Before watching this 12-and-a-half-minute documentary, when someone mentioned ‘pride’, I would think of London, or Birmingham- the big cities where people of the LGBTQ+ community commute to, to convene in a swirling mass of rainbows. But who would’ve thought that a tiny medieval town in Gloucestershire, similar to Shrewsbury where I grew up, would have its own super-special ‘thang’ going on?
The best thing about this short, Netflix documentary, is the way it normalises being gay. Not only that; it also shows a side to the rainbow that we’re not used to seeing in the media. Creating a sense of nostalgia and happiness, the snippets of flashback footage from their childhoods elevates the message I took from this, that being gay is not all about oppression, fear, and loneliness. Then and now is professionally woven together in this piece whilst maintaining the rusticity mirrored by the little town of Tewkesbury.
Although the piece is relatively positive, it does not sugar-coat society and the stigma around being queer. Intolerance and ignorance of certain individuals is still rife, as hinted at by 25-year-old Harvey when recounting his previous experiences. Furthermore, the addition of the letters exchanged between these students and the local MP is surprisingly moving. The editing skills are impeccable as the friends read out the two letters, seemingly completing each other’s sentences which cleverly highlights the sense of unity between them, and their shared aim of a freer future. I was astounded when the film stated that this was only ten years ago, and young people were taking it upon themselves to fight for gay marriage to be legalised.
Interestingly, the current filming was all set in a secondary school making the experiences more tangible, as the young people watching this documentary will be able to relate to it better, just as I was. It made me think of the contrast between my secondary school in Shrewsbury- a small, medieval town similar to Tewkesbury.
Despite evoking a sense of envy at what appears to be the perfect year group, this documentary brims with hope whilst still indicating what needs to change in society.