Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gethin Roberts and Jonathan Blake

Gethin Roberts is a man we talked to after watching a movie called “Pride”. Pride is the movie about a group of gays and lesbians who supported the miners during the miner strike in 1984. They called their group LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners). They gathered money to help miners who had lost their jobs and didn’t make money for food. Gethin Roberts was one of the founding members of LGSM together with his friends from the gay community. They gathered money by standing with buckets in front of gay nightclubs and pubs. They also stood in front of the bookshop known as “Gays the word”. “Gays the word” worked as the LGSM’s headquarters.

We also skyped with Jonathan Blake, another founding member of LGSM. That was very interesting, as he had many funny stories from his time with LGSM and other stories from his younger days.

We asked questions about Gethin's involvement with LGSM and the miners strike, and Gethin answered them all. His answers were very interesting. Some of the questions and answers were:

Q: What do you think is the biggest accomplishment LGSM has managed to do the last 20 years?
A-Lgsm was set up for one specific purpose - to support a mining community during the strike that started in march 1984 - we raised funds till the end of the strike and for about 12 months after . After that Lgsm was wound up and we all focus of turkey .

Q: After the mining strike ended, did many people know of the great work you did, or was it only familiar in the gay community and mining community?After the mining strike ended, did many people know of the great work you did, or was it only familiar in the gay community and mining community?
A: I think our story was really only known by people who had been involved - though we produced a video in 1985 ( all out dancing in Dulais - you can find it on youtube )There were a few references in books and magazines but the story was not really well known or documented.. When Stephen first heard the story in the early 1990's he thought it must be an urban myth ! He didn't really believe miners had ever come on a gay pride march.
Q: How different do you think the miners' situation would have been if LGSM hadn't economically supported them during the strike?
A: LGSM was just one of many hundreds of group - trade unions, churches, community groups etc who raised money for mining communities . This funding was the only reason the miners were able to stay out on strike for 12 months - the government had confiscated the miners union strike funds and changed the law to prevent their wives and children from accessing social benefit payments - so for a long period whole communities relied on supporters like LGSM to feed them.

It was interesting collaborating with Gethin and Jonathan, and we learned a lot about the LGSM and their work to financially supporting the miners. We learned a lot about both the miner strike and the LGSM when asking questions to Gethin and Jonathan. Many things that our teacher wouldn’t know.

This post is written by Trygve.

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