We have rather been invaded

It's May 1988, and Booan Temple is about to storm the Six O'Clock News in protest against Section 28


Published:

booan temple holds a stop the clause t-shirt. BBC.

 

Thirty years ago this week, Section 28, the amendment to the Local Government Act 1988 which prevented local authorities from "promoting homosexuality", and prevented teachers from promoting the "acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship" was enacted into law.

 

The night the amendment was passed, Booan Temple and a small group of women - tired of their attempts to rouse support from the media - decided to put their fight for equality at the centre of the news, something which they achieved, quite literally, by storming that evening's Six O'Clock News on the BBC.

 

 

"Really the only thing left was to actually be the news, by being on the news," says Booan in a new video shared by BBC Stories and created by Ruth Evans​.

 

"In general, Britain was quite a hostile environment in the 1980s for the LGBT community. About 75% of people when surveyed said that it was mostly or always wrong to be gay.

 

"Simply by walking down the street, if somebody identified you as lesbian or gay, you could get abuse and you could be violently attacked, just for being."

 

Not long before Section 28 was enacted, a book called Jenny Lives With Eric And Martin, which tells the story of a young girl who lives with her two fathers, had been published and, in Booan's words, had "kicked off a moral panic in Parliament".

 

"What we were told we were doing was destroying the heterosexual family. So that lobby grew, to get this clause enacted," continues Booan.

 

"Section 28 banned local authorities from promoting homosexuality. The second part of it banned the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality in schools.

 

"Basically it meant the closing down of services, so young people became very vulnerable particularly, and schools couldn’t protect people from being bullied.

 

"All kinds of groups, all over the country began to protest."

 

 

Meeting outside the BBC television studio, Booan and her friends managed to get through security, and as soon as the lights changed, barged into the studio.

 

Booan was pushed to the ground, while one woman in the group managed to handcuff herself to a camera. A third woman actually got behind the news desk where she was "violently subdued" by BBC News presenter Nicholas Witchell - who has since apologised for his actions.

 

All the while, presenter Sue Lawley carried on trying to read the news: ​“And I do apologise if you’re hearing quite a lot of noise in this studio at the moment, I’m afraid that we have rather been invaded.”​

 

 

"I've heard from quite a lot of people what it meant to them as young LGBT people, in their own home, knowing they were gay but maybe not even out, and just felt a little bit empowered by it," concludes Booan.

 

"Things are a lot better than they were in the 1980s, but it hasn't completely changed, and there are very dangerous and serious pockets of homophobia.

 

"We have to be in solidarity with all the communities worldwide, who are in daily fear of their lives."

 

Watch the video in full by clicking here. Thanks to BBC Stories and Ruth Evans. Want to read more on Section 28? Read DIVA staff writer Danielle Mustarde's experiences of Growing Up Under Section 28 here as part of our series of articles on #Section28.

 

 

Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.

 

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