international attention to the issue and launched an international conversation about LGBTQ rights.
The pop-soul crooner—who now identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns—smashed on the scene with their first solo hit "Stay With Me." Gay men effortlessly identified with Smith's loneliness after the departure of a one-night stand, and Smith used this music video to initially open up about their sexuality—a big deal for 2014.
30. 'Follow Your Arrow' - Kacey Musgraves
Country music isn't known as the most progressive music genre, but Kacey Musgraves made waves with this track, where she sweetly sang, "Make lots of noise/Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/If that's something you're into."
29. 'Let's Have A Kiki' - Scissor Sisters
This instructional dance track with that driving bass and hilarious gay lingo went from the gay clubs to the mainstream when it was sung by Sarah Jessica Parker on Glee. What gay can resist singing along to "Let's have a kiki/I wanna have a kiki/Lock the doors tight"?
28. 'Disco Tits' - Tove Lo
Tove Lo was already an openly bisexual superstar with the success of her first few singles "Habits (Stay High)" and "Talking Body," but this is the track that made her a gay icon. It's one of a handful of songs on this list that gay men and women can agree on that does, 100% absolutely, slap. Disco tits unite us all!
27. 'Titanium' - David Guetta, Sia
Did you realize the incredible vocals behind this track were from the openly queer powerhouse singer Sia? Years before she rose into the pop spotlight with "Chandelier," she penned this anthem about enduring everything the world throws at you and coming out stronger.
26. 'Super Bass' - Nicki Minaj
The gays love a pop star in a colorful wig and Nicki Minaj was FEEDING US in the early 2010s with catchy bubblegum choruses, iconic lyrics, and look after look after look. Find a gay nearest you and dare him not to scream when this song comes on.
25. 'Do My Thang' - Miley Cyrus
The Bangerz era of Miley's career is one of her most beloved by queer people and while "Do My Thang" wasn't a single—or even close to the popularity of songs like "Wrecking Ball" or "We Can't Stop"—this b-side track somehow seeped into the brains of gays around the country.
24. 'Brave' - Sara Bareilles
Bareilles wrote this empowering anthem for a friend who was struggling to come out of the closet and dedicated it to her LGBTQ fans at her concerts. "There's so much honor and integrity and beauty in being able to be who you are," said the singer-songwriter at the time. "It's important to be brave because by doing that you also give others permission to do the same."
23. 'Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)' - Kelly Clarkson
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger/Stand a little taller/Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone." Almost everything Clarkson sings becomes an anthem (she just has that voice and star power) but gays really latched onto this pump-up track's empowering message.
22. 'Correct' - MNEK
Black gay boy joy shines in this pop track, where MNEK lets all the haters now that you need to come correct if you're going to step up to him. Messages of self-love and feeling yourself are even more powerful coming from black and brown people and the track has inspired many to stand tall in our joy. "The song is saying that to anyone–including myself–that if you’ve earned what you’ve done," said MNEK. "No-one should take that away from you, no-one should make you feel bad about it, and girl, own it!"
21. 'Honey' - Kehlani
"I like my girls just like I like my honey; sweet, a little selfish." If that acoustic guitar and opening line don't make you swoon, you don't have a pulse. Openly queer pop-R&B artist Kehlani has many tracks that could make this list, but "Honey" holds a special place in many queer people's hearts as a love-letter to women and its syrupy-sweet vibe.
20. 'Boys' - Charli XCX
Featuring some of our favorite male celebs bathed in pink, Charli XCX gave the gays everything they wanted with this simple pop track about daydreaming over cute boys. Who can forget that hilarious viral remix where someone replaced that video game jingle with the Gridr alert tone? Not I.
19. 'Bloom' - Troye Sivan
Our favorite twink gave us a full floral fantasy with his single, "Bloom," which was widely accepted as an anthem for power-bottoms. On the "subversively queer" track, Sivan said "It’s 100 percent about flowers! That’s all it is,' he says with a wink. 'Call it whatever you wanna call it. I wanna play that song at every Pride.'"
18. 'Into You' - Ariana Grande
This list wouldn't be complete with some Ariana, one of the defining pop divas of the 2010s and outspoken LGBTQ ally. This lustful and longing single from the Dangerous Woman era became an anthem overnight and still illicits gay screams every time it's played. "Oh baby, look what you started/The temperature's rising in here/Is this gonna happen?/Been waiting and waiting for you to make a move/Before I make a move." The anticipation in the air isn't the only thing that's thick, and considering most gays hate making the first move, there has never been a lyric more relatable.
17. 'Heart to Break' - Kim Petras
Falling for the wrong person just because they give you butterflies is an uncomfortable reality for many queer people, and Petras serves us that self-destructive tendency on a candy-coated platter. The openly trans pop star has a loyal following, many of them LGBTQ people around the world.
16. 'Girls Like Girls' - Hayley Kiyoko
The gays have declared Kiyoko our very own Lesbian Jesus, and so it is written. The pop star first made waves with "Girls Like Girls," a wistful ode to young love and not holding back your feelings. She has since dropped banger after banger, all of which could be on this list if we didn't try to limit it to one anthem per artist. Watch her "What I Need" video and tell me it doesn't make you feel something.
15. 'Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels' - Todrick Hall
Beyoncé's "Get Me Bodied" didn't qualify for this list because it wasn't released in this decade, so here's the next best thing! The YouTube star's synthy dance banger (which I like to call "The gay Cha-Cha Slide") is undeniably an anthem that'll be circulating in gay clubs around the world along with the music video which can't be described as anything less than iconic. The talent jumped out!
