When we think of big coming out stories, we tend to think of gay men in highly religious or traditional homes, or transgender individuals in any home situation. The truth is, as lesbians, we have our own set of risks with coming out – and they will be different from person to person.
Generally, it’s best to have a plan when you’re ready to come out. If you’ve already formed a type of script in your head, complete with some possible questions from the people you’re coming out to, it helps to make sure things go smoother. (Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who obsessively color codes and plans everything – so if you’re more of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type person, you might not agree with me.)
Maybe one of the most important parts of any planning process is the ability to put yourself into the right frame of mind. For me, that’s easy enough: Just a little bit of music can go a long way! When I’m working, I like a playlist of orchestral covers of pop songs. (Hey, it works for me.) When I’m out for a cruise, I prefer to listen to something peppy – otherwise I’m likely to fall asleep in the car.
Coming out is no different. While I didn’t really have a mantra, a plan, or anything when I came out, I would have killed for a few pointers from the artists on this list. We’ve compiled 10 songs to help get you pumped for coming out. Can you think of any more we missed? Throw them in the comments!
“Aftermath” by Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert rose to fame a few years ago, and is a rare example of someone who was openly gay before becoming famous. He has kept himself in our hearts and lives by delivering powerful vocals that we can all relate to. Whether you like his style or not, you can’t deny that he has made himself an icon in the gay community.
While “Aftermath” is not specifically a gay song, it is refreshing and peppy, and those of us struggling to find the words to come out will definitely find themselves in this song. Adam reminds us that we’re not alone, and that things will eventually be OK. Use this little gem to keep you pumped about any big events in your life!
“Freedom” by Wham!
George Michael has long been one of the most influential and popular gay artists, and his voice in this song is breathy and energetic. (I think one of our lovely lesbian singers should cover it too – what do you say?) This song isn’t about coming out, specifically (it’s actually about two lovers who can’t be together) but the lyrics can resonate with someone who needs to come out, too:
“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 that I should be”
Sound a little familiar? If it does, feel free to get pumped up with this 80s pop tune. (Just don’t get mad at me if it gets stuck in your head after!)
“Proud” by Heather Small
Heather Small is the first female artist on our list, and her voice alone is empowering and magical. This song was even performed at the 2012 Olympics, and it stands as an anthem for the days you need to impress yourself. Sometimes, that pride can come from simply being true to yourself.
Of course, this song wasn’t meant to be a coming out song, either, but just a quick listen to the lyrics will surely give you the confidence to make the difficult choices. “What have you done today to make you feel proud?” – my new mantra!
“I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross
If you thought we were going to leave the legendary Diana Ross off our list, you are dead wrong. This song has been an accidental anthem of the gay community since the 70s, and it still has yet to lose its power and charm. “There’s a new me coming out, and I just have to live” – couldn’t have said it better!
If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t heard this song yet, it’s an incredibly campy and relatable song that really helps to embody every time in your life you need confidence and a little pick-me-up. It’s not often you find a single power anthem that really gets everyone fired up, but if you’re looking for that song… This is that song.
“Glad to Be Gay” by Tom Robinson Band
This song comes from an earlier time – the 70s, where being openly gay was still largely a criminal act. This song documents the things that (most of us) have been able to overcome since then. But the truth is, some of the things that Tom Robinson sings about are still a reality today in many parts of the world.
“Glad to Be Gay” begs the listener to sing along if they’re glad to be gay, even though they face the risk of persecution and sometimes even violence. The song has stood as a pioneer in the LGBT+ rights movement, and to this day it holds a lot of power to shape your mentality about your own responsibilities in the gay community – are you doing your part to help others?
“Take Your Mama” by Scissor Sisters
Another song that details the struggles of the gay man, this one resounds with some of the lesbian audience as well. This song tells of a young gay man coming out to his mother – and is the only song on our list that is specifically about coming out.
This song actually gives some pretty good coming out advice, too, disguised in the form of a catchy tune. Lead singer Jake Shears advises listeners to “take your mama out all night” and show her what it’s really about. By sharing it as a form of connection, it might help your mother to understand that you’re just “trying to do the best [you] can”.
“I Am What I Am” by Gloria Gaynor
Gloria Gaynor is another huge artist who has sort of been absorbed by the gay community. Songs like “I Will Survive” help to fuel the fire inside after a rough breakup, while “I Am What I Am” chooses instead to tell you just how perfect you already are – and if someone can’t accept that, that’s their loss.
…Okay, technically, Gloria Gaynor wasn’t the original artist for this song, but given her position as a gay icon, we felt that her version would best represent our struggles. Plus, just listen to that voice – “Life’s not worth a damn ‘till you can say, I am what I am!” This song details the importance of being your own biggest fan. “I don’t want praise, I don’t want pity.” This is something we should all try to strive for in our lives – let’s just exist as we are and stop trying to change ourselves, OK?
“Same Thing in Reverse” by Boy George
Boy George is another gay icon who helps to put into words that we’ve all thought at least once or twice. “Same Thing in Reverse” tells the million questions that might be asked when you come out, and helps you with a very simple answer: “It’s the same thing in reverse!”
What does he mean by this, exactly? Well, as he explains it, the only difference between gay and straight is the gender of the partner. Hardly something to make a big deal about, right? We think so, too.
“True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper
While Cyndi Lauper is not gay, this song was actually penned about a lesbian: Cyndi’s sister. This song is told from the point of view of the person who loves the one coming out. This can be particularly powerful if you don’t actually have that person in your life. Cyndi has taken a step up to be that person for you. How awesome is that?
Cyndi Lauper has long been an icon in the gay community, largely because of this song, and it’s not hard to see why. She has a powerful voice that reminds you that your true colors are beautiful – so let them show.
“Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
I have had the hugest crush on Christina Aguilera for literally as long as I can remember, and when the song “Beautiful” hit the radio, it was just the powerful message I needed to hear. I have always struggled with accepting myself when others didn’t accept me, and “Beautiful” reminds us that it really doesn’t matter what anyone else says – it’s your opinion that matters.
As I grew up a little more, I started to embody this message a bit more, and I think it’s so important that you do, too. If it’s really not safe for you to come out, there is no rush – as long as you are happy with who you are, f*ck all the haters, you are beautiful!