Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
32 views
32 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018
135 Views
3 Comments

Section 28: seven years on

With homophobia three times more prevalent than racism in British schools, it seems educating young people about homosexuality is the key to tackling the problem. (Photo: Jason Cartwright)

With homophobia three times more prevalent than racism in British schools, it seems educating young people about homosexuality is the key to tackling the problem. (Photo: Jason Cartwright)

This LGBT History Month marks the seventh anniversary of the abolition of Section 28, which prohibited schools from discussing LGBT issues. This denotes a stark contrast to the climate today, whereby LGBT people are more equally regarded than ever. Not only are civil partnerships now in place, last year a Christian registrar lost her appeal against a ruling which saw her disciplined for refusing to conduct same-sex ceremonies. Most recently, Parliament has introduced laws to criminalise speech that incites hatred and violence on the basis of sexuality.

However, just as homosexuals begin to enjoy equal rights, violence against them is increasing; recorded homophobic attacks in London have risen by 18% and in Merseyside, they’re up by 40%.

Modern Britain presents a cruel limbo for gay people; whilst a 2007 survey indicates that 90% of the population support laws prohibiting homophobic discrimination, there were four suspected homophobic murders in London last year alone.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has likened this scenario to that of the US in the sixties, when the civil rights movement provoked a rise in racist attacks. He considers the rise in homophobia to be a backlash against equality legislation and the greater visibility of gay people – with greater prominence comes greater risk. The sad reality is that increased tolerance feeds intolerance and breeds violence.

This merciless irony presents a terrifying prospect, one that forces us to ask some difficult questions. Should the Christian registrar have been permitted to refuse to officiate same-sex unions? Whilst gay people should be free to marry, does denying the registrar her freedom of religious conscience intensify her own homophobia and perhaps that of others who may be driven to violence?

When legislation banning speech inciting homophobic hatred and violence reached the House of Lords, an amendment was passed allowing criticism and discussion of sexual conduct or practices in the interests of free speech. Some welcomed this as a “victory for common sense” – the example of a grandmother who was visited by police after her complaint regarding a gay pride march was considered “potentially hate-related” being cited during the debate – but gay MP Chris Smith opposed the amendment on the grounds that if the signal sent is that “it is all right to be intolerant”, homophobic hate crimes will continue to rise.

However, statistics suggest that such rigorous equality laws provoke such attacks, so criminalising mere intolerance is unjustified, not to mention ethically questionable. As Lord Arran, a proponent of the Bill that decriminalised homosexuality in 1967, stated, “no amount of legislation [can] prevent homosexuals being the subject of derision”.

Last year a Christian registrar was disciplined for refusing to perform same-sex marriages, but is this denying her own freedom of religious conscience? (Photo: Nichola Barker)

Last year a Christian registrar was disciplined for refusing to perform same-sex marriages, but is this denying her own freedom of religious conscience? (Photo: Nichola Barker)

Stonewall also recognises a link between gay equality and the rise in homophobia. Of particular concern is that many antagonists are in their late teens, suggesting a link to school, where homophobic bullying is three times more prevalent than racism. Perhaps this is where the problem lies.

The campaign group claims that, in the shadow of Section 28, many schools feel ambivalent towards addressing homophobia, despite research indicating that two thirds of young LGB people have experienced homophobia that, studies show, decrease by up to 60% when a zero policy stance is adopted.

It seems clear that more energy needs to be invested, not into more legislation, but in educating the adults of tomorrow. If attitudes are not challenged so that they can be taught to value one another, individuals will continue to carry their intolerance on into adulthood where it will entrench itself. Homophobia is not going to vanish overnight but I believe this is the way forward; we must not allow this recent surge in attacks, this desperate grasp of homophobes to cling onto the last twitches of intolerance, to peak and provide a bleaker tomorrow. To quote Stonewall’s slogan: “Some people are gay. Get over it!”

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
32 views
32 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018
Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?
Arts
36 views
36 views

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?

