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Mark Christian Ashton (Oldham, 19 May 1960-Southwark, 11 February 1987) was a gay activist, socialist and member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
She studied at the Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College in Portrush, County Antrim (Northern Ireland), before moving to London in the late 1970s and working in disguise as a waitress at the Conservative Club.
In 1982 he spent three months in Bangladesh to visit his parents, since his father was there working for the textile machinery industry. Upon his return, he became a volunteer of the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, a helpline for gays and lesbians, supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and joined the communist youth, Young Communist League: He appeared in Framed Youth: The Revenge of the Teenage Perverts (1983), an award-winning documentary produced by gay and lesbian teenagers.
With his friend Mike Jackson, he founded the support group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), after collecting donations for striking miners during the 1984 Gay Pride Parade in London. The group’s activities were reviewed in the film Pride (2014), where the role of Mark Ashton was interpreted by Ben Schnetzer (nominated for a BIFA award for best supporting actor in this role). Ashton’s role in Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners was remembered before the film’s premiere in a series of interviews with some of the former members of the group.
After LGSM, he became involved in the Red Wedge music collective and became the general secretary of the Young Communist League, from 1985 until his death.
Diagnosed with AIDS, he was admitted to the Guy’s Hospital on January 30, 1987 and died 12 days later of pneumocystosis, and his death generated a significant response from the gay community, especially in the publication of texts and participation in his funeral at Lambeth.
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