For people to understand Pride, they must first be educated on it! However, for a long time, this was illegal.
From May 1988 til 2003, Section 28 of the Local Government Act was enacted. This act stated 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 affected the whole of the UK and meant organisations couldn’t promote or teach anything to do with homosexuality.
Margaret Thatcher Involvement
This act was led by Minister Margaret Thatcher and came about after some of the most prominent homosexuality debates. This was close to the same time HIV/AIDS was first reported and the decriminalisation of gay sex had only just taken place.
A big influence on the act was a book called Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin which was released in 1983. This book aimed to provide information on diverse families for children. Thatcher felt that this, and other promotional material like it, to be unruly. The Tory PM once said:
“Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay. All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life.”
The laws meant that many support groups closed due to fears that they would breach the act. It was a truly debilitating time for anyone who identified as anything but straight.
Protests by the Community
This sparked mass protests by the LGBTQ+ community and people campaigned all across the UK. Similar to the Pride Parades we have now, people marched and campaigned through the streets.
Finally, the law was stopped in Scotland during 2000 and in the rest of the United Kingdom in 2003.
However, this meant that for around 25 years, people were not fully educated on LGBTQ+ matters and there was no fair representation for the Gay Community.
Section 28 Conclusion
This is what makes Pride so important. Pride shows true defiance to these kinds of laws that oppressed the community and shielded children from learning about identity for too long.
It is a reminder, as well as an educational point, to celebrate how far we’ve come since Section 28.