On June 21st 2000, Section 28 was repealed in Scotland, as one of rthte first acts of the newly devolved parliament.
Section 28 was the Thatcher-era law that 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.
This came in at the height of the AIDS crisis, and arguably, by sweeping LGBT people under the rug, the law set back LGBT rights by decades, and the lack of queer-incljusive sex education cost countless lives through the late 80s and 90s.
The law was repealed, but until recently, many classrooms still did not discuss LGBT issues. Recently, momentum in the LGBT rights movement has meant that queer-inclusive relationships and sex ed have made their way into some classrooms, but as of 2019, there is no element of queer health, history or family in any national curriculum.
Nevertheless, several schools around the country have chosen to include LGBT elements in their classrooms, whether as books such as “Mummy and mummy and me” in nursery, discussion of gender in citizenship classes, or inclusive sex ed. However, this has been met with resistance. In January of 2019, the No Outsiders programme (an inclusive teaching programme) was met by protests and threats to pull children out of school in Birmingham.
It is against this backdrop that we should reexamine section 28, and the effects of barring discussion of LGBT people in the classroom.
Though early in planning, I would like to coordinate a series of events around Glasgow, with sister events in towns and cities around Scotland. The purpose is to highlight the impacts of Section 28 now that we are 20 years after its repeal, and to point to the places where this mentality is beginning to creep back in.
This will be achieved with visits to classrooms, street stalls, information at education centres, and arts events in queer spaces, all under the banner of 20 after Section 28.
If you want to get involved, get in touch, send an email to email@example.com with the subject line 20 After Section 28.