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Section 28 not to be revoked!

(78 Posts)
Jbr Wed 20-Jun-01 18:05:41

And the worse thing is, it seems 49% of "people" (are they human?!) agree it should stay in place. I was very young when Thatcher brought this in, but I don't understand how it was made law without anyone demonstrating against it.

Winnie Wed 20-Jun-01 18:27:06

Jbr, people did demonstrate against it. I was one of those people and I agree wholeheartedly with you! It is draconian! The fact that section 28 remains is a disgrace to this labour government!! Where does the 49% figure come from? I am appalled by that figure but not entirely surprised. Many straight people who claim not to be homophobic don't want their children 'exposed' to so called 'gay and lesbian propaganda'!! It is truly appalling and it is a side of this society I personally loathe!

Jbr Wed 20-Jun-01 21:20:37

It couldn't have been on as big a scale as the poll tax though!

What started it was a book written by a Dutch woman. She wrote about a little girl and her 2 dads; normal in Holland, but seen as a scandal here!

I do despair sometimes! No dobut we will hear "I'm not prejudiced but..." from someone now!

Peaches Wed 20-Jun-01 21:25:33

This may sound really dumb but what is section 28?

Tigger Thu 21-Jun-01 08:26:48

I for one do not want my 5 year old taught about homosexuality in school. GO ON SHOOT ME DOWN, but that is the way i feel, the same as the Sexual Abuse Issue, they want to start giving discussions on that in the Primary Schools as well. I do not agree with this, that is my personal view and I wouldn't impose it on anyone else, but I know the majority of parents in our Primary School do not want Section 28 removed or Sexual Abuse discussed with their children. Cardinal Thomas Winning, who died recently campaigned tirelessly to keep section 28 in place, I am not and let me say not against homosexuality, I just don't want my 5 year old being taught it in school.

Batters Thu 21-Jun-01 08:52:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Croppy Thu 21-Jun-01 09:15:24

ISn't it the word "Promote" which is the sticking point for Section 28? This word has connotations of advancing the cause which goes beyong informing and educating.

Jayc Thu 21-Jun-01 10:14:59

Croppy, the problem is that teachers are afraid that any attempt to inform or educate may be taken as promotion. There are grey areas. For example, is presenting homosexuality as a legitimate option promoting it? Section 28 should be consigned to the past. Apart from anything else (and there is so much else!) it is ridiculous, in the name of building a family centred society, to exclude children from non-traditional families by not recognizing the existence their existence.

Tigger Thu 21-Jun-01 12:15:29

Batters I think it is up to the parent(s)/guardians to inform their children of Sexuality etc. yes things have changed over the years, but I want to inform my children, I don't want it done in a classroom, children have so many questions, and there is more to it than being told in a classroom. Far more to it, and what is wrong with people wanting Section 28 to stay in place?, this is a very strong issue and I do accept that all aspects have to be covered. I will tell my children when I feel it is the right time.

Croppy Thu 21-Jun-01 12:18:18

I agree with that Jayc but I still think the use of the word "promote" is too strong particularly when taking into account people's religious views. Has a teacher ever been prosecuted for educating / informing on homosexuality?

Snowy Thu 21-Jun-01 12:44:18

I have taught sex education to 12/13 yr olds and my message is, parents, get there first. All teaching is coloured by your own experince so govt guidlines can only ever be a guide.

I refused to tolerate prejudice in my classroom of any kind, if a parent didn't like what i said no one complained.

The big problem is the majority of children are violently homophobic, at the moment many teachers ignore this. To front it up and say prejudice is wrong leaves you exposed to section 28. That is why it needs to be removed. While it is still in place it is a charter for homophobic bullying - no one wants that do they????

I was supposed to 'promote' marriage as the ideal while clearly unmarried and 7 month pregnant. I didn't.

On children being taught about homosexuality, I have no problems with that. What does worry me is when people link homosexuality to sexual abuse....

Batters Thu 21-Jun-01 13:18:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bugsy Thu 21-Jun-01 13:48:27

This is such a difficult issue. We are all entitled to hold our own views on how people live their lives and if we were all tolerant of other people's choices then there would be no need for schools to have to touch on this subject at all. However, this is not the case and schools are responsible for educating our children. I am concerned at what age my child is going to be told about different forms of sexuality. How does a teacher respond to "How is sex between a man and a woman and two men different?" from an under 10 year old? How much biology are we going to explain? I think that some children may find the details of homosexual sex quite disturbing. Afterall alot of kids find male female sex quite yukky when it is first explained.
I have no answers to this myself. How do other countries handle these issues?

Sml Thu 21-Jun-01 13:53:54

I wouldn't want any of my children to enter into a relationship, whether homo or heterosexual, involving anal sex, and that almost by definition excludes male homosexuality. Therefore I wouldn't want this presented as an equivalent alternative to heterosexuality in the classroom.

Anal sex is dirty, involving close contact with human faeces, also it causes more injury (bleeding etc, that is why AIDS spreads faster when anal sex is involved). It is also time-wasting, as it can never lead to having children.

Isn't it marvellous, by relentless propaganda, to get yourself to the situation where any criticism of your behaviour is deemed to be homophobic prejudice?

Croppy Thu 21-Jun-01 14:10:06

Totally agree SML, not wanting homosexuality actively "promoted" to your children has nothing to do with homophobia. Sorry, but I think it is up to teachers to present the facts, not to decide whether something is "legitimate".

Bugsy Thu 21-Jun-01 14:20:03

Golly gosh SML, some fairly strong views there. I take issue with your comments about sex between two men being a waste of time because it never produces children. By implication you are suggesting that sex is for producing children and I think that there is more to it than that. Are you suggesting that an elderly couple shouldn't have sex because they are no longer fertile, or that an infertile couple should not have sex either? Surely these people are not "wasting their time" they are enjoying each other's company in a physically intimate way.

