For centuries, love stories — in the form of songs, plays, books or films — have used the concept of “forbidden love” as a narrative device to heighten the tension and drive a story forward. So, should it really come as a surprise that LGBTQ artists write some of the best love songs around?
After all, queer folks were told on a regular basis throughout history that their way of loving was wrong (let’s be honest — in many cases and places, we are still being told that). So when given a platform to express themselves openly, it’s no wonder that LGBTQ talents have penned or performed exceptionally moving, deeply affecting love songs. Look no further than Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window” or George Michael’s “Fastlove” for proof.
In recent years, as queer artists have gained more mainstream visibility in the music industry, the content of queer love songs has noticeably shifted in new, bold directions. No longer relegated to writing non-specific ballads of generalized longing, queer artists starting using proper pronouns for their lyrical lovers more regularly, explicitly spelling out the dynamics of relationships and taking the opportunities afforded to straight artists for years to sing frankly about sex and desire. Some of those songs have even gone on to top the Hot 100, making history for the LGBTQ community.
With so many gay love songs to choose from, Billboard decided to offer some help. Below, we list out 30 of our favorite gay love songs — specifically in which men sing about loving men — ranging from sensual dance bangers to tender pop ballads.
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