Stop the Clause

Rebecca F and Melissa remember the protests against Section 28.

Rebecca F


I was going to not do any politics. I was going to concentrate on learning Hindi and Urdu, and so on. But that all just went out the window in December, and I basically spent the next six months of my life, 24/7, organising, marching, whatever it might be, around Section 28.

And there’s a kind of question which is, you know, why? Maybe it’s just a kind of weakness of will, if you like, but I think, what is it that kind of really got me going? So, one, that this is new legislation. So we had a legal situation up till now that we could campaign against, but this was new legislation. Secondly, that it was clearly very broadly construed, and had in its sights a number of things that I was quite committed to in terms of broader politics.

The third thing, I think, is to do with the phraseology of it. So the focus on promotion and the particular phrase about, what is it, the kind of ‘pretend’ family values, were things that made me – I interpreted as both a personal attack and as enshrining in law, in a way, a very kind of global statement. So up until now there were various parts of lesbian and gay activity, or whatever it was, that came into conflict with the law. But this was a kind of different sort of statement that was saying, altogether, that, you are – that I am – a second-class citizen. That it’s about saying all of you people are second-class citizens, in a kind of complete way, not just about particular aspects, it’s about: you are all pretending to and failing at heterosexuality, and that is the only real game in town, that’s the only model, that’s the only ideal, that everybody should aspire to. And that being lesbian or gay is something that the state does not want anyone to be. Because otherwise promotion wouldn’t be a problem. So it was drawing a very clear – it was very clearly putting me and other people like me into a kind of second-class category of citizenship.



Those protests were about me, that, you know – they were about how wrong it was that I had that experience, you know. I was the kid that – I was one of the kids that they were protesting about, and not one of the protesters. And that, you know, means that I don’t really have any knowledge of those protests. But, you know, I am very grateful to them.

I did see some of the – one of the, I think it’s the Lesbian Avengers group broke into the BBC, for instance. I did see that and my parents were… My dad was disapproving, very disapproving. My mum… I’m not sure my mum disapproved that much. She was quite a strident sort of person. Quite strong will minded person, and I think she recognised injustice when she saw it.