20 Ultimate Gay Anthems For Pride

What’s in a gay anthem? Well, you take a line about liberation, a lyric about overcoming obstacles, a sassy quip about inner strength, add a verse about accepting yourself in the face of social rejection, sprinkle in themes of unabashed sexuality and throwing away your cares, and voila — you’ve got a gay hit on your hands. Bonus points if we can strut to it in boy shorts and it’s sung by a diva we can lip sync for our lives to.

What tracks should be on your Pride playlist this month? We have a few ideas, or 20, and some may be new to you.

Lady Gaga – “Born This Way” (2011)

Love her or hate her, Mother Monster created a bold, in-your-face record that had radio stations all around the world, transmitting the message that gay, lesbian, bi, and trans people are beautiful and born that way. The song hit number one in over 25 countries.

RuPaul – “The Beginning” (2011)

Ru is all about loving your true, authentic self and this theme from Drag Race Season 5 is all about realizing your true potential and living your life as the real you. Because if you can’t love yourself…you know the rest.

Janet Jackson – “Together Again” (1997)

Janet penned this track to honor a friend who passed of AIDS and for AIDS victims and their families around the world. It’s a gorgeous nod to those before us who should be celebrating how far we’ve come as a community today.

Diana Ross – “I’m Coming Out” (1980)

This song basically makes straight people want to be gay so they can come out. Songwriter Nile Rodgers got the idea for this song after seeing three drag queensdressed as Diana Ross at a club in NYC. It’s the quintessential gay bop.

Jennifer Lopez – “Let’s Get Loud” (1999)

If you don’t hear this blaring from a Pride float full of shirtless men, you’re probably at an NRA rally, gurl. J.Lo singing, “Let the music make you free, be what you wanna be” is enough to make all of us scream “yaaas queen.”

Christina Aguilera – “Fighter” (2002)

Yes, “Fighter.” “Beautiful” is too obvious. “Fighter” is a big middle finger to all of the bullies and assholes you encountered growing up. Look at you now – stronger, wiser, and no longer taking shit from anyone.

Katy Perry – “Firework” (2010)

While Katy can be a little problematic and contradictory with queer themes, there’s no denying “Firework” gave a new generation of gay teens the self-empowerment anthem they were seeking during a time when cyberbullying was on the rise.

Sara Bareilles – “Brave” (2013)

Listening to this makes you want to overcome everything in your way. Bareilles revealed that a close friend struggling to come out inspired her to write “Brave.” It’s destined to become an LGBTQanthem for the ages.

P!nk – “Raise Your Glass” (2011)

“Raise Your Glass” is a nod to all of the underdogs out there who find pride living in society’s margins and like themselves just as they are.

Cher – “Song For The Lonely” (2002)

This one is a tad bit somber but uplifting at the same time. And you can’t have a Pride playlist without Cher, especially Cher belting “It’s gonna be alright!” There isn’t a gay guy out there who isn’t fed up with finding love. Cher says it best, “Don’t give up!”

Robyn – “Hang With Me” (2011)

“Hang With Me” is a carefree ode to making love without falling in love — something we gays know a little bit about, amirite?

Melissa Etheridge – “Come To My Window” (1993)

“I don’t care what they think. I don’t care what they say. What do they know about this love, anyway?” Etheridge sings during the bridge. She walks confidently in her sexuality and inspires same-sex loving folk to do the same.

Scissor Sisters – “Let’s Have A Kiki” (2012)

If you’re having a kiki during Pride, this wink to the underground gay culture should hands-down be on your playlist, hunty.

Kylie Minogue – “All The Lovers” (2010)

Kylie being supported in the air by a human pyramid of pansexual lovers in a celebration of the sexual free spirit. Iconic!

Erasure – “A Little Respect” (1988)

I used to wonder why I always heard this song at gay clubs during Pride. But now when I hear openly gay, lead singer Andy Bell sing, “What religion or reason could drive a man to forsake his lover,” I have a little more respect for it. It’s a gorgeous, synthy, Euro 80s track that deserves a spot on your playlist.

Rozalla – “Everybody’s Free” (1991)

This song is like a big warm hug from your favorite aunt who used to sneak you booze and lives with her “roommate.” It’s all about togetherness, loving one another, and letting love shine through.

Ziggy Marley – “True To Myself” (2003)

This song is like a pep talk before you come out to your best friend (at least it was for me). “I’ve reached a point in life, no longer can I feel this way. I’m finally free. I’ve got to be true to myself.” If nothing else, it sounds like what sunshine feels like.

