In honor of National Coming Out Day, I decided to compile YouTube videos of songs that have inspired my queer femme journey. In my experience, coming out doesn’t happen just once, it happens over and over again, in a variety of different ways. Sometimes it’s a shining learning moment that feels good for everyone involved. Sometimes it’s tedious. Sometimes it’s just plain scary and easier to stay quiet. I’ve certainly been in my share of situations where that was the safest option. There are many people today who just can’t come out, for whatever reason. To those people, I say, there’s a bunch of us waiting for you once you can and are safe to do so.
May we all be our best selves and thrive.
So here you go, my top 10 coming out songs. What are some of your favorites? Would love to hear them!
#1 – KD Lang “Constant Craving”
When I think of my (ongoing) coming out story, it always begins with watching KD Lang on David Letterman. When she came out, strutting slowly on the stage, in a gray suit and bare feet and started crooning, my body started sending me messages I could not ignore! WOW. Talk about a visceral reaction in the best possible way. I knew right then what I liked was different and very exciting …
#2 Technotronic – “Move This”
This Belgian electronic band came out in 1988 and I loved them from the get-go. The beats. The androgyny of Ya Kid K. Plus the lyrics were dope. A staple on my dance party mixes.
#3 – Indigo Girls “Tangled Up in Blue”
I didn’t hear this Bob Dylan cover when it was first released in 1995, it came on my radar when I was with my first girlfriend a few years later. We were already listening to “Closer to Fine” (I know, classic lesbianic) but when I heard this song, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I love covers and this is one of my favorites.
#4 – Diana Ross “I’m Coming Out”
This probably seems obvious. I mean, it’s THE coming out song. It’s the classic, “Look at me, I’m here song!” It’s awesome. Watch this video and you will feel the positivity and joy happening in that room. She’s a force and this is an anthem.
#5 – George Michael “Freedom”
Again, another classic. George Michael. The models of the late 80s and 90s. That was a time, was it not? It’s hard to believe this was released in 1990. I was still in high school but was not out. My self awareness hadn’t led me to my queerness yet. Years later, we would play this song at the LGBTQ youth organization I worked at, while spreading out around a huge rainbow flag. As we bounced it in the air, we would play this. I love this song and it’s such a marker of our history.
#6 – Missy Elliott: “Work it”
Missy Elliott. Kills it. Every single time. To me, she just screams queer amazingness. I realize that might not be her reality but she helped me realize mine.
#7 – Santigold “I’m a Lady”
I personally hate being called a lady, so this is my go-to when I’m feeling like I want to rebel against the stereotypes of my gender. Not sure exactly why. It just speaks to me in that way.
#8 – Le Tigre “Deceptacon”
Back in the day, at a certain point in my life in Maine, I listened to this song on repeat.
#9 – Joan Jett & The BlackHearts – “Crimson & Clover”
I mean. C’MON. While I was like five at the time Joan Jett’s version came out, when I heard this Tommy James & The Shondells’ cover years later something touched me deep inside. Tough and tender wins. Also her style is my inspiration.
#10 – Melissa Ferrick “Drive”
It’s hard to believe this song is almost 20 years old. Sisters, the now defunct dyke bar in Portland, Maine played this song at the close of every night. Give it a listen, and you’ll quickly get why. I found this performance on YouTube and if you have 10 minutes, it’s well worth it. (Note: this is rated R for racy.)