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Keep your 2020 Pride spirit going with these playlists from Shanghai's LGBTQ+ community

Well-known faces share their favourite songs to stir the hearts and move the hips

Photograph: courtesy Robin Worrall via Unsplash 
Pride celebrations may have just wrapped up for this year, but the anthems don't have to stop. There’s nothing like the power of music to help us understand who we are, show us how to love and give us the energy we need to keep moving forward (even when life isn’t rosy). Crank up the volume and work your way through this playlist of songs that were written to unite and not divide, as picked by members of Shanghai’s queer community.
Mau Mau and Michael Cignarale
Photograph: courtesy MEDUSA

Mau Mau and Michael Cignarale

Co-founders of MEDUSA, a monthly queer party at Elevator

'For MEDUSA, the music behind Pride doesn’t just celebrate queer inventions like the dancefloor, it uses words and melody to share the emotions queer people face in their self-discovery, navigation and hope for acceptance into our LGBTQ+ and allied community. As queer acceptance has grown, the music has transformed from a celebration of being “out and proud” to a joyous struggle for greater shared love and humanity between all of us. Listen to our playlist in the exact order and you’ll understand what we’re talking about: “I Was Born This Way”, Carl Bean; “Express Yourself”, Madonna; “Finally”, CeCe Peniston; and “Look Ahead (Hard & Soul Mix)”, Danny Tenaglia ft. Carole Sylvan.’

Lilian Shen
Photograph: Luke Gilford (Lizzo, courtesy Atlantic Records)

Lilian Shen

Co-founder of discussion group Queer Talks

‘“Til It Happens To You” by Lady Gaga touches on sexual and domestic violence which is not only prevalent amongst women but also within the LGBTQ community. “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes (Sense8 anyone?) is an assurance that life is this crazy journey; that my tears are all the emotions of sad, angry and happy; that I am still learning, growing with my community, finding myself, and that is ok. I listen to “Good As Hell” by Lizzo when I need a boost in my day. [I feel that] even within the LGBT community there can sometimes be misogyny. So a celebration of who you are (in curvaceous body, in femme expression or in all your queerness) is just so refreshing and powerful.’

Lee Ji-Young
Video still: 'Pynk' by Janelle Monae

Lee Ji-Young

Trans advocate and queer historian

‘“I Am Her” by Shea Diamond and “True Trans Soul Rebel” by Against Me! are songs by transgender artists written about real transgender experiences. Most media coverage of trans people is extremely degrading, but these songs are refreshing because they’re told by members of our own community through an authentic lens that makes me feel represented and liberated. I'd also include “Pynk” by Janelle Monáe because she was the first queer artist I saw live, and “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera as this was the first time I’d seen positive LGBTQ+ representation in a mainstream music video.'

Photograph: courtesy Alexander Popov via Unsplash


Founder of Shanghai Queer Film Festival

‘In the summer after I graduated, I was hanging out a lot with a gay friend from college. He was the one who got me out and about and encouraged me to be brave about who I am. We’d stroll around at night, go skinny dipping and ride around in the back of sports cars, always dancing to “Finally” by CeCe Peniston on repeat. Now, every time I hear the song, it takes me right back to the old days. Also, “Eve Eve” by the late Hong Kong singer Anita Mui is on my list. It’s quite rare to have a queer song in Chinese, and even rarer for it to be an erotic lesbian song.’

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