Lesbians Against Pit Closures

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Lesbians Against Pit Closures (LAPC) were an alliance of lesbian women who came together to support the National Union of Mineworkers and various mining communities during the UK miners strike of 1984–1985. They were formed after a schism in the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) movement, in November 1984.[1] Members of the organisation were involved in picket line protests against the delivery of coal to the factories by strikebreakers.[2]

History[edit]

We do regular collections around lesbian pubs and clubs [...] we do collections outside of supermarkets, as well, to try and involve other people in what we're doing, as well as the normal activities in colleges and workplaces that other people are involved in as well.

– LAPC activist, speaking for All Out! Dancing in Dulais (produced by LGSM)[2]

LAPC originated when a number of LGSM members decided they needed a women-only space for lesbians, due to issues concerning sexism, misogyny and lesbophobia among males in the LGSM movement. Ray Goodspeed, an LGSM member, says that: "The men in the meetings were generally like men in most meetings," and according to founders of LAPC, when the issues of a lesbian-only organisation were discussed in LGSM, "they [LGSM members] often snorted with derision". LAPC was also formed as a group to give women a voice,[3] as with Women Against Pit Closures, to help bring feminist ideas into a working men's sphere, such as a miners' institute.[4] Some women said they were intimidated by the gay men who made up the bulk of LGSM membership.[5]

The alliances which the campaign forged between LGBT and labour groups also proved to be an important turning point in the progression of LGBT issues in the United Kingdom. Miners' labour groups began to support and endorse and participate in various LGBT pride events throughout the UK; at the 1985 Labour Party conference in Bournemouth, a resolution committing the party to support LGBT equality rights passed for the first time due to block voting support from the National Union of Mineworkers; and miners' groups were among the most outspoken allies of the LGBT community in the 1988 campaign against Section 28.[6]

Activities and fundraising[edit]

LAPC used similar fundraising tactics to LGSM, such as collecting outside lesbian bars, clubs and other establishments. They also put on women-only benefit concerts and attempted to "involve other people in what [they were] doing," such as collecting outside supermarkets.[3]

With LGSM, they were a part of a short promotional film about the two group's unified work during the Miners' Strike called All Out! Dancing in Dulais.[2]

Depiction in Pride[edit]

The film Pride, which depicted the unity of LGSM and the Onllwyn mining community in Wales,[7] also mentioned the LAPC splinter organisation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ unlockideas (31 January 2014). "Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners in their protests for "Coal not Dole"". Working Class Movement Library and People's History Museum. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Cole, Jeff. "All Out! Dancing in Dulais". Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b Winson, Rebecca (4 February 2015). "What today's activists can learn from the Lesbians Against Pit Closures campaign". New Statesman. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  4. ^ Loach, Loretta (1985). "We'll be right here to the end...and after: Women in the Miners' Strike". In Benyon, Huw (ed.). Digging Deeper: Issues in the Miners' Strike. London: Verso. pp. 169–179. ISBN 0-86091-820-3.
  5. ^ All Out! Dancing in Dulais (film) quoted in 1984. Politics: Lesbians Against Pit Closures sourced at http://www.gayinthe80s.com/2014/09/1984-politics-lesbians-against-pit-closures/ Aug 20/2015
  6. ^ Kelliher, Diarmaid (2014). "Solidarity and Sexuality: Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners 1984–5". History Workshop Journal. Oxford Journals. 77 (1): 240–262. doi:10.1093/hwj/dbt012.
  7. ^ Knegt, Peter (22 April 2014). "Here's The First Image From Matthew Marchus's 'Pride,' Which Will Close Directors' Fortnight at Cannes". Indiewire.

External links[edit]