Do you ever feel like most love songs don’t relate to you? Living in a world of heteronormativity means that LGBTQ+ people often don’t see themselves represented in music, one of the most powerful forms of media we know. This list of songs written by or representing the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t limit its themes to “boy meets girl.” Celebrate your pride with Valentine’s Day songs that speak to you.
Show your sweetheart how much you love them with these Valentine’s Day songs representing the LGBTQ+ community.
1. “Forrest Gump” by Frank Ocean
If you and your partner like running together, we recommend this song for your Valentine’s Day race. Frank Ocean’s support of and involvement within the LGBTQ+ community has been consistent since his start. To support the sentiment in the love song, “Forrest Gump” uses metaphor and lyrical wordplay. If you are absolutely infatuated with someone this V-day, then you’ll understand how Ocean feels. Either that, or you just really like the movie Forrest Gump.
3. “For My Lover” by Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman has a beautiful nostalgia in her songs that you and your partner can cry to all night. “For My Lover” meets this expectation. Despite the vague lyrics, the song hints at the institutionalization of LGBTQ+ people before the APA declared that homosexuality wasn’t a mental illness in 1987. You might feel emotional when you listen to this song, but if you need to break your partner out of prison for a crime they didn’t commit, this song will help you plan.
3. “Falling in Love Again (I Can’t Help it)” by Marlene Dietrich
I’m falling in love with Marlene Dietrich, an icon of queer culture. As a bisexual actress and singer, Dietrich shook the world up. She often performed in shows dressed as a man, which shocked the public in the 1920s. This song uses purposefully gender-neutral pronouns, and her sultry vocals will keep you and your partner slow-dancing all night long.
4. “I Kissed a Girl” by Jill Sobule
Katy Perry has nothing on Jill Sobule, who wrote “I Kissed A Girl” in the 1990s. Sobule’s interview with Rolling Stone in 2009 explained that she found Perry’s song title choice less than thrilling, but later stated that she was joking around and had nothing but respect for Perry. Regardless, if you feel like kissing a girl on Valentine’s Day, give this song a listen for advice.
5. “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith
If you want to move your Valentine’s Day celebrations to the bedroom, you might need the help of Sam Smith. This iconic, moving love song would accompany the perfect Valentine’s Day scene, whatever that may consist of for you. Sam Smith came out in 2014, and this song resounds with LGBTQ+ people everywhere for the relatable nature of his lyrics and the beautiful melody. John Legend also sings on this track, so play it to make your night legendary.
6. “Gay Pirates” by Cosmo Jarvis
If you or your partner identify as a gay pirate, we’ve found your new anthem. “Gay Pirates” tells a story about two gay pirates who, marginalized by the rest of their pirate crew, try to find solace in each other. Despite the almost comic premise (spurred on by the pleasant ukulele strumming), this song, full of heartbreak and sorrow, contains a message that rises above the rest: true love will prevail. Society can’t change that.
7. “Fill My Little World” by The Feeling
Pining for someone and getting mixed messages sucks, but The Feeling understands the feeling. Led by gay front man Dan Gillespie Sells, British rock band The Feeling produced “Fill My Little World” in 2005. The song explores the dynamic of being with someone who blows hot and cold. The singer knows that the relationship sucks, but still finds himself captivated. #Relatable.
8. “See You Again” by Tyler, the Creator
If you have a date for Valentine’s Day, you probably want to see them again, either before or after February 14. If you can relate, then Tyler, the Creator wrote the perfect song for you. Listen to “See You Again” and remember the sensation of realizing that you might have actual feelings for someone. As a gay man in the hip-hop industry, the accessibility of Tyler, the Creator’s music helps kids all over the world accept themselves and their sexual orientation.
9. “Te Amo” by Rihanna
I don’t know how much clearer this song could get. Rihanna literally dances with a girl, and the girl falls in love with Rihanna (because who wouldn’t), telling her those three magic words, “I love you.” Even though technically the song ends without Rihanna and this mystery girl getting married and staying together forever, this song works if you want to dance your worries away on Valentine’s Day with someone special.
10. “A Man Like You” by Ashley MacIsaac
Ashley MacIsaac’s simple vocals and guitar make this song perfect for a serenade. MacIsaac originally began his career with a foray into Celtic music as a fiddler, but soon found success with his rock album “Pride,” released in 2006. The song contains lyrics about overcoming shyness and making a move on someone. Listen to this song to bolster up the courage to ask someone out this Valentine’s Day.
11. “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” by Sylvester
Disco has been left out of the genre of love songs for far too long, and what better song to include in the canon of LGBTQ+ love songs than this one. Released in 1978 by openly gay disco artist Sylvester, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” will make you groove until you drop. The song also provides you with a great way to tell your Valentine how they truly make you feel. Don’t be fake, tell them you feel mighty real.
12. “Girls Like Girls” by Hayley Kiyoko
Any girl who likes girls out there? Then congratulations, you’ve just found your next anthem. Hayley Kiyoko reflects part of a new generation of LGBTQ+ artists bringing queer subject material into mainstream music. This pop tune explores what it means to exist as a girl who likes other girls (hint: girls like girls like boys do). The song resonates with queer girls because of the simplicity of the statement in the song. For everyone who can relate to this song: go make Hayley Kiyoko proud, and kiss a girl this Valentine’s Day.
13. “Closer” by Tegan and Sara
Gay musicians, identical twins. I’ve described both the perfect Valentines and musical duo Tegan and Sara. Their song “Closer” uses only gender-neutral pronouns, so we can all agree it makes for a perfect serenade option for people of any gender. Show someone that you won’t treat them like they’re typical this Valentine’s Day.
14. “Might Tell You Tonight” by The Scissor Sisters
This song perfectly encapsulates the fear you’ve probably felt if you’ve tried to tell someone you like them, but the song relates these feels in a fun dance way so that you don’t die from embarrassing memories. Openly gay Scissor Sisters singer Jake Shears came out at fifteen. Despite that incident not going so well, as he stated in an interview with RUComingOut.com, he went on to make some great tunes that you can use as background music on your Valentine’s date.
15. “No Homo” by The Lonely Island
Have you tried to ask someone out and been shot down with the iconic phrase, “No homo?” The Lonely Island break down this phrase in their song, which takes the cake for the oddest LGBTQ+ love song ever written. The song makes fun of toxic masculinity and heteronormativity, which makes for a nice change from making LGBTQ+ people the butt of the joke. This song fits almost any occasion: if you and your date need a romantic song to slow-dance to (or maybe laugh at), put this song on and go for it.