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27 Songs That Shaped The Way We Felt About Ourselves As LGBT People

02/08/2015 10:37 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016
Lester Cohen via Getty Images

The glamour, glitz and live spectacle of the Grammy Awards have made the annual show mandatory viewing for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) music fans.

Of course, the 2015 telecast will be no exception -- yet another reminder of the empowering, if subversive, nature of music. Indeed, our favorite singers, musicians and songs have often metaphorically stepped in when our words have failed us.

While we were gearing up for Grammys, we asked our readers to name the songs that shaped the way they felt about themselves as LGBT people. The responses we received on Facebook and Twitter are by no means a definitive list, but nonetheless reflect the community's overall diversity, with pop, country, rock and musical theater tunes.

Take a look at 27 songs that shaped the way we felt about ourselves as LGBT people:

  • "Small Town Boy," Bronski Beat
    "19 in Scottish town, I was that small town boy, came out not long after the record." -- Jimmy Hunter, Twitter

    "I was 15 when that came out and the music video was somehow comforting in a world I did not understand yet. Like it was ok to be different, and I wasn't alone, long before the internet and other avenues for self exploration." -- Wayne Tomash, Facebook
  • "F**kin' Perfect," P!nk
    "It helped me see that I can face down my demons and work on trying to be better inside and people will always judge you. She gave me the strength to say f*ck it, I can now look in the mirror an be proud of who I am and be comfortable in my own skin." -- Enrique Kiki Charette, Facebook
  • "She Keeps Me Warm," Mary Lambert
    "The video for Mary Lambert's 'She Keeps Me Warm' made me cry and also want to scream, 'I love girls!'" --Angel, Twitter
  • "Tougher Than The Rest," Bruce Springsteen
    "The first video that showed gay couples not for camp or shock value. He did it with little press nor any exploration. He did it to show the broad spectrum of his fans." --Paul Graham, Facebook
  • "Brave," Sara Bareilles
    "In fact, that whole album helped me get through transition *and* work on my voice! I can *almost* hit her highest notes." -- Tarah Zee Tamayo, Facebook
  • "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," Sylvester
    "I'll always relate it with the first time I went to a pride festival in my teens. Something about it just sounds... free." -- Kris Borders, Facebook
  • "Express Yourself," Madonna
    "I owe my gratitude to you, Madonna, as a gay Christian man. Thank you!" -- Bret Alleman, Facebook
  • "Subdivisions," Rush
    "Captured the feelings of isolation I was feeling when I was a teen." -- Emilia Lombardi, Twitter
  • "Here's Where I Stand" from "Camp"
    "This was my anthem for a long time -- got me through some tough times." -- Michael A. Goodman, Twitter
  • "A Little Respect," Erasure
    "To me, that song was about self-respect and self-discovery. I sang this song to myself, it helped a lot and it was nice to dance to." -- Luis Flores, Facebook
  • "Beautiful," Christina Aguilera
    "Made me happy to be me." -- Andrew Larter, Twiitter
  • "Dance In The Dark," Lady Gaga
    "The song is about letting yourself be who you are no matter who passes judgment on you." -- Joseph Miguel Dance, Facebook
  • "Does Your Mother Know," ABBA
    -- Gregory Fulford, Twitter
  • "I Kissed A Girl," Katy Perry
    "I always knew I liked guys but that song raised some questions for me that I might not have gotten to until later on in life. It's funny how I never thought about kissing a girl until I listened and started wondering about kissing girls. Kissing a girl is different from kissing a boy, as the earth is different from the sky. Beautiful and unique. Equally thrilling and equally missed." -- Michelle Leggott, Facebook
  • Stephen Sondheim's "Putting It Together," as performed by Barbra Streisand
    "I knew I was on my way, but it was taking a bit of time to come together." -- Lawrence Prichard, Facebook
  • "I'm Coming Out," Diana Ross
    "When I was coming out on challenging days I would just blast that song on repeat. I loved it!" -- Tara Bowie, Facebook
  • "I Am What I Am" from "La Cage Aux Folles," performed by Gloria Gaynor
    -- Diane Hansen, Twitter
  • "Same Love," Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
    -- Matti Kerr, Twitter
  • "Runaway Train," Soul Asylum
    "I felt the lyrics captured perfectly the fear, confusion, coming out to others, and the anxiety, but ultimately 'I know this is the right decision for me' in coming out as a trans man, especially the lyric about how everything seems to black and white to everyone else, but 'somehow I just don't believe it.'" -- Riley J. Knight, Facebook
  • "Silent Legacy," Melissa Etheridge
    "The album this song is on, 'Yes, I Am,' came out around the same time I was barely out of the closet and felt very alone in my small hometown in Illinois. 'Silent Legacy' taught me that Melissa knew what I had been going through, and that is was OK to be gay. I felt less alone, and that someone actually understood." -- Joe Pool, Facebook
  • "The Killing of Georgie," Rod Stewart
    "[This song] was released when I was a teenager. I was still very much in the closet at the time, and my friends' mostly positive reaction to the song helped me to overcome my anxiety about being gay." -- Robert Berryman, Facebook
  • "Who Will Love Me As I Am?" from "Side Show"
    "You can feel like a freak but there's still the chance for love." -- Will Beischel, Twitter
  • "Passionate Kisses," Mary Chapin Carpenter
    "I was an aspiring writer working in an office and engaged to my high school best friend. It was a good life, but it wasn't passionate." -- Anne Speck, Facebook
  • "I Didn't Know My Own Strength," Whitney Houston
    "I've always had a special connection to Whitney Houston's music. I agree with so many of the other artists -- Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, Madonna. But, for me, Whitney's song 'I Didn't Know My Own Strength' really helped me." -- Ryan Gregg, Facebook
  • "Twinkle," Tori Amos
    "I would have to say 'Twinkle' by Tori Amos is the one song that stands out in my mind as a song that truly resonates with me with respect to how I experience my sexuality. The verb 'twinkle' when ascribed to a human is almost always used to make reference to the appearance, personality, or the behavior of a woman or of feminine attributes. Even referencing the twinkle in a man's eye evokes the wiles usually associated with the female sex (at least in my mind)." -- Robert Harris, Facebook
  • "Metamorphosis" Pet Shop Boys
    "Described my life at the time!" -- Nick Literski, Facebook
  • "Proud," Heather Small
    -- Eric Crumrine, Twitter
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