2001 Leeds Student Interview Reveals May’s Support for Section 28
An interview from a 2001 edition of The Gryphon, then called the Leeds Student, has been rediscovered showing the Prime Minister’s support for section 28 – the legislation which prevented the “promotion of homosexuality in schools”. May said that “most parents want the comfort of knowing section 28 is there” going on to state “no headteacher has commented to me that they are not able to deal with homophobic bullying”. This was stated in response to reports showing that section 28 directly prohibited teachers from being able to welcome LGBTQ students and prevent their bullying.
Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 ensured that a local authority or school could not “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”. The HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s fuelled hatred towards the LGBTQ community, with 75% calling homosexuality “wrong” in a 1987 British Attitudes survey. Due to block support from the National Union of Miners a resolution was passed at the 1985 Labour conference to ensure that the party would actively seek to criminalise discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
In 2002 David Cameron made repeated attacks on the Labour government on their plans to abolish Section 28, calling then Prime Minister Blair “anti-family”. He apologised for these comments as leader of the Conservative Party in 2009. May also voted against same-sex adoption and against equalising the age of consent. Since 2001 the Prime Minister has shown to change her mind and become more supporting of LGBTQ causes. In a statement released to PinkNews she apologised and said that her and her party were “wrong on these issues in the past”.
Second year English Literature and queer student Ellie Golding said that “Only 16 years ago she was publicly in favour of section 28, this interview clearly shows how false Cameron and Mays new Tory ‘social liberalism’ is”.