“There’s a new film about gays and unions. Looks like the sort of thing you might like.” – My Mum
Indeed there’s been very few films about gays and unions that I haven’t liked. Perhaps because there are very few films about gays and unions. But truly I think that Pride has very firmly knocked ‘Loving Annabelle’ off the top spot for my favourite LGBT film.
Pride is special for very many reasons. This sunny, dynamic Brit flick will make you laugh, cry and leave the cinema with ‘There’s Power in the Union’ as an ear-worm. Over-whelmingly it will make you feel hopeful – particularly in the face of the austerity we have felt in the last few years. It will make you proud.
Proud of our history
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
– Marcus Garvey
In interviews about his role in the film, Bill Nighy who plays the quiet closeted Cliff, a miner living in Dulais Valley, says that neither he nor any of his friends about at the time had heard of the ‘Pits and Perverts’ activism, even though the mining strikes were on the telly every day (see here for more). LGBT history is so often completely erased. As young queers growing up today in a generation of relative tolerance, acceptance, and indeed liberation, it is sometimes hard to know how our community grew. We have very little idea of who to thank for the rights we have today, or how they were fought for. We owe a huge amount to people like the real-life members of ‘Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners’ and we cannot be allowed to forget it.
Proud of our community
Pride gives a voice to both the miners and the queers who worked so hard to resist Thatcher and her governments erosion of their respective communities. They united around a common cause: being hated by Thatcher, the police, the public, and the tabloid press. Full of youth and inspiration the group are lead by the charismatic Mark Ashton to raise money to support the small Welsh mining village. They expected nothing in return. Simply a show of solidarity for people facing similar demonisation as them. However, through this selfless act of support gays and lesbians achieved the first in what would be a long line of gains: gay rights enshrined in the Labour Party constitution with a massive backing from the National Union of Mineworkers.
The real life people (see their stories here) were characterised beautifully, and the plot line multi-faceted. Alongside the main theme there are stories of unrequited love, feminism, familial ostracism, pink families, coming-out, small town homophobia, and the inequality in the age of consent. Each acknowledged but not laboured so as to take away from the main struggle. However, there was a second, less prominent storyline which had to be represented given the films timing and the real-life members of LGSM – AIDS. The film portrays brilliantly how AIDS was a total fear-mongering, moral panic at the time on the one-hand, whilst also be a shocking and awful reality for some on the other.
This film is full of hope. It will leave you proud to be queer, proud of our history, and proud of all those queers who went before us making our lives just a little bit easier. You will leave up-lifted, fired-up, and wanting to do your bit for the rest of the fight against discrimination that we still face every day. Confident to throw two fingers up to Tory austerity measures. And remember you have a while to plan, so
What will you do for this LGBT History Month?
We saw Pride at the wonderful Cameo Cinema Edinburgh @CameoCinema. Where will you see it? Support Independent Cinema!