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MLS Pride screening left us in tears – for all the best reasons

Manchester Labour Students recently hosted a screening of 2014’s Pride, a heartwarming and, in parts, heartbreaking film that documents the 1985 “Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners” (LGSM) movement and their support of the struggle of the miners on strike in the Welsh town of Onllwyn.

It’s a poignant piece tackling the importance of setting aside differences in political movements, as well as showing individual struggles with coming out.

One of the reasons Pride is such a significant film is because, despite it’s time period, many of the issues it covers are still pertinent to today’s world. LGBTQ and workers rights require lots more work before the UK achieves the equality that organisations like LGSM strived for. These issues can fall by the wayside when things start to look more positive.

The introduction of the national minimum wage, the legalisation of gay marriage, and the 2020 plan for the mandatory inclusion of non-heterosexual relationships in “Relationships and Sex Education,” which will be taught in all Primary and Secondary schools across the UK, can obscure the struggle still felt amongst the workers and the LGBTQ community.

There are a significant number of members of the LGBTQ community who suffer from poor mental health due to the abuse they receive for being open about their sexuality or the stress that they can feel by keeping it to themselves and not acknowledging it.

Similar issues affect working-class people. Zero-hour contracts are become increasingly popular, allowing companies to blatantly flout their employees’ rights with few consequences when they do so.

That is why MLS chose to screen Pride. The film demonstrates what can be achieved through solidarity between oppressed communities and how to go about reaching out from one group to another to inspire unity and make positive change in the world.

“When you’re in a battle with an enemy that’s so much bigger, so much stronger than you, to find out you had a friend you never knew existed, well that’s the best feeling in the world.”

Screening this film was important to LGBTQ members of Young Labour. The true story that forms its basis is a very important part of queer history in the UK, and to have it screened at Young Labour events demonstrates that even 30 years on, the labour movement and the LGBTQ movement stand together, hand in hand. The screening was an emotional one, but one that left viewers grateful for the work done by those gone before and excited to keep fighting for LGBTQ and workers rights.

Tags: labour, Manchester, pride, students

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