community

Michael Cashman recalls kissing Sir Ian McKellen at Pride

His lips were by no means sealed whilst taking part in Attitude’s Pride Heroes, in association with Taimi.

2020-06-24

Michael Cashman has devoted his life to fighting for LGBTQ rights – and he proved the power of puckering up when he publicly snogged Sir Ian McKellen.

The co-founder of Stonewall – alongside McKellen – recalled the moment they locked lips, whilst appearing in Attitude’s Pride Heroes, in association with Taimi.

“It was the first Pride after the notorious Section 28,” he explains. “Ian and I walked on stage because we’d helped to lead that campaign [against it]… The crowd went mad when we kissed one another and went into this hug.”

Michael, 69, continues: “I’ve got the photograph of us in that hug and some of those faces in the crowd – it still moves me because we were defiant. We said, ‘If you want to fight with us, fight our community and allies, we will give you a fight to remember.'”

“That’s my strongest and probably fondest Pride memory – and knowing that Paul, my late husband, was there on stage and he didn’t mind me kissing another man,” he laughs.

The former actor – who, in 1989, was one half of the first gay kiss in British soap history, as Colin in EastEnders – also urged the LGBTQ community to reflect on what they have in the absence of physical Pride parades this year.

“I just want you to think about this moment and remember that, in certain countries around the world, they’ve never had a Pride march [and] it will be years before they have a Pride march,” Michael says.

He adds: “This is something so precious, but so many people take it for granted. This is a wonderful reminder that what we have, we haven’t always had, and what we have, we can lose.”

Currently serving as a member of the House of Lords, Michael released his autobiography ‘One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square’ (Bloomsbury) earlier this year.

TV host Michelle Visage, LGBTQ activist Bisi Alimi, ‘Drag Race’ superstar Courtney Act, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and writer and performer Amrou Al-Kadhi are also taking part in Attitude’s Pride Heroes, in association with Taimi.

Watch on attitude.co.uk and YouTube.