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Betwixt The Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society

Section 28: The Anti-Gay Law That Sparked A Movement

Ep. 167

The 1980s have a lot to answer for - spandex, for one.


It also saw the first new anti-gay law in Britain for over a century.


Against the backdrop of the HIV epidemic, and increasing homophobia across the media and politics, the law Section 28 was passed in 1988, which stopped the "promotion of homosexuality" in schools and local authorities across Britain.


What did this even mean? Who did it affect? And what was the response from the gay community?


This month marks 20 years since Section 28 was finally repealed, and in this special episode we’ll look back to the damage it caused and the defiance from those who opposed and helped overturn it - marking it as the most successful civil rights movement in modern British history. 


Joining Kate are a few special guests who were on the picket lines, in the classrooms and making headlines to draw public attention to the cause: 


Paul Baker, whose book, Outrageous, The Story of Section 28 and Britain’s Battle for LGBT Education, is available now.


Catherine Lee MBE, whose book, Pretended, Schools and Section 28: Historical, Cultural and Personal Perspectives, is available now. 


Paul Fairweather, who worked for Manchester City Council in the 1980s, and continues to support the LGBTQ+ community at the George House Trust, which provides HIV support, advice and advocacy services. 


Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, who continues his tireless work for equality and human rights continues with the Peter Tatchell foundation. You can find out more and donate to here


This episode was edited and produced by Stuart Beckwith. The senior producer was Charlotte Long.


Archive courtesy of: BBC, Fox 5 New York, LGBT+marketing, Richard Johnson, Direct Action, Nick Lansley.


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