Section 28

What did Section 28 say?

 

“A) A Local Authority shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality.

B) A Local Authority shall not promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”

You will be shocked to learn that there are newspapers which make things up. In the 1980s there was a national campaign by the right wing press and the Conservative government to label Labour councils as “Loony Left”. Stories on themes like black one-legged lesbians’ trampolining classes were used to persuade voters that Labour councils were wasting your money.

In Nottingham, we had the "Gay swimming" furore, with "mothers fear AIDS risk”. In London there was “Baa baa, green sheep”, about a local authority which had told school teachers that “Baa baa, black sheep” was racist and that teachers should substitute “Baa baa, green sheep”.

The thing to remember about these stories is that 99% of them were just that - stories. The newspapers made it up. Yes, in schools in that authority you could hear infants reciting “Baa baa, green sheep”, not because of the local authority, but because the teachers had read about it in the Sun and - amazingly - believed what they read.

The most notorious example was “Infants given gay pornography” and “Infants encouraged into homosexual practices”. The pornography and the “encouragement” was delivered by a book called “Jenny lives with Eric and Martin”. You can see a typical pornographic page below.

No child was ever given the book. One copy existed in a Teachers’ Centre for use by teachers only. The book depicts Jenny, her father Martin, his lover Eric and is “the story of how they spend their weekend”.

The book was used as the main lever for the introduction of Section 28. Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story

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