Honours Assignments: Professional Depth & Inspiration
Something that I find one of the most valuable things in London is the openness. Especially regarding the expression of sexual orientation. Labels do not seem to be that important here, you can be gay, straight, bi, people accept you in the same way. Of course this is not for everyone everywhere in London, it is just what I have experienced so far. Therefore, it was really interesting for me to watch the film Pride at my university, organized by the University Equal Opportunities Committee.
The movie, based on a true story, is about a group of gays and lesbians that want to support the miners in Wales during the strike in the summer of 1984. They set up a support group: ‘The Lesbians and Gay Support the Miners’(LGSM) and raise a lot of money. However, there is some resistance from the people in Wales, they are not used to people expressing their sexual orientation like this. Nevertheless, as the movie follows there exist some really valuable friendships and in the end the miners even parade in front of the gay parade. Watch the trailer here.
After the movie we could ask questions to two people that were there : the script writer, Stephen Beresford, and one of the people that was actually in the LGSM in 1984, Gethin Roberts.
Gethin Roberts in Real life Gethin in the movie Script Writer
played by Andrew Scott Stephen Beresford
Was it difficult or easy to get support to do this movie?
Stephen: “It was difficult at the beginning, I heard the story around twenty years ago and it took me a while to convince people that this was a very good idea for a movie. But after I managed to do that it went very fast. We filmed less than two years and we spent around three weeks filming in Wales, which was very much fun.”
Where the people in Wales really that shocked that there were gay and lesbians in their village?
Stephen: “Of course the movie is a bit dramatized, in reality they had the discussions about bringing gay and lesbian people to their village already before they came. People that were against it could just stay away.”
Gethin: “In the scene in the film where people are drinking and laughing in the community centre and suddenly stop with talking and start leaving when the LGSM group walks in, is in reality different. Rather than many people leaving, everybody began to clap when we walked in.”
What happened after the miners walked in front of the gay pride in 1985?
Gethin: “A lot of people where inspired by it to also make more support groups, the Lesbians and Gays Support the Immigrants for instance. The members from LGSM did a lot of different things to tackle inequality afterwards, such as organizing gay pride marches. However, we have our last event in two weeks, since we feel like we can no longer do things on the back of something we did thirty years ago.”
Why do you think the LGSM support group had such a positive effect in Wales?
Stephen: “Prejudices cannot survive proximity, people are always looking for ways to connect. ”
What would you say is the main message of this movie?
Stephen: “I think the main message is get involved and do something”, than he jokingly continues: “As you can see some of our characters evolve during the movie, so we can also say that our main message is: if you get involved in activism, your clothes will improve, your music taste will improve and you will get laid” .
The movie and the interview really inspired me because it showed that the best thing you can do is to work together rather than against each other. The gays and lesbians helped the miners by raising a lot of money and the miners helped the gays and lesbians by participating in various the gay parade events and supporting them with political issues, for instance they were allies in the 1988 campaign against article 28.
I think Gethin and Stephen really form role models for society by putting words into action and really make a change.