Pride: 5 Songs That Resonate With LGBTQ People

Rainbow flags are flying across Canada this Pride month as those who identify as LGBTQ and their allies celebrate equality and individuality while feeling strength in numbers.

But, despite evolving attitudes in society, being out and proud is something many people continue to struggle with. Hate and intolerance still exists and is amplified by social media.

Luckily, some people struggling with their sexuality find comfort in music. It can be as simple as realizing that Sam Smith is singing about another man on “Too Good At Goodbyes,” watching Harry Styles or Ariana Grande wave rainbow flags at concerts, or hearing country star Luke Bryan sing “I believe you love who you love / Ain't nothing you should ever be ashamed of” in his hit “Most People Are Good.”

To mark Pride, here are five songs with messages that resonate in a big way with so many LGBTQ people:

“Born This Way” - Lady Gaga

The title track of Lady Gaga’s 2011 album has one of the most powerful messages of empowerment for LGBTQ people in the history of pop music. “Rejoice and love yourself today,” Gaga sings. “Cause baby you were born this way.” The lyrics explicitly shout out to those who are “gay, bi, lesbian, transgendered.” Without question, Gaga’s anthem has saved young lives. “Don’t be a drag,” she sings. “Just be a queen.”

“In My Blood” - Shawn Mendes

No song this year has captured the feeling of struggling with one’s sexuality and the pressure of pretending to be someone you’re not like “In My Blood.” Shawn Mendes sings: “Just take her home and you'll feel better / Keep telling me that it gets better / Does it ever?” (It Gets Better, of course, is the social media campaign launched in 2010 to empower and support LGBTQ youth.) Mendes' co-writers on the song include Teddy Geiger, who last year came out as transgender. Shortly after the song’s release, Mendes told Billboard: “Open your eyes and open your mind. Let somebody be and feel and live how they want to live.”

“Firework” - Katy Perry

This pop hit about self-esteem and empowerment resonates with many LGBTQ people. “You don't have to feel like a waste of space / You’re original, cannot be replaced,” Perry sings. “If you only knew what the future holds / After a hurricane comes a rainbow.” The singer told MTV in 2010 that people are adopting the song as their own anthem. “I hope this could be one of those things where it's like, 'Yeah, I want to put my fist up and feel proud and feel strong.’”

“True Colors” - Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper had a hit in 1986 with this song by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, the songwriting duo responsible for hits like Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional.” The track seemed to speak directly to the LGBTQ community with a message about living your truth regardless of what some people think. Lauper sings: “I see your true colors / Shining through / I see your true colors / And that's why I love you / So don't be afraid to let them show / Your true colors / True colors are beautiful / Like a rainbow.”

“Beautiful” - Christina Aguilera

Penned by openly gay songwriter Linda Perry, this 2002 track came with a video that included images of a gay couple and a transgender person – a bold move at the time. While the message of the song is universal, it struck a chord with LGBTQ people who encounter bullying, discrimination and intolerance. The lyrics “I am beautiful / No matter what they say / Words can't bring me down” became a mantra for many.