A gay anthem is a song that has become widely popular among, or has become identified with, the gay community, as referring to homosexual men, but some of these songs may also become anthems for the rest of the LGBT community.
The lyrics of gay anthems are often marked with hope against the odds, pride, unity, or defiance. UK LGBT rights charity Stonewall named Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" the most empowering song of the 2000s decade for LGBT people.
Although every song is individual, the criteria for what makes a gay anthem has shown a trend among the years. In the book Queer, the following ten main themes were listed that are common among many, if not all gay anthems:
- Big-voiced divas
Rather than particular songs, this area of gay anthems is more akin to a cult of personality of a large gay male following for some particular diva-style pop music vocalists who are almost always female gay icons. Modern examples include Cher who is arguably the most influential, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Christina Aguilera, Adele, P!nk and Evelyn "Champagne" King.
- Overcoming hardship in love
Usually a narrative of a wronged lover who comes back stronger than before.
- You are not alone
Songs about coming together as a community or reassurance to the lonely that there are others like them out there.
- Throw your cares away
A carefree narrative about putting your troubles aside and partying.
- Hard-won self-esteem
Here, the theme involves fighting through oppression, darkness or fear to gain freedom, beauty or self-esteem.
- Celebrating unashamed sexuality
The theme here is of transcending cultural shame to celebrate one's sexual nature.
- Search for acceptance
Songs about a welcoming promised land where the dream of acceptance and belonging and hope lives.
- Torch song for the world weary
A narrative about being used, abused and surviving to tell the tale of lament.
- Love conquers all
Tales of not giving up on love despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
- No apologies
Here, the theme revolves around defiantly living one's life despite what others may want.
- "Media: Current Releases". stonewall.org.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Simon Gage, Lisa Richards, and Howard Wilmot. "Queer". pp. 26-7. ISBN 1-56025-377-0. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Sarah Lippek. "Disrupted Values, Erupting Culture: Cabaret and the Sexual Persona in Weimar Berlin". Social Science Research Network. p. 13. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Richard Dyer. "Judy Garland and Gay Men". Queer Cinema ed. Harry M Benshoff and Sean Griffin. p. 162. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- "The pink hit parade: Sing if you're glad to be gay". The Independent (London). 1 November 2006. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Michael Bronski. Culture Clash: The Making of Gay Sensibility. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Joanna Frueh, "Tarts, Stars, Jewels, and Faries," Art Journal, Vol. 58, No. 4. pp. 88-89. College Art Association. Winter 1999.
- Dave Thompson. "John, I'm Only Dancing song review". AllMusic.com.
- "All The Young Dudes". davidbowienews.wordpress.com. July 26, 2012.
- "Best Gay Pride Songs". TopGaySongs.com. January 6, 2013.
- "And the Gayest Songs Of All Time Are....". samesame.com.au. March 7, 2008.
- Tim Lawrence. "I Want to See All My Friends At Once’’: Arthur Russell and the Queering of Gay Disco". University of East London. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- "Valentino...he was born that way...so was Carl Bean". QMH. June 2002.
- Benjamin Genocchio (19 February 2006). "Exploring the Effects of Disco’s Beat". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Elizabeth Kaminski and Verta Taylor. "We're Not Just Lip-synching Here: Music and Collective Identity in Drag Performances". Identity Work in Social Movements, p. 58. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Nadine Hubbs. "‘I Will Survive’: musical mappings of queer social space in a disco anthem". Popular Music, 26 , pp 231-244. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Peter Tatchell. "Not Glad to Be Gay?"
- Tris McCall (August 23, 2013). "Macho, macho men: The Village People are back, and they're bringing the '70s with them". New Jersey On-Line LLC.
- Jeff Perlman. ""Y.M.C.A." (An Oral History)". Spin magazine. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Sasha Roseneil. "Queer Frameworks and Queer Tendencies: Towards an Understanding of Postmodern Transformations of Sexuality". Sociological Research Online, vol. 5, no. 3. Retrieved 26 April 2009.(subscription required)
- Andrew Dawson. "The mining community and the ageing body". Realizing community Ed. By Vered Amit, European Association of Social Anthropologists. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Verta Taylor and Leila J. Rupp. "When the Girls Are Men: Negotiating Gender and Sexual Dynamics in a Study of Drag Queens". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2005, vol. 30, no. 4. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Warnes, A. "Black, white and blue: The racial antagonism of The Smiths' record sleeves," Popular Music, 2007. Cambridge University Press.
- "Looking forward to...". www.facebook.com. 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
- "Grandes himnos gay. Great Gay Anthems".
