Keira Knightley gave an interview to Variety recently during which she talked about her prom, or whatever they call prom in England. Back then, there was a law in Great Britain meant to discourage being gay. Keira showed up at prom with her best friend, a girl, Emily. To me, that doesn’t sound crazy. In fact, I wish more people would stop stressing about a proper prom date and just go with a friend if there isn’t one. You have a better time that way. I know because that’s what I did. At the time my closest friend was Elvi. I wore a short silver dress. She wore a long black dress. We danced, we laughed, we did not have to worry about being stuck to people all night. It was the best. If we had lived in England at the time though, we may have had problems. Keira describes what happened:
“I went to prom with my best mate, Emily. We both turned up an hour late, and I’d been filming Bend It Like Beckham, and I turned up in leather pants and a crop top, and she was a model for a while, and she’d been in Paris shooting something, and she turned up as the boy, so she had a black tie with ripped jeans on, and everybody else was completely dressed up, obviously, in that kind of finery.
One of the teachers took us both aside and said we were never going to come to anything if we didn’t know how to dress appropriately for events like that. So that was my prom. We had a great time! We had our picture taken underneath the thing, and she’s kissing me, and we were told that that was disgusting.
Our photograph, though, wasn’t allowed — you know when you get up and, I don’t know if this is in America, but you collect all the photographs of prom and you buy whatever ones you want. Ours wasn’t allowed to be displayed on that because it wasn’t appropriate.”
The law was eventually repealed. But that doesn’t mean that it should be forgotten, that we shouldn’t remember that laws like this, not too long ago, were written and passed, pushed through by those in power positions. Keira’s comments are especially relevant because she’s currently starring in The Imitation Game, the Alan Turing biopic about how he broke the Enigma Code and helped bring down the Nazis but was still persecuted for his sexual orientation.
Here’s Keira today at BBC Radio promoting the film.