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A look at 40 years of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners and its iconic Pits and Perverts concert

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Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), a group founded in 1984 in direct opposition to Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government, was comprised of a plethora of LGBTQ+ folk who worked in solidarity with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strike.

From 1984 to 1985 in the UK, the NUM staged its year-long strike in an attempt to prevent the closure of coal mines throughout the country.

The main antagonistic force facing the organisation throughout its strike was then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Tory government.

At the time, Thatcher was dedicated to reducing the amount of power that trade unions held. While the connection between queer identity and trade unions might seem strange, LGSM co-founder Mike Jackson reported that “the strike was headline news throughout the year dividing Britain in two: pro- or anti-strikers.“The miner’s union was asking for solidarity support from members of all other unions, but beyond that, support from the public itself,” Jackson continued. “Many LGBT+ trade union activists were already supporting the miners but not overtly as LGBT+ individuals.”In 1984, Johnson joined forces with the late Mark Ashton while the two were working as volunteers for the London Gay Switchboard. “(Ashton) suggested that the two of us collect for the striking miners on the forthcoming 1984 Pride march,” Jackson explained. “We were both encouraged by the overwhelming support we got both in terms of donations and the strength of feeling about Thatcher and her Tory government.” While Jackson and Ashton only raised £150 at London Pride in 1984, their early success prompted a total of 11 LGSM groups to form before the strike was over.

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