Ever since her meteoric rise to fame, Lady Gaga hasn’t been one for conventions. Rather, she’s always pledged a commitment to individualism, a refusal to conform that makes her a beacon of encouragement for LGBTQ listeners worldwide.
As a bisexual woman, Gaga has spearheaded numerous efforts in the name of LGBTQ-rights, founding her own non-profit organization, the Born This Way Foundation, in 2011.
Her music, particularly her second studio album Born This Way — which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart — has been become inseparable from queer culture, with some songs deeply intertwined in the lived experiences of LGBTQ youth.
Honoring her impact, we’ve collected ten of the artist’s most inspiring and energizing tracks, to keep you on the top of your (love)game this Pride Month.
One of the artist’s three Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits, “Poker Face” is not only an insatiably catchy song but also an allusion to her personal experience with bisexuality, how it feels to fantasize about a woman while being with a man, doubting his ability to see through the facade.
Another track delving into the singer’s sexuality, “Americano” beautifully unravels the complications of a lesbian love story roadblocked by institutional preventions. Gaga vows to never quit fighting in pursuit for equality in love: “Mis canciones son de la revolución,” she sings in Spanish, pledging, “My songs are about the revolution.”
“Born This Way”
An instant classic, a landmark in LGBTQ pop cultue, and an absolutely timeless queer anthem — released in a time when not everyone was ready to hear “gay,” “bi,” “lesbian” and “transgender” on mainstream pop radio. An obviously quintessential Pride track.
Often overlooked on an album littered with incredibly queer tracks, this identity-driven song talks about embracing authenticity and welcoming yourself into the absolute freedom of vulnerability. Just about every LGBTQ person can relate to a narrative about fighting with parents about personal expression.
“Highway Unicorn (Road To Love)”
“She’s got a rainbow spirit in her heart that she bleeds,” Gaga declares, as she lets loose on this wildly optimistic track about being strong on the (sometimes lonely) journey to finding love.
If the three x’s didn’t give it away, this song is quite promiscuous, Gaga inviting a girl over to play out her nastiest fantasies while her boyfriend is out of town. A very explicit song with a sickening beat.
This heart-pumping track about forbidden love sent a shiver down the spine of every suburban Christian mother when it debuted in the Hot 100 top 10 in 2011. Coupled with one of the artist’s most theatrical videos, this Born This Way standout is sacred to Little Monsters.
Produced by Artpop collaborator Zedd, “G.U.Y.” shoots out of the gate with an intense electronic beat, over which Gaga proclaims the empowerment of role-reversal, teaming up with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for a high-fashion bank heist in the track’s fantastical music video.
“I take it off, I put it on/I feel alive when I transform,” Gaga confesses on the bridge of a song filled with drag-related themes of honesty and fearlessness, and a fair share of LGBTQ lingo. The singer even welcomed RuPaul to perform a duet of the song on her special, Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular.
“Telephone” (feat. Beyoncé)
Gaga teams up with Beyoncé for one of the most show-stopping collabs of the twenty-first century, on this club-ready, Britney-Spears-rejected banger. Sure, there’s no clear queer imagery, but a song with both Gaga and Bey is just as fabulous as it gets.