Music

Loud & Proud: 10 Alternative Pride Anthems To Rock Out To In June

Happy Pride Month! One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of Pride anthems lists are quite poppy – which there is nothing wrong with but what do you listen to if that’s not your jam? Myself and Artie Carden put our heads together and we came up with a list of alternative Pride songs for emo, rock and alternative music fans. Enjoy these hits from LGBTQ+ artists, queercore bangers and songs about Pride.

Neon rainbow sign on "Love is love" graffiti wall as part of "alternative pride songs" list

Alternative Pride Songs

Against Me! – True Trans Soul Rebel

Oh, you should’ve been a mother
You should’ve been a wife
You should’ve been gone from here years ago
You should be living a different life

The whole Transgender Dysphoria Blues album is a masterpiece full of rock Pride anthems, but True Trans Soul Rebel is the best song to summarize it. Laura Jane Grace came out as trans in 2012 and is an absolute icon.

Coming Clean – Green Day

Seventeen and coming clean for the first time
I finally figured out myself for the first time
I found out what it takes to be a man
Now mom and dad will never understand
What’s happening to me?

Billie Joe Armstrong said he was bisexual in 1995 and many fans beleive this is what Coming Clean on Dookie is about. It should be noted that he has since then he has said otherwise. “The fact that it is an issue is kind of phobic within itself. At some point… this should be something that’s just accepted. I don’t really classify myself as anything. And when it comes to sex, there are parts of me that are very shy and conservative. I want to respect my wife,” he told Attitude in 2010.

Green Day are also on my School Survival Playlist.

My Chemical Romance – Destroya

Don’t believe what they say
We’re dead flies in the summertime
They leave us all behind
With duct-tape scars on my honey

No, this is not about Gerard Way or Frank Iero’s sexualities. MCR have always been stellar allies to the queer community and went out of their way throughout their career to make homophobes uncomfortable – which is what they put their “Ferard” moments down to. Frank has since confirmed that he’s straight and Gerard hasn’t commented on their sexuality – nor should we be putting pressure on anyone to “come out” or discuss their sexuality.

Gerard has, however, said they are gender non-conforming. Gerard once confirmed that his pronouns are he/they, and he used his solo Hesitant Alien era to make his mascot, Lola, non-binary.

Many fans consider Danger Days to be the queer album, and that’s the beautiful thing about music as many fans see their Killjoy alter egos as a representation for being closeted vs being out. Hence why Destroya earned a spot as a rock Pride anthem.

Hayley Kiyoko – Girls Like Girls

Saw your face, heard your name
Gotta get with you
Girls like girls like boys do, nothing new
Isn’t this why we came?
Tell me if you feel it too!
Tell me, girls like girls like boys do
Nothing new
Girls like girls like boys do, nothing new

Hayley Kiyoko may not be a rock artist, but she does have an alternative streak. Hayley is actually the one who coined the term “20GayTeen” so we have to thank her! Girls like girls earns a spot of an alternative Pride anthem as she tries to normalize sapphic relationships.

Halestorm – I Am The Fire

Am I brave enough?
Am I strong enough?
To follow the desire
That burns from within
To push away my fear
To stand where I’m afraid
I am through with this

I Am The Fire isn’t about being queer, but Lzzy Hale came out as bisexual in 2014. Lzzy wrote the song “as a reminder to myself that with every obstacle I face, the only person standing in my way is ME.”

Joan Jett And The Black Hearts – Bad Reputation

I don’t give a damn ’bout my reputation
Living in the past, it’s a new generation
A girl can do what she wants to do and that’s what I’m gonna do

I grew up with the longstanding rumor that Joan Jett is a lesbian, which was pretty much all the representation there was (thanks to good old bi-erasure, Billie Joe and Lzzy’s sexualities were very hush-hush, even in the 2010s!). Joan herself has said she won’t comment on being “a lesbian or bisexual or whatever,” which is perfectly fine! As I said earlier, we shouldn’t pressure people to come out or talk about their sexuality if they don’t want to.

Lita Ford, who was the lead guitarist for Joan’s previous band, The Runaways, briefly quit the band because she “found out that the girls were all gay,” but told HuffPost she returned because “it’s really no big deal, that I shouldn’t worry about that.”

Queen – I Want To Break Free

But life still goes on
I can’t get used to, living without, living without,
Living without you by my side
I don’t want to live alone, hey
God knows, got to make it on my own
So baby can’t you see
I’ve got to break free.

Freddie never fully came out during his life so it has been heavily debatable whether he was gay or bi. However, the biography Somebody to Love: The Life, Death, and Legacy of Freddie Mercury by Mark Langthorne and Matt Richards says, “Closeted throughout his life, Mercury, who was bisexual, engaged in affairs with men but referred to a woman he loved in his youth, Mary Austin, as ‘the love of his life.'”

Regardless of how Freddie might have identified, he still remains one of the greatest, if not the greatest, frontmen to ever walk the Earth.

Bad At Love – Halsey

Got a girl with California eyes
And I thought that she could really be the one this time
But I never got the chance to make her mine
Because she fell in love with little thin white lines
London girl with an attitude
We never told no one but we look so cute
Both got way better things to do
But I always think about it when I’m riding through

Halsey has been pretty open about being bisexual. “I’m a young, bisexual woman, and I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to validate myself — to my friends, to my family, to myself — trying to prove that who I love and how I feel is not a phase; it’s not part of some confusion that’s going to change or could be manipulated,” she said in a GLAAD video.

PVRIS – White Noise

It’s hard to be what you need through a static screen
Been trying to speak for weeks and weeks
Open my mouth
All that comes out is white noise and incomprehensible sounds
And all you ever do is turn me down

PVRIS frontwoman Lynn Gunn came out as gay to her parents before heading on tour for the first time by leaving a note under her pillow. She has since told Billboard that she probably should have come out in person. “I love women so much and I have yet to feel that way towards a man, basically, so that’s where I’m at,” she said.

While White Noise was not explicitly written to be a queer song, music can be interpreted any way the fans see fit which is why I felt it deserved a space on this alternative Pride songs list.

WILLOW – t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l feat. Travis Barker

Transparent soul
I can see right through, just so you know
Transparent soul
I can see right through, just so you know

Willow Smith has come a long way since her Whip My Hair days and is taking after her mom, Jada Pinkett Smith who was the frontwomen of Wicked Wisdom. Willow has come out as polyamorous which is what put her on this alternative Pride songs list. She teamed up with Blink-182’s Travis Barker for this track and I’m loving this alternative streak in Willow!

Alternative Pride Anthems Honourable Mention:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Rock is sadly still very white-washed and heteronormative when it owes so much to queer musicians and POC. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was nicknamed The Godmother of Rock n’ Roll. Her unique guitar playing style and strong vocals is largely credited with inspiring the likes of Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry – who then got the credit for pioneering the scene.

So remember, we got rock because of a bisexual Black women – never forget it.

The fact that she was only inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 and remains vastly underrated is a testament to how far we still need to go.

Woman holding a paper rainbow pride flag heart.

So there we have 10 alternative Pride songs! What are your favourite Pride anthems? While your here, you might enjoy these Political Punk Anthems.

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