human compassion and a prevalent message

I just finished watching the movie Pride and… can I just say; BLESS. Oh, bless this film. I might have become quite emotional at the end. Scratch that, very emotional.

ANYWAY, the film raised questions as well as answered them. Why was LGSM started? Why did gay and lesbian activists decide to help the miners when the relationship between these groups weren’t all too great? Well, I guess one ill-treated group can find a community in another ill-treated group. And maybe they can support each other eventually. Because of human compassion, I guess. That was how it evolved in this case. Many miners decided to return the favor by supporting gay and lesbian rights. The film tells us a bill was passed in favor the Labor Party supporting LGBT equality rights, partly because of great support from the National Union of Mineworkers.

Also, since the film was based on true events, they featured characters based on real people; Sian James, Jonathan Blake and Mark Ashton were singled out. While Sian James and Jonathan Blake are still alive today, it was revealed that Mark Ashton died of AIDS at the age of 26. The eighties were a tough period for gay men. Public opinion of them sunk since people were afraid of being infected by merely interacting with them. Thousands of men died and it is still a prevalent fear to this day. Jonathan Blake was the second man in the UK diagnosed with this illness and is alive today at the age of 65.

The miners lost eventually. Around a year after the strike started it stopped and the miners went back to work.¬† Thatcher was still Prime Minister and the distaste for her hadn’t diminished in any way. The gay and lesbian activists continued fighting, but the focus went on the rights they themselves needed. The world went back to normal. There was a definite change, however, and the two communities had each other’s backs.

Wow. What do I have to say except… wow. A sad and tough film to watch yet sprinkled with humor and heart and a prevalent message; that support and community is the most important and it can break down prejudice. That’s what the film is trying to tell us and I think it succeeded.

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coal mines and gay activists

So we’re watching a movie in half an hour, the movie in question being Pride. I’m excited. It’s actually been on my to-watch list for a few months now and I’m always interested in movies featuring LGBT characters (though I think this one comprises of the L and the G only).

For anyone unaware of the plot; U.K gay activists support miners during the National Union of Mineworkers’ strike in 1984. Basically.

The strike came to fruition during Margaret Thatcher’s regime. Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Thatcher was a controversial figure. Known as the Iron Lady for her leadership style and unyielding politics, she garnered intense distaste among some groups in society, especially the working class. The distaste grew and the triggering reason among the miners was when the government announced their intention to close down 20 coal mines and eventually closing down 70 pits. March of 1984, mass walk-outs and strikes occured following this disclosure and the strike lasted for a year. It’s been referred to as “the most bitter industrial dispute in British history”.

During the strike, the miners received support from the alliance LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners). They raised money for the strikers’ families and in return many mining groups participated and supported gay pride events. And thirty years after the strike began, a film was released depicting these events.

SOURCES

1984: The beginning of the end for British coal 

Margaret Thatcher: Britain’s Iron Lady