British prime minister Margaret Thatcher imposed the loathed homophobic law Section 28. (Hulton Archive/Getty)
On the 32nd anniversary of the introduction of Section 28, one Twitter user has illustrated its history and enduring legacy in a two-minute video.
Section 28, which came into law on May 24, 1988, banned local authorities and schools from “promoting of homosexuality”, resulting in state-sponsored discrimination against all queer identities.
Teachers were forbidden from informing children about LGBT+ people and same-sex relationships, councils were prohibited from funding books, plays, leaflets, films or other materials showing same-sex relationships, and LGBT+ youth groups were shut down.
Twitter user Ben McGowan posted the video to mark the anniversary, showing the devastating history of the homophobic law, and also its enduring legacy.
This week will mark 32 years since Thatcher’s introduction of the vicious Section 28 which caused unforgivable pain to the LGBT+ community.
Here is its history and legacy from Thatcher to McVey: pic.twitter.com/trXawzAx5y
— Ben McGowan (@BenMcGowan_) May 18, 2020
The video first shows then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher giving her infamous 1987 Conservative Party conference speech.
“Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay,” she said.
Former UK prime minister Theresa May historically voted against the repeal of Section 28, and in 2000 said that saving the homophobic law was a “victory for common sense”.
In recent years, May has U-turned on this position, and McGowan’s video shows one of many instances when May has said that she shouldn’t have voted in favour of Section 28.
May reiterated her regret over her past voting record exclusively with PinkNews on the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of gay sex in England and Wales.
Current UK prime minister Boris Johnson, while still a journalist, once wrote that “Labour’s appalling agenda” was “encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools”.
However in 2003, Johnson defied the Conservative leadership at the time and voted to abolish Section 28.
McGowan featured individuals who were severely impacted by Section 28, showing footage from both then and now.
The law was repealed by the Labour party in 2003, however its horrific legacy, as shown in the video, lives on.
Last year, the No Outsiders programme was adopted by some UK primary schools, teaching children about all types of equality, including LGBT+ families, through the use of picture books.
But LGBT+ elements of No Outsiders made headlines in early 2019 after protests were sparked at Parkfield School, in Birmingham. The rallies were attended by hundreds, with protest leaders accusing No Outsiders of “promoting homosexuality” in schools.
In the summer of 2019, Tory MP Esther McVey spoke out to say she supported parents who wanted to pull their children out of the inclusive lessons.
She said: “I’m being very clear. The final say is with the parents and if parents want to take their young children out of primary school, out of certain forms or sex education, relationship education that is down to them.”
At the time, Labour’s Angela Eagle made an emotional plea to MPs to take action over the Birmingham school protests, linking the situation to the government-sponsored discrimination against LGBT+ people in the era of Section 28.
She said: “We aren’t going to get back in the closet or hide or be ashamed of the way we are, and nor are we going to allow a generation of pupils who are now in school to go through what pupils in the 80s had to go through because this chamber let them down.”