Mary Lambert – “She Keeps Me Warm” (2013)

So, you won’t be able to twerk to this one, but it’s a meaningful song – especially if you’re a queer person who worships. “She Keeps Me Warm” is a continuation of Lambert’s contribution to Macklemore’s “Same Love.” Having come from a strict Christian household, but wanting to resolve her faith and her sexuality Lambert sings, “I’m not crying on Sundays.”

Panic! At the Disco – “Girls/Girls/Boys” (2013)

Finally an anthem for our bisexual brothers and sisters! “Girls” speaks to the common struggle bisexuals wrestle with. Too often, the gay-straight conversation imposes the idea that people can only be attracted to one gender. In a couple simple lyrics, Panic! is like “No, ma’am. Think again.”

George Michael – “Freedom ’90!” (1990)

Michael wasn’t out of the closet when he released this song. “Freedom” was about him wanting to shed his old image and become a new man. It’s no wonder gay men adopted it as the soundtrack to their coming out narrative.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie living in Manhattan. Follow him onInstagram andFacebook.

Wear As They Say: Fashion Influencers To Follow Now

The internet is jam packed with self-diagnosed “bloggers” and “influencers,” but what about the real people who influence the fashion industry? It’s no easy task, and taste is errrrrrrything. Here are the people and Instagram accounts that keep the fashion world on point.

@Johnson_gold

Johnson Gold is the founder and director of PAUSE online. Gold lets us travel the globe with him and mixes runway shots, editorials, and some of the most incredible street-style looks ever.

@pauseshots

Following in the footsteps of Pause Magazine, PAUSESHOTS offers a ton of inspiration for men’s styling looks. This profile is like “an idiot’s guide to styling,” and you never have to stress over planning a look again.

@aaronjames._

A cleverly curated compilation of tattoos, punk, queer culture, styling editorials, and explicit homoeroticism; Aaron James is definitely one to watch.

@marcgoehring

Stylist at Total World and fashion editor for 032c, Marc Goehring is one of the fashion industry’s go-to Instagram accounts for hot trends. It’s a one-stop shop for constant inspiration.

@fuuuckingyoung

One of THE best menswear fashion magazines around, Barcelona-based Fucking Young delivers some of the most forward-thinking men’s fashion content.

@gullyguyleo

One of the most stylish kids on the planet. With over 275k followers on Instagram, Leo Mandella is definitely doing something right. His styling is off the scale and leaves big brands desperate for his attention.

@meninthistown

The official Instagram for menswear street-style blog Men in This Town is shot by Sydney, Australia-based Giuseppe Santamaria. It has a huge catalog of great menswear shots to inspire your looks throughout the year.

@nickwooster

Menswear fashion’s biggest DILF keeps us informed of pretty much everything that goes on in menswear…with his own unique twist.

@garyarmstrong

Senior fashion editor for British GQ style and lover of all things grunge, Gary Armstrong is one to watch for quirky styling and interesting combinations.

@jasonrider

Jason is a senior fashion editor for T Magazine and The New York Times and an unabashed style maven. His IG features backstage peeks at fashion shows, front row seats, and editorial shoots.

Let’s Get Political: LA Pride Takes A Detour

During this past election night, Brian Pendleton found himself distraught as he watched the presidential results roll in and it became clear that a reality television star – with no commitment to his community – was going to become the president of the United States.

But now, many months past that dark day, the Los Angeles based philanthropist and activist finds himself less anxious while lacing his tennis shoes and preparing to turn the annual Los Angeles Pride Parade into a #ResistMarch against our current president: Donald Trump.

“I first thought of the Resist March because to me, I want to inspire people to make actionable change,” Pendleton, a Los Angeles-based philanthropist who created the #ResistMarch recently told INTO, speaking to the arresting sense of hopelessness many Americans felt after Hillary Clinton’s loss.

“[And then] I was just so inspired by the Women’s March in DC back in January that I got to thinking about how Pride could be a really incredible time to bring awareness to the queer community’s issues and how current laws and bills being passed with greatly impact us.” Pendleton said.

While the Women’s March is what Pendleton names as his inspiration, this effort to make the Pride Parade political is one that is a return to what Pride was originally meant to be.

After the famous Stonewall Riots in 1969, marches emerged in cities like New York or Chicago that blocked off major streets with LGBTQ people taking to the streets to demand for basic civil rights. And it went on this way for many years, but as acceptance grew the protests turned into more of a celebration that took on a parade form.

In the wake of this transformation, the parade lost sight of it’s starkly political roots and began to be stereotypically seen as just a party, which is exactly why Pendleton thought it to be the perfect venue to show a community’s disdain for an anti-LGBTQ administration.

And many are happy for this change.

