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February 4, 2019 2

As part of LGBT History month 2019, we’re sharing personal stories of significant, life-changing moments of acceptance or understanding from our local LGBT+ community.

“Shall not promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

Local Government Act, 1988 – Prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material.
Chris Park

 Put yourself in the place of a 13 year old in the Lake District in 1988. The world was in the midst of the AIDS crisis and homophobic articles were common in the national press.

I was the 13 year old that Mrs Thatcher was trying to “protect”. Sadly for her it had the opposite effect.

 Gay rights didn’t make it to the Lakes, so TV was the only connection to the outside world. Bringing this revolting clause presented a call to arms, organisations like Stonewall appeared and words Gay and Pride were bandied around. I’d always known I was different but now I wasn’t alone.

It couldn’t have been a better signpost for me, if Margaret T thought homosexuality was wrong, it must be right. 

That isn’t to say I had an easy time of it. The 80s were dark and by bringing homophobia to the masses, we all copped it one way or another. 

Section 28 was only repealed 15 years ago. We need to remember that our previous Prime Minister was incredibly vocal in keeping it until he did a U-turn in 2009. Our current “leader” has consistently voted against LGBT rights. 

As for Section 28, we should never forget or we will allow prejudice like this to thrive again. As for its effectiveness, sorry Mrs T, but this gay wasn’t for turning.