Archive for Local Government Act

On the Repeal of Section 28..

Posted in History, LGBT, Politics with tags , , , on November 18, 2021 by telescoper

I was reminded today is the 18th anniversary of the Repeal in England & Wales (on 18th November 2003) of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which contained the following:

I remember very well the numerous demonstrations and other protests I went on as part of the campaign against the clause that became Section 28 way back in 1988. Indeed, these were the first large political demonstrations in which I ever took part. But that repugnant and obviously discriminatory piece of legislation passed into law anyway. Students and younger colleagues  probably don’t have any idea how much pain and anger the introduction of this piece of legislation caused at the time, but at least it also had the effect of galvanising  many groups and individuals into action. The fightback eventually succeeded; Section 28 was repealed in Scotland in 2000 and in England & Wales in 2003.

I know the 33 years that have elapsed since the introduction of Section 28  is a long time, but it’s still amazing to me that attitudes have changed so much that now we have same-sex marriage. I would never have predicted that if someone had asked me thirty years ago!

I think there’s an important lesson in the story of Section 28, which is that rights won can easily be lost again. There are plenty of people who would not hesitate to bring back similar laws if they thought they could get away with them.  They are trying to do so now with a sustained assault on the rights of transgender people. That’s why it is important for LGBTQ+ people not only to stand up for their rights, but to campaign for a more open, inclusive and discrimination-free environment for everyone, everywhere, including in the workplace. That’s one of the reasons why today’s LGBTQ+ STEM Day is so important.

Thirty Years since Section 28..

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , on May 24, 2018 by telescoper

I was reminded by twitter that today is the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the Local Government Act 1988, which included the now notorious Section 28, which contained the following:

I remember very well the numerous demonstrations and other protests I went on as part of the campaign against the clause that became Section 28. Indeed, these were the first large political demonstrations in which I ever took part. But that repugnant and obviously discriminatory piece of legislation passed into law anyway. Students and younger colleagues of mine born after 1988 probably don’t have any idea how much pain and anger the introduction of this piece of legislation caused at the time, but at least it also had the effect of galvanising  many groups and individuals into action. The fightback eventually succeeded; Section 28 was repealed in 2003. I know 30 years is a long time, but it’s still amazing to me that attitudes have changed so much that now we have same-sex marriage. I would never have predicted that if someone had asked me thirty years ago!

I think there’s an important lesson in the story of Section 28, which is that rights won can easily be lost again. There are plenty of people who would not hesitate to bring back similar laws if they thought they could get away with them.  That’s why it is important for LGBT+ people not only to stand up for their rights, but to campaign for a more open, inclusive and discrimination-free environment for everyone.

Changing Times

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , on February 5, 2013 by telescoper

I couldn’t resist a quick comment about the news that today the House of Commons began a debate on the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The timing of this when I’ve just moved back to Brighton after an absence of 23 years or so made me think back to what things were like when I was previously here as a DPhil student.

In those days the dominant concern facing LBGT staff and students was the notorious Section 28, part of the Local Government Act of 1988, which, among other things, attacked promotion of “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. I remember very well the numerous demonstrations and other protests I went on as part of the campaign against that repugnant and obviously discriminatory piece of legislation, but it passed into law anyway. I know 25 years is a long time, 1988 was before today’s generation of undergraduates was even born, but it’s still amazing to me that attitudes have changed so much that there’s even a remote possibility that same sex marriage might be legalized. And from what I hear, the possibility isn’t remote at all…