Monday, 18 November 2013

10 years without Section 28!

Today is the 10th anniversary of the repeal of the invidious Section 28.

On 24 May 1988, after a lot of deeply unpleasant rhetoric by the right-wing press and many politicians (who were largely of a Tory persuasion), the Thatcher government brought into law Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which added Section 2A to the Local Government Act 1986 (affecting England, Wales and Scotland, but not, interestingly, Northern Ireland). The amendment said that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".

It was repealed on 21 June 2000 in Scotland as one of the first pieces of legislation enacted by the new Scottish Parliament, but the rest of Great Britain had to wait until 18 November 2003, when it was repealed by section 122 of the Local Government Act 2003.


One of our recent posts provides links to material discussing the history and legacy of this detestable piece of legislation:
http://lgbthistoryproject.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-shadow-of-section-28.html

There is currently a great deal of comment online about the lasting legacy of Section 28:
Tom Hayes, editor-in-chief of beyondpositive, an online magazine for people living with HIV in the UK, gives a personal perspective:
http://www.beyondpositive.org/2013/11/18/legacy-section-28-ten-years/

After a poll by Mumsnet found that 99% of gay teens have heard homophobic language and a report by Bernardo's Cymru that 58% of Welsh schoolchildren have witnessed homophobic bullying, Stonewall has launched a new campaign to give schools, teachers and young people the tools they need to challenge homophobic language:
http://www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/gay-lets-get-over-it-stonewall
http://www.barnardos.org.uk/news/Anti-Bullying_week_58_of_Welsh_children_witness_bullying/latest-news.htm?ref=94279http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_for_all/quick_links/9291.asp

The need for this is made clearer by the report today that an inquest has found that 14-year-old Ayden Keenan-Olson took his own life. He left two suicide notes saying how he could no longer cope with the homophobic and racist bullying he experienced at school.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/10453027/Gay-son-of-child-abuse-campaigner-killed-himself-after-years-of-bullying-at-school.html


There is some goods news too, however. OFSTED school inspectors are now investigating whether schools they visit are fighting anti-gay bullying and teaching about same-sex families:
now investigating whether schools they visit are fighting anti-gay bullying and teaching about same-sex families. - See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/inspectors-start-forcing-english-schools-tackle-gay-and-trans-hate171113#sthash.PkYae0M1.dpuf
now investigating whether schools they visit are fighting anti-gay bullying and teaching about same-sex families. - See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/inspectors-start-forcing-english-schools-tackle-gay-and-trans-hate171113#sthash.PkYae0M1.dpuf
now investigating whether schools they visit are fighting anti-gay bullying and teaching about same-sex families. - See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/inspectors-start-forcing-english-schools-tackle-gay-and-trans-hate171113#sthash.PkYae0M1.dpuf
http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/inspectors-start-forcing-english-schools-tackle-gay-and-trans-hate171113
Sexual orientation and gender identity (well, 'gender reassignment') are referred to throughout the current OFSTED school inspection handbook:
http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/school-inspection-handbook


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