The Straightwashing of Pride

18th January 2015


Ben Golightly, Swansea Socialist Party

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Pride (2014) at the cinema last year. The film dramatises the solidarity between LGBT and mining communities during the 1984-85 miners' strike.

However, like many people, I was frustrated by the news that the US release hid all reference to sexuality on the packaging. It referred to "Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners" only as "activists" and removed the group's banner from the promotional image.

Too often we are fed the cynical idea of the "pink pound" by lobbying groups like the (misnamed!) Stonewall: that LGBT liberation can be advertised by companies and bought by consumers.

Socialists know that the market only cares about profits. This time US distributors saw more profit in "straightwashing" an excellent film, blaming "an unfortunate commercial reality".

Liberation can't be left passively in the hands of big business. Pride demonstrated how powerful the workers' movement can be when it unites against oppression, with the National Union of Mineworkers playing a key part in the fight for LGBT rights.

The Socialist Party raises the need to rebuild these militant traditions and build a workers' movement united against the prejudices of today's society, linking up with oppressed groups in struggle.

Pride was reviewed in the Socialist, 17 September 2014
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