For Immediate Release – 16.01.18 – London Remembers ‘Section 28’ – 30 Years On
2018 marks the 30th anniversary of ‘Section 28’– which banned the promotion of homosexuality in public institutions, which lasted until 2003.
On Thursday 18th January to commemorate it, London’s LGBTQIA+ (1) community are hosting ‘Jenny STILL f*cking lives with Eric and Martin’ – an appropriation of the banned textbook (2). The night is a celebration of the activists who overturned ‘Section 28’ in person- including sharings from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the legendary lesbian activists who abseiled into the House of Lords (3). The evening will also be the U.K. premier of ‘We Have Rather Been Invaded’ (2017) made up of archival materials and interviews with those affected by ‘Section 28’ including Linda Bellos, Femi Otitoju, Max Biddulph, Sunil Gupta and Nazmia Jamal.
We Have Rather Been Invaded (2017) is a new 40-minute, single-screen video made by Ed Webb-Ingall that looks at the legacy of Section 28, the role of activism and our understanding of this piece of legislation thirty years on. Rather than paint a rosy picture that ‘Section 28’ and the general police-state of education is something of the past it highlights that the struggle continues. Indeed, many believe that with the lurch to the right since Thatcher – the situation for LGBTQIA+ empowerment is far worse today than was thirty years ago. Since Section 28, even though a lot progress has been made in the way queerness is accepted, the teaching of queer sex still remains stigmatised and its history often ignored.
Hosted by emerging comedian and presenter Sapphire McIntosh the event will catalyse 2018 as a a year to celebrate queer culture and bring to life London’s history of ‘Section 28’ activism. Followed by performances by Pornceptual (4) it will takes us on a informative journey of queer sex, something that most queer people have been denied.
“Clause 28 – what a terrible thing that was; our very own Government passing a law to make sure that gay school kids and students got treated like second-class citizens – and that parents and schoolteachers and anyone employed by local government had to be scared of breaking the law if they tried to tell them otherwise. It’s really important that we remember how recent that all was – and to pay attention to how that situation got changed, and by whom, and who helped us in that straggle and who hindered us. Also really important to remember how much bloody FUN that campaign was – laughter and outrage – that’s what I remember.” Neil Bartlett – author, playwright , performer and campaigner against Clause 28 back in the day.
“Dykes and poofs were targets of a nasty Tory government that attacked people because of their race or sex or sexuality or class or ability – and we formed and joined a broad community network to fight back… Great that Section 28 is relevant. It tried to erase us in schools. It killed thousands of young gay men who become HIV positive because of it…” Simon Collins “HIV i-Base”
“Jenny still lives with Eric and Martin because the LGBTQI+ community resisted and fought back in all sorts of ways. Looking back gives us a view of where we’ve come from and what we’ve achieved. But the question to ask ourselves is what do we still need to achieve and what do we do to get there …” Lesbian activist who abseiled into the House of Lords to protest Section 28
“As a queer filmmaker and activist who grew up under Section 28, I am excited to take part in what i hope to be the first of many discussion – screenings of my new video that looks at the legacy and impact of this oppressive piece of legislation. Collaborating with the Seuxal Avengers and Queer Tours of London couldn’t be a better fit.” Ed Webb-Ingall, ‘We have rather been invaded’ producer.
“Can we commemorate the 30th anniversary of ‘Section 28’ and how it influences us today – as loudly as we remembered the 50th anniversary of the ‘Sexual Offences Act’ – I think we can and we must. We need to learn from and with the multiple movements, unions and teachers who resisted Section 28 creatively, fiercely and with revolutionary fervour just as educators today resisting the police-state of education such as ‘Prevent’. We need to connect with teachers and educators to present the current situation and reclaim the teaching of sex and take charge of how it should be taught. As queer people we are never put in charge of the issues that affect us the most.” dan glass, Queer Tours of London – A Mince Through Time
“It is vital to acknowledge Section 28 and the huge effect that it had on a generation of young people. Queer Tours of London’s are doing important work by bringing activists and artists together to reclaim this history.” Alex Eisenberg, Live Art Development Agency (LADA)
“Section 28 mobilised and directed fear and discrimination in the wake of HIV. The book – Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin – and section 28 were used politically and tactically by the Thatcher government to turn the voting public against the left and the left’s progressive policies. Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative government used the left’s alliance with LGBT groups against them. The gays and the lefties were coming to get your children.
One of the chants I remember from the Manchester rally was:
Pinko Commie Queers! Pinko Commie Queers!
We’re all Puffs! We’re all Puffs!What I remember most is how section 28 folded into the atmosphere of the time, compounding and encouraging societal homophobia. And this was now government sanctioned.” Russell Christie
Venue details – 18th January 6pm welcome – 6.30 the show starts! / 10pm end. ‘Limewharf’, Vyner St, London E2 9DJ – fully accessible. The bar is open. It is free but donations are appreciated. Arrive early to avoid disappointment and / or @firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space. £3 suggested donation – All profits go to the London LGBTQI+ Community Centre
Notes for Editors
- LGBTQIA* – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual +
- 1983. Book: Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin – Gay in the 80s – ‘ http://www.gayinthe80s.com/2012/06/1983-book-jenny-lives-with-eric-and-martin/
- ‘Two Cheers for Section 28’ – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/two-cheers-for-section-28-1188853.html
- Pornceptual presents pornography as queer, diverse and inclusive. We aim to prove that pornography can be respectful, intimate and artistic, while questioning usual pornographic labels. “Can art succeed where porn fails – to actually turn us on?” www.pornceptual.com