AI: Queer Anthems


When Lady Gaga’s Born This Way song came out, it was globally taken as an anthem for LGBT folks (not by all of us, of course, and there are a lot of reservations to the “Born This Way” motto that persists). It was obviously written, and its music video produced, with that in mind.

There are a lot of songs throughout history that played that part, and some of them aren’t really that obviously written bearing queer people in mind. It’s interesting, though, to listen to those songs and understand the role they played, for some particular generation, in helping them make their statement.

What do you think is the most significant queer anthem that is? How do you feel about electing a song to represent the queer community? Do you hold any particular song or artist as a personal anthem or iconic figure?

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.

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  1. I don’t think I could pick one to call the “most significant” – songs mean so many different things to different people, and queer experience is, almost by definition, too diverse to hold all under one umbrella, to my mind.

    But I do very much hold a few songs and one artist as personally iconic – S.J. Tucker, and her songs “Lady Vagabond” and “Were-owl,” in particular. They glorify freedom and a fascination with the unknown, both of which are incredibly significant to me, and run somewhat counter-current to the cultural zeitgeist I live in.

  2. I despise Lady Gaga and am irritated at her exploitation of the LGBT community. I know that is a controversial idea to a lot of people (mostly to people who like her). My annoyance with her escalated after I attended her concert with my boyfriend (who loves her) and got yelled at for an hour and a half about how money doesn’t matter (except that everyone there paid hundreds of dollars to be there) and that if you just DREAM IT you, too, can be a LADY GAGA! AND GO GAYS!!!!!!!!

    It was really quite stupid.

    Anyway, I agree with daenyx in that I’m not sure there’s any one song that could represent the queer community. But there are a couple of songs that I think speak to the experiences of many gay men that I really enjoy: “Gay Messiah” by Rufus Wainwright (not an “anthem” but oh well) and “Take Your Mama” by the Scissor Sisters.

    • Speaking of queer iconoclastics, the work environment on Ellen DeGeneres’s show is incredibly toxic, and crew members are not allowed to speak to her or look her in the eye. It’s hard for me not to throw a punch when I hear people go on about how they love Ellen.

  3. Androgynous by the Replacements tends to make me feel hopeful for the future, but there’s no anthem quite like Wanna be a Homosexual by Screeching Weasel.

  4. I’m pretty aggravated by her as well. I think it was made worse by the fact that the song was basically designed to be a queer anthem which is really fucking cynical and you can’t just demand that people will unite behind a song you’ve created. Particularly when you’re taking stances, such as elements of Christianity and the notion that people are “born this gay”, that not everyone is going to agree on.

    Anyway, the only song that I actually see as a queer anthem (probably because I stumbled upon it myself and people weren’t running around calling it a queer anthem, I’m contrary like that) is “Listen all you people” by Darren Hayes. It’s reasonably generic, but it has a decent beat and a decent message.

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