Play Hard

Celebrate Pride’s 50th Anniversary with our top culture picks

Written by High Life North
Published 26.06.2020

By Christopher Kingston

June 28 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride traditions, celebrating the success of the Stonewall Riots the year before. We’ve rounded up our favourite books and films to celebrate and learn about this incredible tradition and the community it empowers.

Paris is Burning – 1990 

Long before RuPaul’s Drag Race, Paris is Burning is a documentary shot during the late 1980s about the New York drag ball culture and features interviews with the drag queens of the time. The film paints a vivid picture of what it was like to be black, latinX or queer at the height of the AIDS crisis   

Pride – 2014 

A true story about a group of LGBT activists that form a coalition with Welsh miners. Set in the summer of 1984 in a Margaret Thatcher-era UK, it’s an extraordinary story of two seemingly alien communities who form a surprising and ultimately triumphant partnership. An all-star British cast including Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine makes it a definite must-watch.   

Moonlight – 2016 

Famous for winning the Oscar for Best Picture, Moonlight follows Chiron (Mahershala Ali) a young man coming of age in a rough part of Miami, who must grapple with his sexual identity amid his relationship with his addict mother (played by Naomie Harris). Chiron longs to break free as he struggles to find his place in the world – a fantastic exploration of identity and the choices we make in deciding who we’re meant to be.  

A Fantastic Woman – 2017  

Marina is a transgender nightclub singer. When her boyfriend dies, she faces a battle to have her role in his life recognized by his ex-wife and her kids. The film is the winner of the 2018 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and played an important role in accelerating the trans rights movement in Chile.

God’s Own Country – 2017

A British indie that flew under the radar back in 2017, this is the story of Johnny, an alcoholic farmhand who meets and begins to fall for Jorge. Despite its gritty setting, this is a beautiful film about learning to love yourself as well as another as their relationship blossoms.


Eat, Gay, Love by Calum McSwiggon 

In the spring of 2012, Calum finds himself single again after his relationship of six years comes to an end. He leaves his hometown and embarks on a journey around the world to meet LGBTQ+ people from all walks of life. A travel memoir with a difference, Eat, Gay, Love is a celebration of the power of community and a personal tribute to the extraordinary lives of LGBT+ people everywhere in the world.

Rainbow Milk – Paul Mendez 

Published earlier this year, this debut novel explores what it means to be young, black and gay in 1950s Briton to the present day. A bold exploration of race, sexuality, religion and class, Rainbow Milk is a brilliant intersectional coming-of-age tale.

The Black Flamingo – Dean Attia 

This is not about being ready, it’s not even about being fierce, or fearless, it’s about being free. A coming of age story which highlights the importance and freedom of drag and journeys the struggles and triumphs of intersectional identity.

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson 

First published in 1985, this remains a classic to this day. Funny and nuanced, it deals with the struggles of growing up as a lesbian in an English Pentecostal community which is constantly trying to force you to be something you’re not.

You might be interested in...

Published 26.06.2020

Friday Interview: Karen Read on town planning and navigating the pandemic

High Life North
Published 26.06.2020

Lust list | 26 June 2020

High Life North
Published 26.06.2020

What is a Social Enterprise?

High Life North
Other stories by High Life North
Bistro Greggs Fenwick Newcastle Pop Up Fine Dining Restaurant

Bistro Greggs launches at Fenwick Newcastle

High Life North
Three Mile Gosforth

Christmas is coming at Three Mile, Gosforth. Here are the dates for your diary

High Life North
Pizza Dough Co at Three Mile in Gosforth

Pizza Dough Co at Three Mile in Gosforth is the family-friendly neighbourhood eatery with a new menu to check out

High Life North
Derwent Manor Hotel

A Christmas market, baking with elves and NYE in a Tipi – the festive events at Derwent Manor Hotel this 2023

High Life North
Rest at the Nest County Durham Staycation Lodges

Rest at the Nest – a perfect couple’s staycation in County Durham

High Life North

A month in the life of our editor – September

High Life North