HomePoliticsGay politics1985. Lesbian and Gay Pride 85


1985. Lesbian and Gay Pride 85 — 24 Comments

  1. Pingback:1984. ‘Pits and Perverts’ Benefit Concert. | Gay in the 80's: LGBT History

  2. Pingback:1984. Politics: The International Year of Lesbian and Gay (In-)Action | Gay in the 80's: LGBT History

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  4. I just saw the movie gaypride from 2014, my situation now is everything but convenient, i work as an internetwhore, studying something that kills me, having a girlfried which is depressive. my political motivation, my spirit was burried under my circumstances. this movie encouraged me, not to go on with a useless life. maybe the movie did not retell the facts properly, but what i refer to is the message. in times like ours, were institutions like the police and their leaders, the politicianans like our beloved patrick mayhew, magret thatcher e.g. have significantly different rights in comparison to minorities like homosexuals and coloured people. institutional racism and homophobia in britain has tradition as much as in germany, thats a fact. thats why fighting it costs so much power. what did happen after the victory of gay pride in 1985? do i have to fear beeing gay anymore? somehow, yes. institutions, politicians still act xenophobic and homophobic, but they do not have a majority back up in the population anymore, so taking actions against minorities is not as easy as before , to pursue their antihumanistic actions. all you people living in the uk, you know how many times a democratic regime has put their force upon your shoulders: the stephen lawrence murder, the stop and search law, the brixtonriots, the list is endless… conservative forces in our heads and parliaments do not help us become happy people but good servants to their image of order. all you people in the world, go on the streets, demonstrate peacefully for your rights and those who cannot speakt for themselves. a word to all of you that have been fighting for gay and human rights: you are my heros, thank you very much for your courage.

  5. As one of the organisers of the 1985 Pride I can confirm that there was a kind of revolution that year. In 1984, by the beginning of June, nobody had come forward to organise Pride, and the Gay Teenage Group (as it still was, I think) hastily put something together under the banner ‘It’s Not Just a Phase Week’. Despite no publicity, no organisation, little entertainment, and a name that nobody else liked, 1000 people still turned out as they always would, almost as a reflex action.

    In September 1984 on a blazing sunny day, representatives of the Great and Good met in Jubilee Gardens and vowed that Pride must NEVER be allowed to get into the same situation again. Among those there were Gay Switchboard, Capital Gay, Gay Times, Consenting Adults Theatre Group, and the nascent HIV groups. As a result there was a conscious decision to involve the commercial gay scene, and to highlight the fun, ‘carnival’ aspects, in the face of a very grim AIDS backlash. As a result, 10,000 people turned out the next year, and Heaven sponsored Divine serenading the crowd in Jubilee Gardens from a paddle boat in the middle of the river!

    • Thanks for this information and explanation Peter. 84/85 clearly was a turning point in the fortunes of Pride. It’s great to have that extra detail. Colin

    • Yes I remember Divine singing from a boat in the river – Jubilee Gardens was a great location, albeit a bit small – the next year was that awful extension of the Pride march to a park in South London; my feet were well sore by the time we got there!

    • I also remember being on the organising committee with you Peter, the weekly meetings at Gays The Word and the long nights in bars and clubs rattling collection tins. I recall it being great fun and creating a real sense of community for me, working collaboratively with such a diverse group of people afforded me the opportunity to explore and develop my political awareness as a 19 year old gay man. It was a truly wonderful experience, I felt cared for, supported, loved and befriended. It gave me the lasting gift of discovering my personal sense of GAY Pride.

  6. Hi I did the cover of the Jan 1990 Gay Times magazine, which was a photomontage review of the 1980s. I was looking for it in my own archive, but now I don’t have a copy of it… there is a small one on the web ..but very low res. Does anyone have a copy of this please ?
    Thanks Andrew

  7. I watched the film Pride and wondered if I had been there, a distant memory was saying yes. I read your article and YES I was there, I still have the Pride 85 badge! Thank you for rekindling memories for me.

    • I remember going on the 1984 Pride march, which was a sorry affair, and bottling out when the march got to the Students Union in Malet Street. I was a regular attender of the London Pride marches for the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s, and was one of the organisers of Avon Pride (the pride in Bristol area) which was always held the week before London Pride; this is because like London Pride, Avon Pride was founded as a commemoration of Stonewall. One year (1987 or 1988) we hired a double decker coach from Bristol, and it was exhilarating when we pulled into one of the service stations on the M4 to find coaches from Exeter, Gloucester and other places. They were good days.

  8. I was a young gay bloke from Australia and I went along with my London gay and lesbian friends. It was a great day with a fabulous party atmosphere. Not only did The Andrews Sisters and Tom Robinson perform but so did the brilliant Jimmy Somerville. I was quite thrilled to run into him and I recall gabbling some gobsmacked fan stuff at him. Oddly enough, I don’t remember Divine’s performance.

