Celebrate Pride Month with this playlist of queer anthems - News @ Northeastern
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Loud and proud: Your Pride playlist

Tuesday marks the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. The timing of the decision places it squarely within Pride Month, which is celebrated each June in honor of the impact LGBTQ people have had on the world. While subsequent cases are testing the boundaries of marriage equality, we took a moment on this anniversary to recognize a few queer and queer-allied artists.

To do so, we turned to Scott Edmiston, chair of Northeastern’s Department of Theatre, who has a finger on the pulse of LGBTQ music and culture. Edmiston is an award-winning theatre director, the professor of “Queer Theatre and Performance,” a new course coming this fall, and the author of Dear Miss Garland, which he described as “a theatrical love letter to the beloved gay icon Judy Garland.”

Edmiston, who married his husband Thom in 2010 on their 25th anniversary, handpicked songs from a few iconic artists to celebrate Pride. He highlighted the lyrics to “Raise You Up/Just Be” from the Broadway hit Kinky Boots.

Pursue the truth.

Learn something new.

Accept yourself and you’ll accept others too.

Let love shine.

Let pride be your guide.

You change the world when you change your mind.

 

Diana Ross

I’m Coming Out,” Diana Ross, 1980. Disco was a musical movement defined predominantly by gay men and African American women. While the genre was often lyrically deficient, it introduced a new beat of cultural freedom that still brings joy today. Miss Ross’s hit came late in the disco era, but it powerfully resonates for anyone declaring their authentic self.

Sam Smith

Lay Me Down,” Sam Smith, 2015.  Smith released a sexy ceremonial alternative to Mendelssohn’s wedding march the same year the landmark civil rights case guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry. “This shows my dreams that one day gay men and women and transgendered men and women all over the world will be able to get married,” Smith explained.

The Greatest Showman

This is Me,” The Greatest Showman Soundtrack, 2018. This is a glorious, spine-tingling march of resistance, a demand for respect and acceptance, a warning to bullies and bigots, and a call to unity and action. This is “I’m Coming Out”—with a compassionate vengeance.

Scissor Sisters

Take Your Mama,” Scissor Sisters, 2004. Merging glam rock and indie pop hooks, queer singer Jake Shears offers irreverent advice on coming out to your parents: take mom out for a glass of champagne. It will help soften the blow and make the moment more celebratory.

Melissa Etheridge

Yes I Am,” Melissa Etheridge, 1993. Etheridge, one of the first out rock musicians, achieved astonishing breakthrough popularity. She was like Springsteen’s younger, lesbian sister. This soulful ballad has an unapologetic double meaning: Yes, I am gay, and yes I am the woman you are meant to spend your life with.

Lady Gaga

Born This Way,” Lady Gaga, 2011. “I’m beautiful in my way ‘cause God makes no mistakes.” Gaga proudly joined a tradition of fabulous divas who have engaged the loyalty of the LGBTQ community, including Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Madonna, and Beyoncé. These highly original, unconventional women proclaim in big, loud, fearless voices that it’s okay to be different, to be non-hetronormative. It’s your nature and your gift.

Kinky Boots

Raise You Up/Just Be,” Kinky Boots Cast Recording, 2012. Broadway, from Cole Porter to RENT, has always been a home to great queer culture. I recommend this joyful anthem of transgender-brother- and sisterhood from the drag musical Kinky Boots written by gay icon Cyndi Lauper.

It concludes with a six-step program of advice:

Pursue the truth.

Learn something new.

Accept yourself and you’ll accept others too.

Let love shine.

Let pride be your guide.

You change the world when you change your mind.

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