Pride Movie: 2014 shown on BBC2 over the festive period.
Covering the miner’s strikes of the early eighties, when the whole country stopped with the miners. As they and Thatcher went at it for their rights and their pay. Back in the day when England still had its own industries, hard working men and women who knew their crafts. Before Thatcher systematically killed every single industry we had, leaving us dependant on foreign exports. I remember these days, but only just with being born in 1982.
Pride film shows fighting on two fronts, not just the miners trying to survive. With no money, dependant on the donations of others. As well as the LGBTQ+ people of the country. Back in the time when they were considered a plague on humanity, filthy, disgusting perverts. Thankfully now only a small part of society thinks this way. We see Mark, leader of a small band of LGBTQ+ plus people. Getting ready for Pride, watching the news of the miner’s strikes on the TV before he leaves. Rushing off to get some buckets. What for? You will see.
His neighbours (some of) hate him for what he is, shouting that they have called the police over his disgusting parties. I have to admit I love his retorts here. “Oh no need to do that, just knock on the door. We will let you in!” Followed up when the man threatens they will send the police round with a very camp ‘Oh I hope so!’. There is some very fine writing here in the banter between them all.
Joe is an ordinary guy, still in the closet. From a church background, who comes to pride. Nervous when he is surrounded by so many gay's when mark and his friends turn up. Mark wanting to pass out the buckets and start collecting for the miners. Joe moves to one side, until a woman walks by with her child making nasty comments about pride. So he goes back into the parade, helping collect money with the group. He lies to his family about where he is and ends up with the group at a big gay party.
Mark wants to carry on collecting for the miners, when very few of the others do. He ends up with a few core friends working out of a gay bookshop run by two friends of his (Over the top Jonathan and his Welsh partner Gethin). Creating LGSM, Lesbian's and Gay’s support the miners. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds, as most miners are refusing the help because of what they are. Until we find one tiny little town in the middle of Wales, who think that the L stands for London and accept the help.
Onllwyn sends one of their best to collect the money and talk to the group. He has no trouble with who they are after the initial shock, it is just some of inhabitants of the small welsh town that do. Even more so when LGSM turn up on their doorstep to help out, deliver aid and money. Leading onto huge amounts of drama and action between both parties. As the miners struggle to accept the gays and the gays just try to exist and do what they think is right. As Joe (now nicknamed Bromley as that is where he is from) hides everything from his parents. When they find out he is kept in the house, not allowed to be who he really is.
If you have Pride, this film has everything for you. The struggle, gay bashing, HIV, Aids and above all love. Survival against all the hate thrown against them. This area of our history is not something I know much about, I remember little bits growing up. It stirred up a huge discussion between myself and other LGBTQ+ friends to when the shift actually happened in society to say that gay is okay. They say it was 90’s, however I know people who were being gay bashed well into the 2000’s at college. For me, in my area it is only the last ten years things have changed. Mostly the last five years since I started to come out that I can see in public how much society has improved.
There was a time in the early 2000’s I worked in a clothes shop, and this one guy came in every single week to buy clothes for ‘his sister’ who was ‘the same size’ as him. He always tried on the clothes to see if they would ‘fit her’. Every other assistant in the shop felt it disgusting and refused to serve him. So I do, every single week. I started to get very good at sizing men into women’s clothes. After that more of his friends came in, for their ‘sisters’. Always asking for my help. Once another assistant turned around to me and said you know what they are don’t you? While he was in the changing room. I said yeah, and you think I care? They spend a lot of money, they are nice people. What the ** do I care if they like wearing women’s clothes?! After she was gone, he gave me a big hug. I always thought it was sad that they had to hide away.
Now it’s almost fashionable to go in a gay bar of an evening. Same-sex couples holding hands get no more looks than a straight couple would. I look at a guy in heels and just think how is he better at walking than I am! Sometimes I think the newer generation doesn’t understand how much struggling they have missed. Taking for granted that no one cares who they are. Which is good in one way, but sad for those of us who have lived through it. As well as those older than me who have seen even worse. Which is why I think films like this are so important, trying to stop us from repeating the mistakes of our past. Unlike the Stonewall movie, this production shows gays in a good light. Covering dark subjects, yet still leaving you with a very feel good ending. Deep, rich characters which leave you wanting more.
After avoiding this movie thinking it couldn’t possibly be worth the hype, I have to say I was sadly wrong. I wish I had seen it when it first came out.
Change happens a little bit every single day, true equality is coming. However haters try to stop it, bring the world back to a darker, sadder place. We will have true equality in the next few years. Why? Because we won’t allow anything else. We have come too far, lost too much to ever stop now. Keep strong, don’t give into fear and hate. We will win this war.
10/10 without hesitation.
Sarah Beth James