Welcome to my first ever post as part of the OWLS blog Tour, before I start this post I would like to explain to my followers who are not familiar with OWLS as to what it is. OWLS stands for Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect. It is a group of bloggers that work to promote acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability. I myself decided to become a part of this group because acceptance is something I like to promote through Yaoi Playground and to those who are following along this blog tour I hope you enjoyed Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews post as much as I did.
This Months topic for discussion is Diplomacy
“Whenever we have a disagreement with someone, we use our words to express our thoughts and opinions. However, there are those who would rather use fists instead of words, those who forget that being “right” isn’t the most important thing, and those who lose sight of compromising and acknowledging differences in opinion and belief. Diplomacy is an important skill and tactic that not many of us have or are able to utilize properly especially in “social media wars” for sensitive issues and anime discourse—we just express our opinions without really listening. For this month’s prompt, we will be exploring some of the best negotiations scenes in pop culture media and discuss how effective these diplomatic moments are and what we can learn from them. We will also discuss why communication and listening are important traits to have and whether or not there are other means to enforce peace.”
The beginning of tolerance between any group of people who think they are so different they can not get along is to not look at not what makes you different, but to take a step back and look at what you have in common. This is where the story of Pride begins to teach us the lesson of tolerance through diplomacy. The year is 1984 and the miners of the UK are on strike fighting to keep their pits open to keep there jobs and a young gay man in London see’s them protesting on picket lines and being in his words bullied by the police and government and in that moment he realizes something amazing. Our community has a lot in common with these out of work miners. That community is the Gay and Lesbian community marching in the Gay Pride parade. In his eyes he see’s a chance to help and so he starts a group within the gay community. LGSM or Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. They raise money to help the miners but are then met with a problem, they won’t to help but no one wants there help because they are loud, proud and gay, but by a misunderstanding over the phone a small mining village accepts their help not exactly knowing who they are.
And so begins the journey of discovery on both sides because at first it seems no one can see eye to eye. Tolerance is something we all need to learn at some point in our lives, but I sometimes wonder if a lot of people actually know what tolerance means. It is the act of tolerating the existence of opinions or behaviors that one dislikes or disagrees with. To tolerate something or someone does not mean you have to go against your beliefs or even change said beliefs it just means accepting that not everyone is the same. This is a struggle that LGSM go through throughout the movie, from the men in the small mining town not wanting to accept the help of LGSM because they do not want to be associated with ‘their type’ to down right bigotry from one council member in town who does everything in her power to not only try and turn the town against a group that just wants to help them, but goes as far as to poison her own sons with her bigotry.
So how does diplomacy fit into teaching tolerance within this movie? In many fun ways actually. One of the best examples comes early on in the movie when LGSM goes to visit Onllwyn the town they end up helping. They have trouble socializing with the locals, because everyone is weary and untrustworthy of each other. While this is happening one of the more flamboyant men in LGSM is out on the dancefloor with the town women having a blast, but then the women comment how it is rare to see a man on the dancefloor so he decides to bring a little extra fun. The scene can be seen below…
You know what this scene leads to? It leads to one of the men in town asking for dance lessons to help him be more confident with women and there it is right there. A door to diplomacy has been opened, a conversation started and the beginning of tolerance and acceptance has begun. This dance is more than a little fun for a struggling town. It’s a moment for everyone in the room to forget there troubles, forget their differences. And though the miners did not win there protests against the government, LGSM did help them survive through the protests, their donations brought the community food and dignity.
As the old saying goes as one good deed deserves another and the Welsh Miners did not forget what LGSM did for them and on June 29th, 1985 they stood up proud and marched along with LGSM right at the front of London’s Gay Pride March. They stood in solidarity with those who stood by them. But that is not all they did to help those that supported them. A year after the strike ended, a motion was tabled at the Labour Party conference to preserve gay and lesbian rights into the party’s manifesto a motion that had been raised before and had lost. This time however it passed and do you know why? This was because of a block vote from one union, The National Union of Mineworkers. This one act opened the doors in the United Kingdom for gay rights. Which just goes to show you that you can find friends and allies in the strangest of places, whether that be a gay bar in London or a mining village in Wales. We all have the power to make change in this world for the better, it just takes a little bit of Diplomacy and looking for what we have in common.
Also there is a lot more covered in this movie that I would love to cover at a later date on Yaoi Playground, these include themes of Coming Out to ones family and AIDS and what it did to the LGBT community back then and now. So you can look forward to a full review of the movie in the coming weeks on Yaoi Playground.
Next up on the blog tour we have Crimson and I look forward to reading their post!