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Playlist: The Six Pillars of Queer Emotion

by Joe Shetina about a year ago in Pride Month
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A Pride Month Playlist

Playlist: The Six Pillars of Queer Emotion
Photo by Alexander Popov on Unsplash

The Six Pillars of Queer Emotion:

  1. Pride
  2. Mess
  3. Longing
  4. Defiance
  5. Magic
  6. Euphoria

Note: The night out I describe here can be literal or metaphorical. You can feel all of these emotions at any time. A game night, a housewarming party, brunch. It’s possible to feel all of these feelings without leaving your computer desk. Believe me. I’ve done it.


It’s 9 PM and you are feeling yourself. No one can touch you. That coworker who’s getting on your last nerve, that person you’ve been crushing on for a year, that guy who’s texting you after two years of mutual ghosting… they don’t exist tonight. It’s just you, your chosen family, and the dance floor.

Maybe you’re delusional. That’s okay. Delusion is a queer birthright. Tonight, you are the finest thing that’s ever walked this earth. You’re not just comfortable in the skin you're in. It's what makes you the best.

Queer Pride Playlist

  1. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” — Shania Twain
  2. “Love Myself” — Hailee Steinfeld
  3. “New Attitude” — Patti LaBelle
  4. “The Best” — Tina Turner
  5. “Strong Enough” — Cher


Unfortunately, the night is downhill from here.

By 11:45, you're closing in on midnight. You're sweating off your makeup and your legs hurt because you didn’t stretch before you went out. That’s okay. But all the aches and the sweat and the drinks have you flailing like a college freshman at their first real party.

You’re gonna think that hunting down a one-night stand will make the night better. If they turn out to be your soul-mate, that’s even better.

Ah, there’s your mistake. You had a romantic thought. Now, the existential crisis is real. You’re gonna start looking around the dance floor and wondering why everyone else seems so connected and you’re just over here… feeling like someone left your cake out in the rain. Even as some guy is dancing a little too close to you, you feel alone. That’s before you even notice he looks a little like the guy you went on like three dates with last year before he ghosted you. Ah, what could’ve been.

Queer Mess Playlist

  1. “I Need a Man” — Grace Jones
  2. “Macarthur Park” — Donna Summer
  3. “If I Could Turn Back Time” — Cher
  4. “Dancing On My Own” — Robyn
  5. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” — Thelma Houston


It’s 2 AM. If you haven’t gone home with somebody, you’re wandering around in a stupor. If you did go home with somebody, this will probably still happen, but just not until 2:30 or so. You need to eat. You shovel your face with unhealthy foods, wondering where it all went wrong.

Reminder: It doesn’t matter how boring or wild your past is. No queer is exempt from queer longing.

At this point in the night, your understanding of fact and fiction is tenuous at best. A barista who was really nice to you once on a day-trip to Milwaukee will suddenly turn into the person you could’ve spent the rest of your life with.

Like delusion, longing is another queer birthright. Settle into it. Eat some ice cream. Get some takeout.

Queer Longing Playlist

  1. “Losing You” — Solange
  2. “Torn” — Natalie Imbruglia
  3. “Fast Car” — Tracy Chapman
  4. “You Can Sleep While I Drive” — Melissa Etheridge
  5. “Million Reasons” — Lady Gaga


Okay, but don’t wallow too long. You’ve gotta feel your feelings, but then at around 5 AM, you’ve gotta remember who the hell you are. There are people who out there don’t want to see you happy or fulfilled. Those people suck. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

Because one component of queer experience, no matter who you are, is the fine art of defiance. Whether you acknowledge it or not, you stand on the shoulders of queers who suffered and persevered so you could walk down the street being your fabulous self.

There are still too many places where people can’t do that. You owe it to them to remember who the hell you are.

In the meantime, text your friends. Tell them you love them. Invite them to lunch and don’t cancel when the day comes. Keep the good people close and decide what it is you deserve and what you want out of life and love.

Queer Defiance Playlist

  1. “Little Bird” — Annie Lennox
  2. “Juice” — Lizzo
  3. “Irreplaceable” — Beyonce
  4. “Show Me Love” — Robin S.
  5. “I Will Survive” — Gloria Gaynor


Get some sleep. You’ll need it. When you wake up, you’re going to tap into your powers of transformation. One thing we know how to do is make a bad situation beautiful. Paint it up, treat yourself, put on your favorite outfit—the one that makes you feel powerful.

Ask yourself some questions: Who do you love? How are you going to show up for them and how are you going to make their lives better? What do you stand for? What are you going to do better today than yesterday?

You know, all that positivity bumper sticker crap. Just because it’s cliche doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering.

But most of all, don’t be afraid today. Walk like you deserve to be seen.

Queer Magic Playlist

  • “Wig in a Box” — John Cameron Mitchell
  • “I Feel Love” — Donna Summer
  • “All the Lovers” — Kylie Minogue
  • “You’re the First, My Last, My Everything” — Barry White
  • “Finally” — CeCe Penniston

    Imagine walking across a bridge of rose petals suspended over a deep valley. It’s so high you know it should be terrifying, but it isn’t. You're light as a cloud. Imagine sitting on a rocket with every person you love, shooting into the stratosphere as a sunset explodes into reds and purples and blues and oranges across the sky.

    Remember everything you went through last night and the nights before and be grateful for what makes you special. Remember what came before, imagine what will come after, but don’t forget to enjoy the beauty of where you are now. Be so happy you could cry—if only for a moment.

    Queer Euphoria Playlist

    1. “So Emotional” — Whitney Houston
    2. “Everytime We Touch” — Cascada
    3. “Together Again” — Janet Jackson
    4. “Into the Blue” — Kylie Minogue
    5. “Run Away with Me” — Carly Rae Jepsen

    Pride Month

    About the author

    Joe Shetina

    Joe Shetina (they/he) is a fat gay writer and camp object currently based in Chicago.

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