Rob Smith - April 19, 2018
Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe
Arts
51 views
51 views

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe

Georgia Grace - April 18, 2018
What’s wrong with the literary canon?
Arts
44 views
44 views

What’s wrong with the literary canon?

Shiri Reuben - April 18, 2018

3 Comments

  1. Ah yes, Section 28. I was so pleased when it was repealed. My school was terrified of us telling us that not everyone is heterosexual, despite the fact that its was years after Section 28 had been repealed – 2003 I believe – and that the legislation never applied to schools but to local authorities. Such was the climate of fear generated by this piece of homophobic law.

    Let us not forget this legislation was BROUGHT IN BY THE TORIES.

    Excellent article.

    Reply
  2. Thanks, ET. (I wrote this article).

    It is only in retrospect that we can see just how far-reaching the implications of Section 28 are. It is so sad to think that the gay community are still not free from the shackles of this myopic and homophobic piece of legislation.

    I don’t think the Tories are the same party now that they were say 20 years ago but it’s still in no-one’s interests that they gain power. Moreover, I feel that Labour receive a lot of false credit for promoting gay rights; it took them long enough to get their arses into gear and even then it was Europe that really gave us our equality.

    Vote for LibDem if you want real change. They are the only one of the main parties that have been consistently supportive of equality for minority groups.

    Reply
  3. I’d like to know why stonewall, outrage, etc. didnt point out the equality within section 28

    the actual wording and legal interpretation was to not “promote” homosexuality over heterosexuality, i.e. they are equal.

    why did these action groups not seek to clarify the legislation rather than whip up a pro/anti stand off?

    homophobia is a strong word and usually it stems from mis-education.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
32 views
Arts
32 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018

Following the release of his Fourth Studio album ‘Hearts that Strain’ in September 2017, Jake Bugg decided he wanted an intimate tour, and that is exactly what…

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?
Arts
36 views
Arts
36 views

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?

Rob Smith - April 19, 2018

I am not advocating that all music, no matter how little talent is required, is by default innovative. I will eagerly admit that much of the bland,…

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe
Arts
51 views
Arts
51 views

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe

Georgia Grace - April 18, 2018

  Final year English and Drama student Sophie Pester will be taking her original stage show A Glass Half Empty to Brighton Fringe next month. First performed…

What’s wrong with the literary canon?
Arts
44 views
Arts
44 views

What’s wrong with the literary canon?

Shiri Reuben - April 18, 2018

This elusive and slightly archaic category, 'the literary canon' seeps into what we know and what we think we know about 'good' and 'bad' literature. On a simple…

For students, where does work end and rest begin?
Features
59 views
Features
59 views

For students, where does work end and rest begin?

Lucy Pegg - April 17, 2018

Print Production Editor Lucy Pegg examines the difficult balance between work and rest for students. In an environment that blurs the line between productivity and recreation, can…

Cambridge Analytica: did Facebook share your personal data?
Science
50 views
Science
50 views

Cambridge Analytica: did Facebook share your personal data?

Luke Richards - April 14, 2018

The last couple of weeks have been tough for Facebook, as it reels from the public scrutiny it has received over its lackadaisical protection of personal data.…

Brighton Fringe comic Joseph Morpurgo on satire, Frankenstein and his fictitious nine-hour, one-man show
Arts
81 views
Arts
81 views

Brighton Fringe comic Joseph Morpurgo on satire, Frankenstein and his fictitious nine-hour, one-man show

Georgia Grace - April 13, 2018

At The Badger we sat down with multi-talented comic, three-time Chortle Award winner and Edinburgh Fringe favourite Joseph Morpurgo to discuss his show Hammerhead. Following a three-week…

Amritsar: 99 years later and still no apology
Comment
91 views
Comment
91 views

Amritsar: 99 years later and still no apology

William Singh - April 12, 2018

99 years ago on Friday, one British general marched his soldiers into an enclosed garden in the vicinity of the holy Golden Temple and sealed off the…