Lisa B, a 35 fiction writer living in Los Angeles with her wife of 4 years, thinks this is exactly the shift the queer community needed. “It was getting to the point where every queer movement was being whitewashed. Pride became about skimpy outfits and getting drunk instead of being proactive.”

“I’m all for the Resist March because it’s providing an outlet for people who are angry about the election to feel like they’re taking a stand,” she continued.

But not everyone feels this same excitement.

“Pride is about having fun and letting go,” Brian R. a 26 year old marketing executive told INTO, who represents a small but loud contingency in Los Angeles who wishes that annual Pride Parade had not turned into something more political like a march.

“I understand that we’re in a bleak political place, but isn’t Pride about escapism?” he continued.

However as the march that is expected to attract 25,000 people draws closer, this feeling that Brian echos is one that Pendleton says he will continue to hear, but one bears little weight on his planning since the usual Pride Festival will go on as planned with a concert on Saturday.

“I don’t condemn or dislike the Pride Parade by any means, but at the end of the day there is a message that we want to spread,” Pendleton told INTO. “I wanted something to happen beyond the fun festivities that LA Pride [already] has.”

London, Club Artist Sussi Is Coming For You.

A vampiric demon by night, the seven feet tall Sussi terrorizes the hottest parties at stomping grounds around the world. Usually found in NYC, the jet-setting queer fashionista has recently made London his new lair. We managed to snag him in between outfit changes to tell us a little more about the man behind the looks.

Who is Sussi?

Sussi is a vehicle for me to display my art in a very personal way with the performance of it all coming into play. I used to be a painter and visual artist, but I would rather it have a breathing vessel to attach it to rather than a boring old canvas. It’s all about the full fantasy. Drag is an immersive experience that involves everyone in the room. I don’t consider myself a “drag queen,” but I do drag because I don’t want to look like someone else. I just want to be who I am.

Tell us about how it all started.

I started going out when I was 14, and it always felt like nightlife was a form of self-expression for me. The nightclub is my gallery, and all the people who came to watch are drunk, so they love it. Drag builds confidence and reminds you not to take life too seriously, and it’s always showtime. If you can’t go to the party, become the party and make everyone come to you.

Your looks always look so well thought out. What inspires them?

The monsters in Scooby Doo.

Who are the legendary nightlife icons that you look up to the most?

Ladyfag and Love Bailey.

How do people react to your style?

I usually try to scare them away, that’s why I always wear the horns. Costume is my armor.

Who are your favorite designers right now?

Hana Quist and Charles Jeffrey.

Why did you leave New York? Do you miss the scene there?

I left New York because I wanted to explore the world beyond the grid and try something new. London is a very exciting place right now and I had to go check it out.

How does nightlife differ between London and NYC?

New York goes big and strong, London is classic and artistic.

What’s your favorite party in both NYC and London?

In NYC, anything Ladyfag and in London, Jodie Harsh Dollar Baby.

Who’s your favorite drag artist right now?

Aquaria in New York.

Can you tell us how you’re planning to take over the world from this point onward?

You’ll have to wait and see. Showtime!

Zero Feet Away From Drag Star Milk

Straight outta New York’s fashion-forward club scene, Milk (AKA Dan Donigan) made his offbeat mark on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Fans were not pleased when he had to sashay away. But since then, Milk has continued to build his career with memorable party appearances and photo shoots, including a fierce Marc Jacobs campaign. He stopped by Grindr HQ to share more about his path of self-discovery, the utter magic of dish detergent, and how he plans on getting Milk off the dance floor and into some ice skates.

Look At You: Can Selfies Be Works of Art?

Last month, London’s Saatchi Gallery caused a stir by opening the “world’s first-ever” selfie exhibition, “From Selfie to Self-Expression.” Alongside modern-day celebrity snapshots, the show house’s iconic self-portraits by the likes of Picasso and Frida Kahlo as well as images by Tracey Emin and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The gallery even held a “Selfie Prize,” allowing social media users worldwide to submit their own snapshots for inclusion in the exhibition.

In truth, it’s not a hugely radical move – some of the best moments in art history have come from self-portraits – but it’s still one which has sparked controversy. One reviewer called it an exercise in self-promotion for the gallery and pointed out its sponsorship by Huawei, but others were quick to highlight that the show does a good job of laying down the facts: the way we consume art has been irreversibly changed by modern technology.

