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Putting socialism back in LGBT politics
Pat Chadwick, York University Students' Union LGBTQ Officer
Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) is once again on the frontline of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) politics.
After 30 years of obscurity, the group was brought to a mass audience last year. Its efforts to assist the miners in their 1984-5 strike against the Thatcher government were the subject of cinema hit "Pride".
At the time, homophobia and anti-worker vitriol went hand in glove for the government. Pro-capitalist publications like the Sun covered LGSM's involvement in the strike by spitting headlines like "Perverts support the pits".
Despite hostility, the London branch alone managed to raise the equivalent of £50,000 in today's money. In fact, they did this partly by shrewdly capitalising on the negative headlines with a sell-out "Pits and Perverts" rave.
The film's themes of working class solidarity and resistance have proved incredibly popular with teary-eyed audiences everywhere. It led to a re-founding of LGSM by bringing together thirty or so of the 'original cast' of activists.
Its members make no bones about their socialist politics, unlike their big-screen counterparts.
Two speakers recently opened the National Union of Students LGBT conference. They gave speeches that prepared the ground for the success of a Socialist Students motion shortly afterwards.
At a recent event in York, another LGSM speaker endorsed the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to a lecture hall of LGBT locals.
And working with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), LGSM has bolstered public support for the Kellingley and Hatfield pits facing imminent closure.
The group is set to lead several pride marches this summer, including London. The 1985 march was led by the NUM out of gratitude for LGSM's work, but these days has become a sickening pro-business festival. LGSM wants the union contingents back at the front with them and the Tredegar Miners' Band.
The popularity of LGSM is a growing counterweight to the dominance of corporate interests in LGBT politics. Accounts firm PwC has invited the group to address a corporate gala later this year. This is the same company which confiscated and never returned the NUM's strike fund in 1984! Activists' first thought is to attend and demand immediate reimbursement.
The Socialist Party welcomes LGSM's work in demonstrating the importance and popularity of a socialist approach to LGBT politics. We look forward to continuing work with them in the fight to end class, gender and sexual oppression.
In The Socialist 15 April 2015:
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