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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George Michael, "Freedom! '90" (1990)

It would be eight more years until George Michael would come out to the general public, but the gifted, soulful and charismatic former Wham! frontman had long been a white-hot sex symbol, role model and trendsetter for gay men and other LGBTQ individuals across the world. "In terms of my work, I've never been reticent in terms of defining my sexuality. I write about my life," he told CNN in his 1998 coming-out interview. And while later music would directly address his sexuality and his relationships (including the loss of a partner to AIDS), his ageless 1990 single pointed to a radical, transformative honesty not yet ready to be said aloud: "I think there’s something you should know/I think it's time I told you so/There's something deep inside of me / There's someone else I've got to be." The accompanying video – in which the marquee-handsome superstar goes M.I.A. to let supermodels do the lip-syncing, and his cheesy Faith-era leather jacket goes up in flames – remains unmatched. –JR

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