In the past, huge amounts of skill and patience were required to create a self-portrait. Amateur chemist Robert Cornelius is said to have taken the first photographic selfie way back in 1839. To do so, he had to remove his camera lens cap, run into frame, sit perfectly still for five minutes, cover the lens and then develop the picture. Now, all it takes is the slide of a touchscreen and the click of a phone to create crystal-clear images. We’re lucky to grow up in a world which allows us to document the best bits of our own lives. Whether we’re creating carefully-staged thirst traps for Tinder profiles or just posing with family members on special occasions, most of us now utilize the advanced tools that poor Cornelius would have probably killed for.

There are, of course, consequences. Countless cultural criticshave discussed “millennials” in less than favorable terms, usually labeling modern youth as perpetually distracted, self-obsessed narcissists. This argument is often buoyed by links to reality TV stars like Kim Kardashian, who has released anthologies of her own selfies and documented her life on screen. She has become the poster child for vanity and is torn to shreds regularly for it – especially when her nudes come accompanied with a message of empowerment.

Other naked photos, however, are quickly stamped out by social media censorship, which is becoming increasingly vague. The #freethenipple movement has spread online in the form of countless topless selfies, whereas the body-positivity brigade has been using selfies to both spotlight and empower a series of beautiful bodies not often seen in the mainstream. Although frequently linked to low self-esteem and a worrying obsession with image, selfies can actually have the opposite effect – they can be a tool of empowerment, allowing us all to curate our own image.

The exhibition tagline, “Selfies to Self-Expression,” is also interesting in the sense that Instagram and various other platforms have allowed us to manipulate and distort our own image to craft personalities. They also present the opportunity to ask exactly to what extent we should be allowed to express ourselves. For example, images featuring menstrual blood and body hair are quickly filtered out, as proven by a recently-released book entitled Pics Or It Didn’t Happen. This is a conversation which also carries into the art world – the lines between art and porn have frequently been challenged , perhaps most famously by Jeff Koons and his gloriously tacky “Made In Heaven” series.

If anything, the threads linking these conversations prove one unequivocal fact – there’s nothing tacky or lowbrow about a selfie exhibition. Artists have been documenting their own image for centuries. Who’s to say that, given a smartphone and the right tools, Basquiat and Monet wouldn’t have been snapping the same selfies that most of us are today? The fact is that most of us now distill art history into Instagram posts which we share far and wide. We can take selfies at exhibitions, geotag our favorite museums, and curate our own nudes, using social media to create an image and a personality much like Kahlo and Basquiat did before. After all, the role of art is to act first and foremost as a cultural commentary – in that sense, the Saatchi is taking a step towards more accurately documenting the way that millennials frequently interact with their favorite artists.

Pride Drag: The Nonbasic Guide

Pride is not the time to be basic. You already jumped out of the closet so now jump out of your box. This is your chance to decorate your body in your version of courage, love, pride, creativity, unity, and freedom. We know it’s in there, queen! So here is your guide to turning yourself into the fierce unicorn faggachino you’ve always wanted to be.

Gypsy Shrine

Every single thing they make is fabulous! Do you want some #glittertits? Got ‘em. Over the top bindi’s? Got ‘em. They can even send you a choreographed glitter scheme for you to cover any part of your body in. The super cool thing is they also make ways to apply and adhere this craziness. For the coolest effect, just find the colors you love the most and go crazy. The glitter comes in all different shapes and sizes, as do the body jewels. The price is reasonable and you get a ton of product, but note it does ship from the UK so get on it now. Steal that scene on the Pride float, Mary.

MUFE Flash 12 Color Flash Palette

His Grindr profile would say versatile, open-minded, and faithful. This is for the Fire Island Invasion, White Party in Miami, the every-year-I-do-drag Halloween gay. If you like any kind of theme, this is your ticket. The 12 colors can be worn alone or mixed to give you endless possibilities. It works great with fingers or brushes depending on your artistic commitment. Just remember that cream makeup needs to be set with a translucent powder to make it last. You can also mix it with MUFE Aqua Seal to make it waterproof. This could be great for your mermaid routines in that Palm Springs Airbnb pool!

Splat Hair Chalk

Want some non-committal fairy prince hair? Who doesn’t? This easy to use hair chalk can rainbow out your locks in no time. If you apply it on slightly damp hair, the look will be more vibrant. Normal hair chalk can be messy, but this formula has a great lasting power and breaks down with shampoo. You can just apply with your fingers and then wash it out your hands.

Momentary Ink Temporary Tattoos

Saving your money for new jock straps? Needles not your thing? Well, these are not your normal run-of-the-mill temporary tattoos. You can customize anything you want, which is a great idea if you’ve been contemplating a design but aren’t ready to commit. Each order comes with your design and a product called Real Teal that helps the design last longer and takes away the shine. They charge you per inch and always offer free shipping. This is a perfect pride week accessory and will usually fade 2-5 days after applying.

