Monday, May 24, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Passage of Clause 28

On this day in 1988 Britain's Parliament passed Section 28, more commonly known as Clause 28, an amendment to the Local Government Act 1988 which the Right felt would protect children from being forced to commit homosexual acts in the classroom (or whatever paranoid fantasy they might have been harbouring regarding the teaching of respect for diversity); either way, the measure was the most rancidly homophobic piece of dribble-piss the Thatcher Government could devise - which is saying something, considering the self-loathing capabilities of the many closet cases smugly ensconced therein.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketStill, it wasn't all bad...

Boy George wrote a pop song about it entitled No Clause 28 (catchy title!), and the move caused Ian McKellan (pre-knighthood, shown at left with Michael Cashman, at a rally protesting the measure) to come out. As with all previous attempts to eradicate homosexuals and homosexuality from the tapestry of life - along with, I dare say, all future ones as well - the result was inevitably more homosexuality rather than less.

Bigotry like this, for all that it is corrosive and hateful, really has a way to mobilize communities, which was certainly the case here. Bold-faced names who stood up to oppose Clause 28 included such favourites of the Pop Culture Institute as Jane Horrocks, Helen Mirren, and Simon Callow; in the House of Lords opposition was led by openly gay peer Waheed Alli. Newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, and even the rabidly right-wing drivel factory of the The Daily Mirror also voiced their opposition.

Section 28 was repealed by New Labour on June 21st, 2000, in Scotland and on November 18th, 2003, in England.

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