    • Thanks for sharing your memories Steve. Not quite sure why you don’t remember Divine: one very large drag queen screaming ‘Fuck you very much’ from a paddle steamer moored near the Houses of Parliament is one of my most enduring memories of the day! Sadly, the video of her performance seems to have been taken off YouTube. But Pride 85 was a brilliant day nonetheless 🙂

  9. Ah, so my first Pride was ’84. I remember it being the last march that ended at ULU but I’d forgotten the year. It was very sparse and I remember at one point on Shaftesbury Avenue a gap had opened by in the march of about 30m. It was very odd realising that there was my boyfriend and I surrounded by a lot of empty space being stared at by all the pedestrians and gawkers hanging out of upper floor windows. The nude bathing in the ULU pool was fun though.

    ’85 I remember well. I saw Divine although could hardly hear her and was unimpressed. The miners’ lodges with their banners and brass bands were fantastic though and made it really special. I cry with fond memories every time I see that scene recreated in the film Pride now. I think Ken Livingston, as Leader of the GLC who owned Jubilee Gardens did some speechifying.

    Two things my memory fails me on about ’85 though. Was there the first Dance Then March all nighter at the Scala on Pride Eve? Or was that started later in the 80s? Was it also the first appearance of the really buff BSL interpreter on the side of the stage? He went on to become a permanent fixture and more popular than some of the acts. Can’t remember his name though.

    • Thanks for your memories Kevin. In response to your questions; can’t say for certain about the Scala but my guess is that Dance the March was post85. The reason I say that is that they’re not included in the list of organisations thanked by the organisers in an ad that appeared in Capital Gay the following week. I am happy to be corrected on that though.
      As for the buff signer… Have to say he’s not one of my memories but that might simply mean I was in the wrong place at the wrong time!

  10. I was there. I watched the 2014 film ‘ Pride’ which is incredibly moving and stirred up all the hate in me towards Thatcher. But the film exaggerated the presence of the colliery bands. At that time I was playing in a radical London street band, The Big Red Marching Band, I was personally contacted by the group Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners and asked if we could march beside them. I clearly remember arranging ‘ Glad to be Gay( in 4 parts!) especially for the occasion. I still have the T-SHIRT and also a lovely ceramic badge. You know, the T-SHIRT that was faithfully reproduced in the film, they gave all of band players as a thanks. If you at the photos you can clearly see glimpses of two sousaphones, yes we had two sousaphones, great bass section in stereo! I far as I know colliery bands don’t use sousaphone ha..it was a fantastic film..but I feel like I was was written out of the end.. I don’t mind that much but it plays tricks in your memory. Thank goodness for photos!

    • Thanks for your input Rachel. The Big Red Marching Band did, indeed, march with LGSM at the front of the parade. I think ‘Pride’ the movie had coachloads of miners by way of dramatic effect (as a way of showing how the miners got behind us). But, like you, I think it’s important that the real facts never get forgotten. That’s one of the reasons why I do this blog; so that people who were there can tell it the way it really was. If you have any photos of the BRMB at Pride 85 I’d love to have a copy/copies to put on my Pride 85 post. Thanks. Colin

  11. I remember 1985 very well as it was the second time I served on the organising collective (prev in 1983). During the march I was in a truck right at the front, telling the driver which way to go! When we turned the corner from Coin Street to go under Waterloo Bridge and saw the whole bridge covered in people with banners it was truly glorious.

  12. There was a gay times that year with a crowd scene in it, the sister was right in the middle of the photo, must have been of that event, never been able totrack a copy down

  13. I’m so glad to have found this site! I too was there, by happenstance: I was a 19 year-old cisgender suburban whitebread girl from northern Virginia USA and had never seen anything like it. It’s such a happy memory to relive every June. The movie “Pride” has special meaning now, too.
    Though I have some photos of my time there, unfortunately I can’t find any of the actual festival. I scanned the few I have of people we met in the hopes y’all might recognize someone. FYI, my notes on the back of one say “This was on the tube the weekend of Gay Pride ’85. We were on our way to LLBC–London Lesbian & Gay Center–for a post-festival party/disco.”
    Does anyone know how to gain access to the private YouTube video of Divine’s performance?

    • Thanks so much for this Heather. I’d love to see your photos. Do you have them online anywhere? It’s these personal photos that really fill out our history. I’m afraid I don’t know where to get access to the Divine performance. I don’t think the company that made it still exists. Sorry. Colin

      • I’ve been looking everywhere for an email address for you, Colin. I’m not on Facebook, nor have I posted the photos posted anywhere. If you’ll email me, I’d be happy to send you the .jpgs, and you can post them, if you like.

  14. Pingback:Pits and Perverts : the true story of unlikely allies – justchloyouknow

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