5 Signs You’re In A Healthy, Loving Relationship

There’s a quote from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower that comes to mind whenever I discuss relationships with any of my friends. “You accept the love you think you deserve.” Many people feel undeserving of love and affection. This is especially true for us gays who want to fall in love like the straights in the movies we watched growing up. Now that it’s legal to get gay married and there’s more representation of romances that resemble our own, how do we know if our relationship — that consists of two men who don’t adhere to traditional heteronormative expectations — is healthy and loving?

Here are five areas to reflect on:

1. You can speak honestly about anything.  

If you can tell your beau he has bad breath or body odor, or that you don’t really want to go to dinner with his homophobic boss, you two are on the right track. Partners can talk to one another about anything, no matter how small or how delicate, especially if both parties know the words are always coming from a place of love.

2. You are okay being away from one another from time to time.

Here’s something people don’t tell you. It is perfectly okay to want some time away from your significant other – time to go to happy hour with just your friends or even a night in where you can read or watch YouTube videos in bed alone. Partners who let one another grow separately also grow together.

3. You make decisions together.

Even if your relationship is new, if your BF involves you in making decisions and seeks your opinion, you should probably call up Delilah and dedicate a song to him tonight. Involving each other in decision making indicates mutual respect for each other’s concerns and desires.

4. You trust each other.

From sharing your bank account or your bed with your bae and everything in between, trust is key. Following rule #1, you speak honestly about anything, so there are no secrets between the two of you.

5. Your relationship is a safe space.

Being with your boo should feel like home – sacred, affirming, and supportive. If you can be your flamboyant, crazy-in-love self, you have a safe space. If you can ask stupid questions, you have a safe space. If you can cry and show fear, you have a safe space. The answer to Whitney’s question of “How Will I Know?” is if you can be emotionally vulnerable with your partner; that’s how you know. But I guess that’s not as catchy as saying a prayer with every heartbeat.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie living in Manhattan. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Warm It Up: Summer Fashion Essentials

Summer is here y’all, and you’re gonna need a lot more than some basic swim trunks and a ball cap to survive. So, we’ve pulled out the hottest pieces of the season to keep you smelling sweet, looking fresh, and everything in between.

CMMN SWDN

Swedish-based CMMN SWDN are bringing some of the most flattering looks for summer with spongy double jersey tees featuring sunset desert prints.

Loewe

With a blend of tangerine, bergamot, and sandalwood for its top and middle notes and undertones of cedar and musk, Loewe’s new 001 fragrance will leave everyone asking what magical forest you’ve been frolicking around in.

Gucci

The resort shirt remains one of the strongest key items for the summer season and mixes 1950s vacation wardrobe with 1990s skater. And who wouldn’t want to be both of those at once?

Sun Buddies

These are straight-up perfect: two-tone blue and yellow semi-transparent, handmade frames with a chunky silhouette. They’re gorgeous and give your eyes more shade than an entire season of Drag Race.

River Island

Nothing shouts summer like pastel colored Aztec-inspired prints, and these shorts scream that from the top of the high-dive you’ll be doing cannonballs off of.

Camper

These tie-dye effect sandals from Camper are perfect. The minimal silhouette and the light and dark color palette allow them to work with pretty much every outfit. Sure, even a suit. Why not?

Other Stories

Don’t just cool off with a splash of water. This body mist smells of the most amazing tropical vacation and keeps you refreshed when things get a little hot and sticky (gross but true).

Grayson Perry

Probably one of the most important books you’ll ever read. Straight, transvestite artist, Grayson Perry, talks us through masculinity in all its forms and helps us understand why many men act the way they do. Woke summer, anyone?

Topman

Ultra light denim shorts work perfectly for jaunts around the city or the trail. A drawstring waist makes them super easy to wear and look great with printed tees and vests.

Urban Outfitters

More pastels, please!

Vans

The classic Vans sneaker always comes through in just about any color imaginable. You don’t need to own a skateboard to wear a skater shoe. Just sayin.

Devote

Update: Pink is still cool (because pastels). After Kanye brought pink tones to the masses, more and more men are jumping on the pink bandwagon. But don’t let Yeezy put you off.

All About “The Boys”

Remember those “controversial” Calvin Klein photos ​from the 1990s featuring a young Mark ​Wahlberg aggressively grabbing his crotch? Good. ​”The Boys” is a throwback to the bold, youthful, and provocative attitude of those campaigns that oozed sensuality without being too overtly or explicitly sexual. Watch four unique personalities showcase their charisma (and other assets) in this playful, minute-long fashion film, and you’ll be all about it too.