Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price likens growing up as the gay son of a Welsh miner to the film Pride

Adam Price

Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price, the first openly gay leader of a major UK party, has spoken of his struggle to come out as gay in a Welsh working class community in the 80s.

Price was born in Carmarthen, a small town in south Wales. He likened his upbringing to the film Pride, based on the true story of gay and lesbian activists who joined forces with a Welsh mining community that initially wanted nothing to do with them.

“It was a very, very challenging time, growing up as a gay man, the son of a miner, working class community,” he told Wales Online. “You’ve seen the film Pride, you’ve seen a bit of my life story.

“London’s gay and lesbian supporting miners came down to my hometown that was the first time that I met out gay men and women, and it gave me a sense of hope because even in these dark times of negativity there is progress, it does get better.”

The true story of activist group LGSM is told through the film ‘Pride’ (LGSM)

He eventually gathered the courage to come out to his mother on Christmas Day at the age of 25, having set himself a target. “It was difficult growing up in the 1980s, particularly Section 28,” he remembered.

Section 28 was a controversial and homophobic piece of legislation introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1988. It banned local authorities and schools from “promoting” homosexuality in any way.

“Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay,” Thatcher famously declared. Teaching children about the existence of gay people was supposedly “cheating” them out of a sound start in life.

This toxic legislation left many young LGBT+ people like Price feeling alone and vulnerable.

Adam Price

Newly-elected Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price speaking in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2018 (Ken Jack/Corbis/Getty)

In comparison, things are now looking bright for Price. Last year he and his partner became fathers for the first time, which is, he says, “as amazing as everyone said it would be.”

And in the same year, Price himself became leader of one of Wales’ largest political parties as a proud gay man.

“I’m sat here on the sofa with you as an out gay leader of the Party of Wales. We can make progress, politics is about changing things for the better. So don’t lose hope, we can get there,” he said.

“If there’s a 15 year old Adam Price-like teenager, looking in, look, you can get there. You can live a happy, fulfilling life and we can change the whole of society so it became welcoming and inclusive for all of us.”