Public area - News, events, announcments - Topic started by Michael Harkin - April 27 2015, 12:00 pm

Title: PRIDE – the story of LGSM and the miners strike of HIV and of support
Post by: Michael Harkin on April 27 2015, 12:00 pm
On Saturday night I settled down on my couch with a bottle of shiraz and watched the movie  “PRIDE” on DVD.
The movie depicts a group of young LGBT activists in London in 1984, its starts with a London Pride march that is hassled by onlookers who verbally and physically abuse the marchers.
That was the general scene of a pride march in the 1980’s.
It was noticed that there was not much of a Police presence during this pride march, the reason being that the Police were being deployed to coal mining communities where the largest land battles on British soil since the battle of Culloden in 1746 were taking place between miners and the police.
A fledgling LGBT group began collecting money for striking miners who were out of funds after Margaret Thatcher and her Tory Government decided along with the National Coal Board announcement  that due to reduce government subsidies to the mines they intended to close 20 coal mines, with a loss of 20,000 jobs, and many communities in the North of England as well as Scotland and Wales would lose their primary source of employment.
Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) was an alliance of lesbians and gay men who came together to support the striking British miners during the year-long UK miners strike of 1984–1985.
There were literally starving miners families who were relying on food and money donations to keep them alive. There were no food banks like there are now in the UK. By 1985 there were eleven LGSM groups throughout the UK. The London group alone raised £11,000.
Arthur Scargill  (Leader of the National Union Of Mineworkers – NUM ) said that the government had a long-term strategy to close over 70 pits. A strike was called on 12 March 1984.
The Thatcher government had sequestered the funds of the NUM, which meant that it was pointless for supporters to send donations to the national union. Instead, support groups throughout the UK were encouraged to "twin" directly with the various mining communities in England, Scotland or Wales. The Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners organisation was formed by Mark Ashton and his friend  Mike Jackson, after the two men collected donations for the miners at the 1984 Lesbian and Gay Pride march in London. The London LGSM group, which met and fund-raised in numerous locations including the Gay's the Word bookshop (the shop served as London group headquarters and hosted their regular meetings),twinned with the Neath, Dulais  and Swansea Valleys Miners Support Group. The group prioritised aid to pits in South Wales, as they believed that NUM President Arthur Scargill was unfairly distributing donations to the more militant pits in Kent and Yorkshire.
LGSM organised a fundraising event called  "Pits and Perverts" – a  benefit concert that the group held at the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town, London on 10 December 1984, headlined by Bronski Beat whose lead singer was Jimmy Somerville.
To this day the Miners march alongside their LGBT allies at Pride marches throughout the UK.
You might ask why I am posting about a movie ?  Where is the HIV element?
Well my answer to those questions is watch the movie and learn about activism and about people like Mark Ashton who lost his fight with HIV in 1987 and Jonathan Blake who was the second person to be diagnosed with Aids in the UK and is here to tell us his story. Pride is the story of not just the miners strike and bonding friendships, its about loss and life and supporting  each other.

Title: Re: PRIDE – the story of LGSM and the miners strike of HIV and of support
Post by: Silvia Petretti on April 27 2015, 01:16 pm
Thanks Michael,

this is a great summary.

I loved the film too.