25 Essential LGBTQ Pride Songs

From Sylvester to Perfume Genius to everyone in between, editors pick the most evocative, transformative songs

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Erasure, "A Little Respect" (1988)

Much of Erasure's discography embodies not precisely celebratory gay pride but gay romantic reality – a frankness about the emotional, if not overtly sexual, lives of gay men toward the end of the 20th century. So when out British duo Andy Bell and Vince Clarke's plaintive yet buoyant single became a worldwide hit in gay-unfriendly 1988, it felt quietly revolutionary to anyone in the know. Did straight teens in Iowa realize that they were bopping at prom to a "Borderline"-like plea from one vulnerable, smitten man to his cold, withholding boyfriend? The gay teens and tweens, most of them closeted, definitely did. "If you're doing music, you should use it for something and have substance," Bell once told Seventeen. "Being gay and open about it is my substance." –JR

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