- "‘A Quien Le Importa Cancion gay".
- "Musica Gay".
- "Best Gay Anthem".
- "Fangoria documentary".
- "THE COMMUNARDS – "Don’t Leave Me This Way"". freakytrigger.co.uk. 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "Guilty pleasures". madcap156.wordpress.com. 2010-05-15. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles -anti-bullying music video". Performing Arts Live. 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- Pink, Katy Perry and Ke$ha songs all angle to become gay anthems, but will they? | Gossip, Theater, Sports & Politics About & For Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Women | AfterEllen.co...[dead link]
- "Top Lesbian Songs". TopGaySongs.com. 2013.
- Samantha C. Thrift. "Appropriate the Stereotype: Cultural Appropriations and the Queer, Lesbian, and Gay Spectatorships of Madonna and Martha Stewart". thirdspace, volume 2 issue 2 (March 2003). Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Ed Rivadavia. "The Show Must Go On". AllMusic.com.
- Stephen Elliott (July 30, 2009). "The Rumpus Interview with Jill Sobule". The Rumpus.
- "El mejor HIMNO GAY!". listas.20minutos.es. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 11/3/2011.
- Llewellyn, Caspar (2 November 2006). "Reveal your gay anthems to the world | Music | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- Hawgood, Alex (5 November 2010). "Ke$ha and Katy Perry Sing for Gay Rights". The New York Times.
- "Christina Aguilera tops 'empowering' song poll". digitalspy.co.uk. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Savage, Dan (2 April 2011). "It Gets Better: Columbus Gay Men's Chorus and Columbus Children's Choir". slog.thestranger.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Siegel, Joe. "State House Vigil held in wake of Gay Suicides" The Rainbow Times. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- "Rhapsody in Rainbow: Jazz and the Queer Aesthetic". Jazz Times. December 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- Joseph A. Kotarba, Jennifer L. Fackler, and Kathryn M. Nowotny. "An Ethnography of Emerging Latino Music Scenes," Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 32, No. 4. Fall 2009. University of California Press.
- "Gay Anthems: Singing it loud and proud | Celebrity Features | Bollywood Celebs Features". Planetradiocity.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- Hace 16 horas. "We365 Magazine: "Todos me miran" de Gloria Trevi convertido en himno gay". we365.blogspot.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Gloria-Trevi-Exito-con-una-cancion-gay". 26noticias.com.ar. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "Marica tu / Pluma Gay". nme.com. 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "Song: Fuck You by Lily Allen and Stevie Bee Bishop – Anti-Hate Collab Music Video". Gays Without Borders. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- Gaga thanks Gays for Remakes http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1647670/lady-gagas-bad-romance-nabs-best-pop-video.jhtml
- "Robyn discusses her "lesbian haircut" and gay fans in "Out"". AfterEllen.com. 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Snarker, Dorothy (2010-12-03). "Pink, Katy Perry and Ke$ha songs all angle to become gay anthems, but will they?". AfterEllen.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "Pink - Fuckin' Perfect". homorazzi.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "VIDEO: Kylie Minogue defends gay kissing in "All The Lovers" video". sdgln.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Kinser, Jeremy (2011-08-08). "Gay Anthems Compete for New MTV Category". Advocate.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Vena, Jocelyn (11 February 2011). "Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way': The New Gay Anthem?". mtv.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Gay Anthem 'Let's Have a Kiki' Is Everyone's Anthem". gawker.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Interview: Andi Fraggs - Beige Magazine". www.beigeuk.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Mark Blankenship (3 October 2012). "Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’ Video Shows Gay Man’s Life In 7 Minutes". newnownext.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Same Love, a song that has now become an anthem for those in the LGBT community, was inspired by Macklemore's two gay uncles and godfather. — 25 Things You Didn't Know About Macklemore". complex.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Gilchrist, Tracy E. (14 November 2012). "Listen: Kelly Clarkson's Gay Anthem 'People Like Us'". shewired.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Jessica Sanchez sings about equal love". www.afterellen.com. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- "La différence". http://www.queersongs.net/.
- "Princess X Releases New Single 'FREE' Today". Broadway World. 4 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- "Info on Cher's new gay anthem, "Take It Like a Man"". www.towleroad.com. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
- "Interview: Britney: "Work Bitch" Is About Respecting Gays, Y'all". www.queerty.com. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- "Britney Spears Says 'Work Bitch' Is 'In Respect To The Gays'". www.ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/04/26/with-sara-bareilless-brave-lgbt-themes-become-even-more-a-pop-norm. Missing or empty