28/06/2020 07:00 BST | Updated 28/06/2020 07:00 BST

My Pride Anthems: Paris Lees

"Has this song been played in every gay bar since the dawn of time? Yes. Am I sick of it? No."

HuffPost UK
My Pride Anthems

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, and that includes how we’re all celebrating Pride in 2020.

With huge public gatherings out of the question, we’re asking a range of LGBTQ celebrities and allies for their personal Pride anthems, to help us all get into the Pride spirit from lockdown.

In the latest instalment in our My Pride Anthems series, journalist and activist Paris Lees shares the songs that define Pride for her. 

Paris Lees
Paris Lees

With her song choices, she’s taking us on a trip back in time to an era of “hot summer nights dancing in Revenge in Brighton as a student”, but also reveals her song of the summer for 2020.

Oh, and there’s some Kylie Minogue in there for good measure.

Here are Paris’ picks...

Le Youth, feat. Dominique Young Unique – Dance with Me


“This is such a fun summer jam that reminds me of going to work at Attitude magazine in 2014. In my column, I was an early supporter of Stonewall campaigning on trans issues, at a time when a lot of people didn’t like the idea, because I’ve always known that trans people need to make friends and form political coalitions if we want to make things better. We’re less than 1% of the population, so we’re not going to do it by ourselves.

“I was also spending a lot of time getting to know Matthew Todd at this time, who was writing his fantastic book Straight Jacket: How To Be Gay And Happy, which has honestly had such a huge impact on how I see myself and so many of my friends in the LGBTQ community. Happy memories.”

Liquid – Sweet Harmony


“This reminds me of hot summer nights dancing in Revenge in Brighton as a student, followed by raves on the beach. I’m completely obsessed with the 80s and 90s – I swear I was born a decade or two too late – and I had so much fun as a student going back and discovering all the old free party tunes.

“The thing I loved about Brighton was that everyone just wanted to have a good time, we were a huge, mixed social circle of straight and queer people and PARTIES.”

Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head


“Clearly the best version of an already bona fide bop – and the New Order sample makes this the crowning glory of the noughties mash up trend. Has this song been played in every gay bar since the dawn of time? Yes. Am I sick of it? No.

“I first heard this in AD2 bar in Nottingham and it brings up memories of climbing out my bedroom window after my dad had gone to sleep (don’t try this at home, kids) for wild nights out with my best friend Steffi. I first saw her dancing on a podium in NG1 nightclub. I wouldn’t dream of asking someone this in 2020, but my first words to her were, ‘Excuse me but are you a man or a woman?’. She replied, ‘I don’t know, darling’. We became besties on the spot.

Megan Thee Stallion, feat. Beyoncé – Savage Remix


“I know some people are gonna come for me for including Megan Thee Stallion in this list as last year some of her old tweets were (rightly) called out for being homophobic. But I feel very strongly that we have to give people space to grow and not cancel someone for something they said when they were 17, especially if they’ve apologised and reached a more loving, inclusive space.

“And this is the song of the summer as far as I’m concerned, and I can’t wait till we can all be together again, dancing and having fun. Also: Beyoncé!

Joanna – Séduction


“This is my wildcard – it’s in French, which I’ve been learning over the past two years and I’ve found loads of amazing music I would never have heard otherwise. This is about a woman who ‘d’habitude n’aime pas les femmes’ (doesn’t usually like women) but becomes seduced by another woman. Think I Kissed A Girl, except this isn’t just a kiss – she’s, like, really into her.

“It makes me think of so many girls from back home I know who are really relaxed about their sexuality and wouldn’t think twice about changing things up with a woman if the right one comes along. You don’t need to understand French to enjoy Joanna, just vibes.”

Lipps Inc – Funky Town


“I’d be very suspicious of anyone who didn’t want this song in their Pride playlist – or any playlist to be honest.

“My friend Alec invited me to a party a year or so ago and it was full of all these fabulous queers and fashion people tearing up the dancefloor to ABBA and The Prodigy and I thought, ‘OK, I’ve found my people. This is exactly where I want to be’.”

We’ll be adding each celebrity’s song choices to our bumper My Pride Anthems playlist each day. Take a listen below: