Saw a preview of the new movie Pride – which is co-produced by BBC Films – and came away both tearful and uplifted. I vividly remember people collecting for Lesbians & Gays Support The Miners during the epic strike of 1984/5, but didn’t know at the time that The National Union of Mineworkers had been reluctant to accept the group’s support. The movie tells the story of how the activists ended up taking their donations instead directly to a small mining community in Wales, and how – despite some vigorous opposittion within their ranks – the villagers eventually came around to accepting and welcoming their support.
Most movingly of all, it shows how a large delegation of miners turned up to march in solidarity at the head of the 1985 Pride parade in London. I remember one of the miners’ wives coming onto the main stage in Jubilee Gardens to thank LGSM for the £20,000 they raised, and to say she would be proud for any child of hers to grow up gay. The following year a motion to enshrine LGBT rights in the Labour Party manifesto was passed, largely thanks to a block vote by the NUM.
Critics have complained that the story has been simplified and glamourised, and that the scene where villagers get up en mass in the Miners Hall to sing spontaneously in perfect Welsh Choir harmony is a tad sentimental. But screw that – the cast, acting and cinematography are stellar, and above all the story is a true one. This stuff actually happened.
Not a dry eye in the house – then or now.
Pride has its own excellent website and opens in UK cinemas on September 12th 2014.