OUTing the Past 2018 Gazetted Presenter Spotlight: Sue Sanders

This year, the Festival Comms Team has reached out to all OUTing the Past 2018 gazetted presenters, whose presentations you may see at upcoming celebrations. In order to provide a platform for their invaluable work, presenters were asked a series a questions to acquaint you with their previous and current projects.

Sue Sanders was kind enough to share:

Section 28 was a vicious and vile act that was passed as part of the local Government Ac 1988. The amendment 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”.

We are marking this year: 30 years since Section 28 was enacted and 15 years since it was repealed. I was very active with 3 groups which were campaigning against the clause: The Arts Lobby, which comprised Julie Parker, Michael Cashman, Ian Mckellen and others who met at the Drill Hall (alas, now gone) and plotted to educate the Lords and raise the issue with the wider public; the London Schools OUT groups and the national Schools OUT group (now known collectively as Schools OUT UK) were keen to explain the effect on schools and enable people to realise that strictly as the law was directed at Local Authorities, it did not affect schools due to the recently passed Local Management of Schools Act.



They were busy, depressing days as we battled the right-wing press, who told outright lies – what we now may call fake news! We had to learn the hard way how to lobby and how the law worked, at a time when there was no internet search engines or mobile phones and most photo copy machines if asked to produce over 100 copies at a time died!

The lessons learnt and the organisations that have sprung up since then mean that we are better equipped to challenge such an attack. However, have we become complacent and not ready to continue the work that still needs to be done in this country and beyond to enable LGBT people all their diversity to be visible and safe?


Be sure to follow @LGBTHM for more information during the Festival, and check out our national media partner, The Canary!

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