Socialist Worker

New film Pride tells an extraordinary story of solidarity in struggle

Nicola Field, who was part of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, says a new film shows how struggle forged unity and helped break down prejudice

Issue No. 2417

new film Pride tells the story of solidarity between two unexpected groups

New film Pride tells the story of solidarity between two unexpected groups


Pride is billed as a romantic comedy, but it’s not a romance between individuals.

It tells the extraordinary true story of love and solidarity between two unlikely communities that precipitated a transformation in labour history. 

One is a South Wales mining village. The other is a bunch of LGBT activists from London who go “all out” to support the strike.

In 1984 Margaret Thatcher was on the warpath to smash the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). 

The same Margaret Thatcher was exploiting the AIDS pandemic to stir up homophobia and demonise an increasingly confident gay movement. 

But both groups fought back hard.  Miners voted with their feet walking out on indefinite strike, polarising Britain. LGBT people were defiant, defending themselves against homophobic media attacks, street violence and vicious discrimination.

The police were their longtime enemy due to entrapment and harassment.

A group of socialist lesbians and gays in London saw that the police were now setting their brutal sights on the miners. 

They overcame personality clashes and united in determination to form Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM). The group began organising solidarity collections in London’s gay pubs and clubs.  

In recreating the characters, the film compellingly depicts what happened next.

Mountains

When the NUM leadership won’t respond to their request to adopt a village, the group decide to hand over the money directly. Soon they’re speeding towards the sheep-scattered mountains of South Wales in a borrowed minibus.

With deft humour, Pride depicts the first tentative meetings between LGBT activists and miners.  

Tremulous speeches and nervous handshakes are exchanged—then, with nothing to lose, the touchpaper is suddenly lit.  

Expect thrills, spills, disco dancing, songs, picketing and snogging—and a cataclysmic finale to melt the heart of the most hardened cynic.

Top British actors Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and Paddy Considine lead the outstanding cast in this jubilant, inspiring film.  

Our rulers tell us that homophobia will take generations to fade, while they bring in legal changes.

But this film shows that in the crucible of class struggle, when unity is necessary, prejudice can disappear in the twinkling of an eye.  

I was part of LGSM and initially suspicious of this mainstream film about it. But writer Stephen Beresford tracked down key members of LGSM and made sure the story and period details were authentic. 

Go and see Pride and enjoy it. Just don’t ask which character is supposed to represent me.

The film doesn’t explain why the strike lost, but the recently released Still The Enemy Within does. Taken together, these marvellous films deepen our understanding of a crucial moment in history.

Pride, directed by Matthew Warchus. Calamity Films. Out on general release 12 September

 


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