LGBT community urged to mark 10-year repeal of Section 28 by wearing pink

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

To commemorate 10 years since the repeal of Section 28 in England and Wales, campaigners are asking people all over the UK to wear pink “against prejudice” on Monday 18 November.

Schools OUT, an organisation that works towards equality for LGBT people in education, also wants as many teachers as possible to teach just one lesson from its National Curriculum-linked ‘The Classroom’ website on that day.

Schools OUT says it is a chance for teachers to “celebrate diversity” and for the UK to show solidarity with LGBT communities in countries such as Russia, where anti-LGBT laws prevent those at school from receiving basic, factual knowledge about LGBT people.

On Monday, Schools OUT praised Birmingham council for tackling homophobic bullying in the city’s schools.

Birmingham is due to host the national LGBT History Month pre-launch event on 28 November, in which various workshops in both primary and secondary schools will engage young people in music, art, and history.

Section 28 was introduced under the Thatcher government as part of the Local Government Act in 1988.

It stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” and that schools “could not promote of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

Section 28 was repealed first of all in Scotland in 2000.

It was later repealed under Tony Blair’s Labour government in 2003 for England and Wales and the current Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, apologised for the policy in 2009.

Following the death of Lady Thatcher in April, Labour leader Ed Miliband said her support for Section 28 caused gay people to be “stigmatised”.

“Gay and lesbian people felt stigmatised by measures like Section 28, which today’s Conservative Party has rightly repudiated,” he said in a tribute to the former prime minister in the Commons.

Earlier this summer, LGBT campaigners were shocked by revelations that scores of schools still had Section 28-style language in their sex education policies.

In response, the Department for Education (DfE) announced an investigation, saying: “What these schools have done by singling out homosexuality is unacceptable.”