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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

Are You Proud? ***

Are You Proud? ***

Director: Ashley Joiner

Country: UK

It’s fifty years since the Stonewall riots. The very first Pride was celebrated on the first anniversary of the LGBT uprising in New York and is now celebrated annually all over the world from Sydney to Rio, Alaska to Seoul but some people now pose the question: “Do we still need Pride?” In this new documentary from Peccadillo Pictures, Pride in all its forms is placed under the microscope to answer both this and its titular enquiry, are YOU proud?

Beginning as a history lesson that explains what life was like before Gay Liberation, it’s not long before we’re up to date and looking at London Pride, Trans Pride, Black Pride and many others. The commercialisation of Pride is discussed, plus its depoliticising. We follow a group of LGBT migrants who want to use Pride as a protest against the UK’s stringent immigration policy that sees 80% of LGBT asylum seekers returned to their home countries, but are refused. We look back on key moments from historic UK Prides – such as the Lesbians & Gays Support The Miners Movememnt, which inspired the film Pride – as well as talking about continuing issues for trans people, people of colour within the Gay Community and continuing oppression around the world.

This is a political piece for sure, which clambers up onto its soap box and presents its rhetoric unabashedly. With a title so unreservedly LGBT-centric you can’t help but wonder whether it will just be preaching to the converted, however. It raises scores of important issues like a comprehensive smorgasbord of the political concerns we face 50 years on, refocusing the argument on what is relevant today with the poignant words of Stonewall icon Marsha P. Johnson still just as relevant: “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”

It takes itself very seriously – which, of course, it still should – but in focusing itself solely on the issues rather than actually being proud (which is its actual title) it doesn’t quite manage to encapsulate what prides are all about; celebrating as well as protesting. Add to that its annoying London bias in which it seems to have forgotten that Pride exists beyond London and Brighton and it doesn’t quite succeed in giving an accurate picture of Pride within the UK. However, that doesn’t negate from the importance of its points and the significance of its history.


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