A gay anthem is a popular song that has become widely popular among, or has become identified with, the gay community, particularly homosexual men, although some of these songs may also become anthems for the rest of the LGBT community. According to the New York Times, multiple top-charting popular songs have become a "refuge of unambiguous support for gay rights". One example is "Raise Your Glass" by Pink. The connection between gay culture and popular music stretches back to at least the 1970s, when "Artists and producers became conscious of speaking to a gay audience in code that straight audiences wouldn’t understand". Not all songs labelled as "gay anthems" were written with that purpose, but they are included in this subgenre of popular music if they have become particularly popular among the gay community.
The lyrics of gay anthems are often marked with hope against the odds, pride, unity, or defiance. Ten elements have been described as common to many gay anthems: "big-voiced divas; themes of overcoming hardship in love; “you are not alone;” themes of throwing your cares away (to party); hard won self-esteem; unashamed sexuality; the search for acceptance; torch songs for the world-weary; the theme of love conquers all; and of making no apologies for who you are."
UK LGBT rights charity Stonewall named Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" the most empowering song of the 2000s decade for LGBT people. The song most commonly identified as a gay anthem is "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, described as "a classic emblem of gay culture in the post-Stonewall and AIDS eras and arguably disco’s greatest anthem." Lady Gaga's "Born This Way", Diana Ross's "I'm Coming Out", ABBA's "Dancing Queen" and "Y.M.C.A." by The Village People are also widely regarded as gay anthems, although not all of them were written with that purpose by their composers.
- Hawgood, Alex (November 5, 2010). "For Gays, New Songs of Survival". New York Times. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Casserly, Meghan (February 11, 2011). "Lady Gaga's Born This Way: Gay Anthems And Girl Power". Forbes. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- "Media: Current Releases". stonewall.org.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Hubbs, Nadine (May 2007). "‘I Will Survive’: musical mappings of queer social space in a disco anthem". Popular Music 26 (2): 231–244. doi:10.1017/s0261143007001250.
- "Y.M.C.A.byThe Village People". songfacts.com. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Almighty presents Gay Anthems". discogs. Retrieved 21 April 2014.