Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners to ‘wind down’ following Pride revival
A year after being revitalised by the launch of drama ‘Pride’, Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners is to wind down campaigning and stop marching in Pride parades.
Matthew Warchus film Pride last year focussed on the story of LGSM – an LGBT group which was set up in support of striking British miners, during the 1984–1985 miners strike.
The group had reformed following the film’s release, with surviving members of the original LGSM as well as a number of new members marching at Pride in London and across the country, as well as challenging government austerity.
However, it was announced this week that LGSM will wind down its campaigning activities.
A statement said: “The re-formed Lesbians and Gay Men Support the Miners (LGSM) decided on 9 October 2015 that we would wind down as a current campaigning force and focus on the task of keeping alive the legacy of our work in 1984-85 and putting together a digital historical archive of documents, photos, personal stories, videos, audio recordings and all other written material connected to the strike.
“A full archive of our work in 1984-85 and more recently will be made available to all on the LGSM website (lgsm.org) in the coming months.
“We took this decision with enormous pride at the role we have played in inspiring a new layer of activists and supporters to remember the strike, to keep the flame burning and to embrace the spirit of solidarity embodied by LGSM’s work.
“We are certain that the many young (and old!) people that have been encouraged by our work will play a full part in LGBT, socialist and labour movement campaigns and in the wider struggle to create a better society.
“LGSM members will carry on taking the fight to the Tories and the rich elite in any way we can in a range of campaigns, trade unions, parties and other movements.
“However, we felt that it would be wrong for future campaigning work to be channelled through LGSM.”
The group explained: “LGSM was formed in 1984 as a specific campaign around the issue of LGBT support for the mining communities and re-formed to respond to the publicity and interest in our story when Pride was released.
“We are not a wider campaign with a united view on other issues and certainly not a party with its own programme.”
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“Whilst the welcome we have been given over the last year has been moving, inspirational, and humbling, we feel that it would be wrong to campaign day-to-day on the basis of our youthful activity.
“We have no intention of becoming a LGBT version of the British Legion! To join Pride marches every year under a banner of a historical strike would soon start to look quite strange.
“We will restrict our presence to campaigns and events with a direct historical or cultural link to the strike that prompted our formation in 1984 – such as the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and the Durham Miners’ Gala.
“Apart from these, we are focused very much on the present and the future and want to be members of other on-going present day campaigns.”
The group continued: “We would like to thank those younger people who joined our numbers during 2014/15 – most of whom were not even born when the 1984/5 strike took place.
“We also wish to thank our wider supporter network – you have all been truly marvellous over the last year. You have assisted us in our work in many ways, from organising meetings, or screenings of Pride and Still the Enemy Within.
“You have invited us to take part in, and often lead, so many Pride events around the country. The response we received at so many of these will stay in our collective memory forever and you know that LGSM never forget our friends!”