Outrageous! The Story of Section 28 and Britain’s Battle for LGBT Education

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Outrageous! The Story of Section 28 and Britain’s Battle for LGBT Education

By Paul Baker

‘Baker’s chatty, tart tone and personal asides serve to throw the heady extremes of a not-so-distant era into even sharper relief.’ – BBC History Magazine

‘Peppered with wry asides and anecdotes.’ – History Revealed magazine

‘An important and fascinating deep dive into one of the most damaging pieces of legislation in modern history.’ – Matthew Todd, author of Straight Jacket and Pride

‘A lovely conversational social history.’ – Paul Flynn, author of Good As You

On 23 May 1988, Paul Baker sat down with his family to eat cake on his sixteenth birthday while The Six O’Clock News played in the background. But something was not quite right. There was muffled shouting – ‘Stop Section 28!’ – and a scuffle. The morning papers would announce: ‘Beeb Man Sits on Lesbian’.

The next day Section 28 passed into law, forbidding local authorities from teaching ‘the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’. It would send shockwaves through British society, silencing gay pupils and teachers while galvanizing mass protests and the formation of the LGBTQ+ rights groups OutRage! and Stonewall.

Outrageous! tells the full story: the background to the Act, how the press fanned the flames and what politicians said during debates, how protestors fought back to bring about the repeal of the law in the 2000s, and its eventual legacy. Based on detailed research, interviews with key figures – including Ian McKellen, Michael Cashman and Angela Mason – and personal recollection, it is an impassioned, warm, often moving account of unthinkable prejudice enshrined within law, and of the power of community to overcome it.

Hardback book
328 pages

Published by Reaktion Books.