During Sunday's L.A. Pride parade, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles danced past the cheering crowd to perform a choreographed rendition of "This Is Me." To the spectators present, the joyous moment officially confirmed the song as an anthem of Pride, which will undoubtedly be replayed throughout the month of June.
The song's journey to the parade may be unexpected. But it has all of the requisite ingredients for this distinction.
"This Is Me" was written by a gay man, Benj Pasek, and his writing partner, Justin Paul. The two are known for their original songs for Smash,La La Land, and Dear Evan Hansen, the latter of which won them a Tony Award for Best Original Score.
In addition to these queer credentials, the anthem in question is from The Greatest Showman, a 2017 musical film starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum. In the production, "This Is Me" is sung by Keala Settle, who portrays a bearded lady in the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Her experience, articulated through the song, is one of resilience in the face of hardship -- which, after all, is what Pride is all about.
"I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I'm meant to be, this is me," Settle sings in an unapologetic declaration of identity that all queer people can relate to. She adds, "I'm not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me."
This message has resonated with Ada Vox, who this season became the first drag performer to reach the top 10 on American Idol. While Vox performed another Greatest Showman number on the ABC reality competition, "The Show Must Go On," the singer chose to sing "This Is Me" at The Advocate's Champions of Pride, a kickoff event for Pride season, held June 1. It brought the house down. She performed the number again at Queerty's Pride 50 event the following week.
Listen to the song below.