Mark Ashton, Belfast


The education room at the Unite regional office on the Antrim Road, Belfast was renamed on 19 March 2016 in honour of Mark Ashton. This is the first time in Northern Ireland that a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has been acknowledged outside of the LGBT community. 

This article (from 11 September 2014) is reproduced with the kind permission of the Morning Star, Britain’s only socialist daily newspaper.


PETER FROST remembers one of The Sun’s most despicable headlines and how it was taken up as rallying call for working-class unity.

It has taken three decades for the BBC and the British film industry to tell the amazing story of Mark Ashton.

Thirty years is a long time, indeed a good few years longer than Ashton’s tragically short life — a life cut short by Aids at just 26 in 1987.

Mark, a mercurial young Irishman, was a gay rights activist and a founder member — some would say the founding member — of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) during the epic miners’ strike of the 1980s.

LGSM came together to support the British miners during the year-long strike of 1984-5.

There were 11 LGSM groups throughout the country. London was the largest.

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