14. 'Break Free' - Ariana Grande, Zedd
We tried not to put more than one song per artist on this list, but Grande really snapped with this one! What has been adopted as a coming-out-anthem, this empowering Zedd collab shows Grande at her pop best; insane vocals and scream-worthy lyrics about breaking free of what the world wants you to be to become who you truly are.
13. 'Run Away With Me' - Carly Rae Jepsen
Need I say more? Jepsen scored a worldwide smash hit with "Call Me Maybe" but it was this track that broke the internet. Nearly all queer people have wanted to run away with that special lover, that "sinner in secret," and turn the world to gold. And that damn saxophone intro is cemented as one of the gayest memes of the decade.
12. 'Formation' - Beyoncé
One of the world's biggest and longest-running superstars stopped the world with this 2016 black-power anthem, then she shook the LGBTQ community when she used it's lyrics to declare "Gay rights" at the GLAAAD Media Awards. "Who you make love to and take that ass to Red Lobster is your human right," she said. Combined with that Big Freedia feature and how even white people get up to dance when that trap intro starts, it's clear that Bey does indeed, slay.
11. 'Cool for the Summer' - Demi Lovato
Sexual fluidity is real, and Lovato first began to explore that publically with "Cool for the Summer," a breezy pop-rock ode to the female persuasion. "Got your mind on your body and your body on my mind/Got a taste for the cherry, I just need to take a bite."
10. 'Thinkin Bout You' - Frank Ocean
This might not sound as "anthem-y" as other tracks on this list, but Ocean's reflective coming out on Tumblr just before dropping this song - and it climbing the charts regardless - was a pop culture moment that redefined how we thought about male R&B and hip-hop stars and started important conversations about sexuality and masculinity.
9. 'I Know A Place' - MUNA
LGBTQ+ have long found sanctuary in queer bars, clubs, and spaces where we don't have to hide who we are and can feel free to be ourselves. 2016's Pulse shooting rattled the community and shattered that veil of safety we thought we had in these spaces, especially when we have so few already. This beautiful and joyful MUNA track reminds us of the sanctuary we can find, where we can dance our troubles away with people who love and live like us. "We started writing it in 2015 after the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage, and it was a really celebratory song, but we also knew that there were a lot of people in our community who still don’t feel safe," they told iHeartRadio. "So we wrote it also as a message of safety and nonviolence. And then it took on a new meaning after the Orlando shooting."
8. 'We Found Love' - Rihanna
Anyone else have a very distinct memory from when marriage equality passed and gays in bars across the U.S. could be heard screaming "WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE" at the top of their lungs? Wow, what a moment.
7. 'Same Love' - Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert
While LGBTQ+ people have been fighting for our rights for decades, it wasn't until this song by a straight white male came along that many people sat up and listened, especially in the hip-hop community. Macklemore released the powerful track at the height of his career and it jump-started a national conversation about same-gender relationships that many believe significantly impacted the fight for gay marriage, which was signed into law just two years later. The lyrics might be a bit cheesy now and we still have a long way to go in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, but 'Same Love's' impact was felt by everyone at the time, and the tender music video centering a gay couple can still pull some tears out of you.
6. 'Closer' - Tegan And Sara
Before I knew I was gay, I knew Tegan and Sara were. This 2013 hit about dreaming of getting closer to a future lover makes sure to let you know that their attractions were "not just all physical."
5. 'We R Who We R' - Kesha
Simple but monumentally effective, Kesha's free spirit and rebellious pop tracks, jammed with glitter and whiskey, empowered many queer people to be exactly who they wanted to. Rise up, animals!
4. 'Raise Your Glass' - P!nk
If you ask most people to pick a gay anthem from the 2010s, this P!nk classic will probably be one of the first to come to mind. All you have to do is read the lyrics to see why LGBTQ+ related to it so much, and still feel so powerful when it comes on. "Raise your glass if you are wrong/In all the right ways/All my underdogs/We will never be never be, anything but loud/And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks."
3. 'Make Me Feel' - Janelle Monae
Sexually liberated and breathtakingly queer, Monae took the LGBTQ+ community by storm with a proud coming out as pansexual and her groundbreaking visual album Dirty Computer. Tracks like "Pynk" were instantly inducted into the gay hall of fame (mostly for those labia pants), while "Make Me Feel" goes us the green light desire anyone we want to. Love has no gender and Monae sings it best; "that's just the way you make me feel."
2. 'Dancing On My Own' - Robyn
"I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her/woah/I'm right over here, why can't you see me/woah." Unrequited love. That driving beat. Crying in the club. This iconic Robyn track checks every single gay anthem box and nearly a decade after its release, gays everywhere still scream their way to the dance floor to get a chance to live that Robyn fantasy.
1. 'Born This Way' - Lady Gaga
"No matter gay, straight, or bi/Lesbian, transgendered life/I'm on the right track baby, I was born to survive." There are very few lines as iconically queer as that one. Lady Gaga is undeniably one of the defining queer voices of the decade and at the height of her career, Mother Monster made a bold declaration of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community with the "Born This Way." While the nature vs nurture science behind being born gay might not quite hold up eight years later, Gaga let us know that every single one of us is perfect to the way we are, no matter what the world says. Don't be a drag, just be a queen, little monsters.