by Róisín Lyder
Pride is a dramatized version of a series of events that took place in England and Wales during the 1983-5 miner’s strike, which was brutally crushed by Margaret Thatcher and her Tory government as part of their efforts to break the British trade union movement. The movie opens with the song ‘Solidarity Forever’ playing overtop of historical images of the strike and the song punctuates the rest of the film. Indeed solidarity is the real theme of Pride, a film that is a light-hearted meditation on the possibilities created when members of the working class overcome what may seem like insurmountable differences.
At the 1984 gay pride march in London we are introduced to Mark Ashton as he begins taking up a collection for the striking miners. It is at this march that the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) is formed. Ashton persuades the others to join by asking: “Who hates miners? Thatcher, the police, the public and the tabloids. Sound familiar?” The young queer people see the parallels; one suggests that the usual police harassers have been absent from the gay nightclubs lately because they have been too busy harassing the miners. The group sets about fundraising and eventually finds a mining town reluctantly willing to accept the cash. Following the usual practice of thanking solidarity groups, the LGSM are invited to the small Welsh town of Onllwyn where they meet an assorted cast of characters ranging from those who effortlessly lack prejudice, to the mildly uncomfortable, to the outright and staunchly homophobic. A series of predictable yet entertaining moments of bigotry and acceptance ensue.