“Pride” tells an inspirational and true gay story you’ve never heard before

on

In 1984, the National Union of Mineworkers went on strike in the UK, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sequestered all funds being sent toward the miners so that it was pretty much impossible for them to receive donations or any kind of sorely needed aid. This strongly affected the British people, especially in smaller mining regions, who were not only barely able to survive without work or pay, but made them targets of threats and disgust from the government, policemen and the general population. The miners were on the receiving end of the very same hatred spewed at gays and lesbians on a regular basis.

That same year, a group of gay men and lesbians decided to form a faction to directly help raise money and awareness for miners, should they choose to accept it from them. Calling themselves the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners), the tiny organization took to the Pride parade with buckets for spare change, promising to send all donations directly to miners in need. This turned into a daily commitment, standing outside London’s gay bookstore, hoping to find help from anyone who walked past and would offer up a quarter instead of an insult.

This is how the award-winning film Pride begins. It’s almost hard to believe it’s a true story because so little of us have heard about it before. But writer Stephen Beresford was fascinated by the LGSM when he first learned of the forgotten group, and he was able to track down a short video documenting their successes on YouTube, called “All Out! Dancing in Dulais.”

From the credits in the video, Stephen was able to track down the real people who were part of LGSN and write Pride, which is the story of how a small mining community in Wales came to know a group of gays and lesbians from London, and the similar struggles they faced at the time. Actress Faye Marsay plays the LGSN’s first lesbian member, Steph, in Pride, who is based on a real person, as all of the other characters are. A blunt punk rock red-head with a cigarette addiction and penchant for swearing, Steph is quick to remind the men of the group that there is a lesbian contingent when they forget about her presence. Often the comic relief in some of the tenser situations or discussions, Faye plays Steph as abrasive but likable.

The real Stephsteph
“I actually met her for the first time at the UK premiere, so 15 minutes before she got to see me pretending to be her,” Faye said. “So I met her and it was really quite emotional and I think she was was incredibly pleased with how it turned out. And of course they got to have a reunion with each other after all these years, you know 30 years. So it was very special.”

Faye said she wasn’t sure why Steph wasn’t able to come on set to help with her character, but she praised Stephen’s writing as needing no additional information.

“I got sent the script by my agent and I remember the email saying, ‘You’re gonna love this one,'” Faye said. “And I thought ‘OK, that’s interesting!” So I started reading it and I think within two pages, I was like ‘Please God, let me be in this film. I have to be in this film.’ Because Steven is—it was the best script I ever—and I’m very new to this business. It’s my first film, and so you know I can’t say I’ve read an awful lot of film scripts, but it’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read in my life.”

Pride is truly well-written with a great balance of education, entertainment, empathy and emotional growth in each of its characters. The homophobic characters aren’t penned as evil, heartless human beings; instead, they are given the opportunity to work their prejudices out with the help of the LGSM members who are working so hard on their behalf’s and only asking to be allowed to do so. The gay characters themselves aren’t all perfect and saintly, either. Everyone is written as human, with the capacities to learn and love and grow together, unless they refuse to do so. (Luckily, it seems that both in the film and in real life, that number was very few.)

pride3

“Once you see the film you realize how important it was for British history and gay rights and human rights in general, what these people did,” Faye said. “But I’m telling you nobody in our country or worldwide knows what those people did and how brave they were and that’s what’s absolutely fascinating about this. And in a way it kind of, it’s a shame they’ve not been honored by now but luckily we’ve been given the opportunity to honor their achievements and their bravery and their belief in human beings.”

Steph is not the only lesbian member of LGSM, but the two other prominent females in the film (a couple) decide to split off and create their own women’s group, which also happened in real life.

“Steph is more comfortable around the boys and they became her kind of surrogate family, if you like,” Faye said. “I think the issue is about freedom of speech and freedom of pursing whatever cause you want to. Even though I don’t necessarily agree there needed to be a women’s separation or whatever, I think they got on just fine if they would have stayed in LGSM but I also think everyone has the right to pursue whatever cause they feel is worth fighting for. So that was never really a big issue—I didn’t think there was ever an issue. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with those girls breaking off. They just believe in what they believed in and this was a film about human rights and human beings and that means we support everyone, no matter who you are or what you think and what you do if it’s a cause worthwhile for humanity and those ladies felt that they needed a group that represented females and the lesbian community, then crack on, you know? That’s my view.”

More you may like