The 30th anniversary of the 1984/85 miners’ strike has reconnected millions of us who took part in that great struggle. And it is inspiring younger people to fight back today.
For me, this is crystallised through the impact of the hit film Pride. I and other former members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) have spoken at screenings about the film’s true story.
Responses have been passionate. Students have asked how we fight oppression today while one teenager took the lesson that “we need more unity in the world”.
He is right—and so LGSM has reformed to issue a radical invitation to the entire left. We want to create, with you, a huge political contingent of trade unionists, students and supporters at this year’s Pride march on 27 June in London. All are welcome, regardless of sexuality.
LGSM will lead the contingent with a replica of its original banner, alongside miners currently facing closure at Kellingley in Yorkshire. We will be calling for solidarity against cuts, oppression and hate crime.
LGSM founder member Mike said, “The Pride committee have helped pay to get a marching band up from South Wales. It’s a commemoration of Pride 85, the year when the march was led by LGSM, a band and miners’ union banners.
“This year is going to be even bigger. It will be a blast!”
Commercialisation has dominated the Pride march over recent decades—but sexual liberation and solidarity are vital for everyone. Thankfully, the LGBT movement now includes bisexual, transgender and intersex people. To succeed it must involve all who oppose homophobia.
Reggie, also from the original LGSM group, said, “The Pride committee really welcomed our idea. The TUC is a major sponsor.
“The 2015 theme is ‘Heroes’ and our initiative can help make Pride much more political. Anyone can sign up via the Facebook event ‘Pride in London’.”
LGSM also has new recruits. Ida had seen the Pride film and spotted us in our T-shirts in a pub. She said, “We got talking about benefit cuts, unemployment and zero hours contracts. LGBT people are not separate, we are part of working class struggle.
“I hope to get my Unite union branch banner to the march.”
Unison member Denis found us through Facebook and is now helping LGSM use social media to spread our message of unity.
“The film Pride was a revelation to me,” he said. “I’m active in Unite Against Fascism and Stand Up To Ukip, and I like the idea that people can reach out unconditionally to others facing injustice. An injury to one is an injury to all, whether it’s racism, job cuts or eviction.
“We may have gay marriage but we still have violent homophobia. We have to stand up together for what is right.”