Talking disability, identity and inclusion through dance – Candoco preview
Arts
89 views
Arts
89 views

Talking disability, identity and inclusion through dance – Candoco preview

Georgia Grace - April 12, 2018

Candoco are a company of disabled and non-disabled dancers who, for the past 25 years, have challenged ideas about what dance can be and who gets to…

Voodoo preview
Arts
52 views
Arts
52 views

Voodoo preview

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 12, 2018

“[A] science fiction that addresses the desire, confusion and responsibility felt as individuals, who are also symbols of many long-persecuted people.” (Quoted from Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila…

Interview with Chris Watson: Take a trip to No Man’s Land this spring
Lifestyle
135 views
Lifestyle
135 views

Interview with Chris Watson: Take a trip to No Man’s Land this spring

Louisa Streeting - April 6, 2018

Sound recordist, Chris Watson, spoke to The Badger about his new installation piece featured in the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts until 13 April 2018. From…

“A moving symbol of cooperation and humanity” – COAL review
Arts
174 views
Arts
174 views

“A moving symbol of cooperation and humanity” – COAL review

William Singh - March 31, 2018

“This is not a show. It’s something else”, we’re told. Gary Clarke’s dance performance of the life and decline of Britain’s mining communities is certainly something else.…

Brighton’s craft beer festival returns in April for third year
Lifestyle
171 views
Lifestyle
171 views

Brighton’s craft beer festival returns in April for third year

Louisa Streeting - March 28, 2018

Brighton will become the hub of craft beer in more than a dozen pubs from April 27-29. The Brighton Tap Takeover returns for a third year bringing…

Young blood promotes brain regeneration
Science
117 views
Science
117 views

Young blood promotes brain regeneration

Nikolaos Manesis - March 28, 2018

On the "growing old is natural" vs "it should be medically reversed" debate, vampires have crossed the picket line from the get-go and scientists have just proven…

The educational psychology of children with autism
Science
143 views
Science
143 views

The educational psychology of children with autism

Nikolaos Manesis - March 28, 2018

The scientific field of educational psychology studies the relationship between learning processes and the individual differences in cognitive development, motivation and intelligence. The majority of children are…

Stand Up & Slam review
Arts
135 views
Arts
135 views

Stand Up & Slam review

Alex Leissle - March 28, 2018

Sometimes the best experiences are those you initially question. Stand Up & Slam is one such idea, for it is a resounding triumph of an evening. Hosted…

Organisms, self-understanding and sacrifice in Rambert’s production at Theatre Royal Brighton
Arts
157 views
Arts
157 views

Organisms, self-understanding and sacrifice in Rambert’s production at Theatre Royal Brighton

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - March 24, 2018

Goat.-Rambert-Dancers-FrontCentre-Daniel-Davidson.-©-Hugo-Glendinning Rambert delivered a series of fluid performances where human bodies became elegant oscillations, much like the metallic wall used on stage to divide the dancers in…

SMuTS presents ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ review
Arts
225 views
Arts
225 views

SMuTS presents ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ review

Georgia Grace - March 23, 2018

Excitement and anticipation were running high Wednesday evening at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) for the opening night of Sussex Musical Theatre Society’s (SMuTS’s)…

SU Election coverage – Dead Slate: all women elected for third consecutive year at Sussex
Campus News
173 views
Campus News
173 views

SU Election coverage – Dead Slate: all women elected for third consecutive year at Sussex

Jordan Wright - March 23, 2018

The results are in for this year's Students' Union election, which saw 30 candidates running to be the full-time elected representatives of the student body at Sussex.…

Academic Armchair: ‘Cinderella, you shall go to the ball”: a conversation with Ketan Jha
Features
156 views
Features
156 views

Academic Armchair: ‘Cinderella, you shall go to the ball”: a conversation with Ketan Jha

Devin Thomas - March 23, 2018

In this week’s edition of the Academic Armchair the Features team sat down with Ketan Jha, an associate tutor of Sussex Law School. Alongside his work in…