Janem Thu 21-Jun-01 14:37:45

SML, a couple of things. First, anal sex is not the definition of homosexuality. They are two different things. Apart from the fact that not all gay men have anal sex, what about lesbians? They are homosexual too.

You won't have any choice over the types of relationships your children have as adults, and certainly not over the kinds of sex they have. Do you truly believe that they are less likely to be gay if they don't hear any classroom discussion of it in school? The fact is they will hear about it in school, from the other kids in the form of name-calling and so on.

Remember that some of the kids in the classrooms in questions are growing up homosexual themselves. If this was your child, and the other kids were taunting them, calling them names etc, would you want the teacher to be able to rationally discuss the issue with the class, or give tacit support to the bullying by staying silent for fear of being seen to "promote" homosexuality by saying it's OK for people to be gay. How is that going to make the child feel? And if the only information they have on the topic is from mum, who may think homosexuality is "dirty", is that going to help?

The question I suppose is do we as a society want a law on the statute books that stigmatizes one section of society and calls their relationships "pretended"? This is what section 28 does.

Batters Thu 21-Jun-01 14:52:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Croppy Thu 21-Jun-01 15:01:33

Personally, I wouldn't have any problem at all if one of my children turned out to be gay as long as they were happy. Still doesn't mean that I want a teacher actively promoting homosexuality to them.

Sml Thu 21-Jun-01 15:15:49

Sorry, should have clarified the comment about time-wasting: I was refering to over a lifetime. May not matter to some people, but it would to me.

Janem, if you read what my posting actually says you will not find that I am against being homosexual per se.

Batters, why are my views deemed to be very strong? can it be because they are different from the fashionable norm? Also, I am not prescribing what my children will do, I am merely saying what I think is best, which is not the same thing.

Janem Thu 21-Jun-01 15:44:42

Croppy, I suppose the question would be what does actively promoting mean. Does it mean saying it is better than heterosexuality? Does it mean saying it's OK? This is the interpretation that councils have generally followed, with the result that the topic is not mentioned at all.

Research from South Bank university showed that an effect of this is that schools stay silent in the face of bullying and that all pupils suffer as a result. To quote from a report on the research:

The problem was explored in in-depth confidential interviews with teachers. "Because they do not know how to comply with section 28, they err on the side of caution. As a result, they choose to ignore homophobic harassment and bullying whenever possible. This creates a permissive environment in which pupils believe they can, and do, get away with it," said Debbie Epstein who led the interviews. "Boys struggle to avoid being called gay, poofter, bumboy, queer or whatever the local term is. Boys who work hard are often labelled as gay and this may deter them."

Great result.

Another point about the legislation is that the famous "promote" phrase is not all it says. It goes on:

(1) A local authority shall not- (b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.

Again, this declares open season on kids who have a gay parent (and there are many). If another kid starts up with a "your dad's a queer" there is little a teacher can do. They certainly can't say that the kid's family is just as good or acceptable as anyone elses. It's against the law.

This idea that lots of children are just waiting to be turned gay by teaching in schools strikes me as just mad. Most research suggests these things are just fixed, if not at birth then in very early childhood. The idea that secondary school teachers will influence it is just insane. To be slightly lighthearted about it, and if my school was anything to go by, some naffo teacher in leather elbow pads "promoting" a lifestyle to you would more likely have the opposite effect....

Snowy Thu 21-Jun-01 15:45:07

The question seems to be over the word 'promote', if you know a child in the class has gay parents and the other children use this to bully them, how do you prevent the bullying without 'promoting' it as the norm?

How should a teacher not present it as an eqivalent? "Yes johnny your right Fred's parents relationship is not as good as your mummy and daddys"

Schools should teach about sex but parents should do it first, in more depth and according to their own beliefs, but please allow for differences we are not all the same thank god.

Croppy Thu 21-Jun-01 15:54:44

Thanks Janem - I have actually never seen it in full. It does put a different slant on it. I looked up "promote" in the OED and it defines it as "advance" or "preferment". I felt uncomfortable with this in connection with sexuality in a school environment. But as I say, seeing the full statement makes me feel a lot more relaxed.

Winnie Thu 21-Jun-01 16:11:44

Can all of those amongst us who think section 28 should stay put themselves in the shoes of a teenager questioning their sexuality just for one minute. Not only does it feel like the world is against you but the law actually is, and you certainly can't talk to a teacher about how you are feeling, teachers have to be extremely careful with regards to saying anything on this subject. Amnesty has campaigned against Section 28 it is an infringement of human Rights! As for what is 'normal' if you are lesbian, homosexual or bisexual that IS normal for you! And yes I agree linking sexuality with sexual abuse is ridiculous!

Jbr Thu 21-Jun-01 17:31:16

I knew it, I just knew we would get "I'm not prejudiced but..."

It is normal to be gay just as it is normal to be straight. Far from homosexuality being promoted it is heterosexuality that gets promoted as being better, when it isn't. It's all equal.

Sex education is a joke though I must say. I had that at school when I was 12 in 1987 and HIV wasn't even mentioned. How useless is that?! And we were only told about men and women as well. I thought it was just the teachers being slack, it never occurred to me they didn't mention bi-sexuality and homosexuality because they weren't allowed to.

Also, it is widely accepted now that the anus is a natural sex organ (honestly, I read it on a legitimate health website) and it is ok when practiced properly. Not that I am interested in that, but I laugh when people assume it's a gay thing or all gay men must do that. A woman was on the radio the other day on a phone in and her brother died of AIDS. The presented asked how he got it, and she said he was gay. I thought "being gay did not give him HIV".

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