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Galvanising community action against Clause 28


“I was very involved in Birmingham and Aston University Gay Societies; I and a woman, Rachel, decided we needed to do something about , so we produced leaflets and on New Years Eve 1987 when it was going through Parliament, stood outside The , we didn’t go in, but handed out leaflets to people on their way out saying ‘Happy New Year but you need to know that the government are intent on introducing this terrible law and we need to do something about it.’ That galvanised a community response from quite a wide range of people – the students, socialist activists like myself to middle-class people recognising a pernicious attack on our civil liberties, coming together and raising money, going on demos, hiring coaches. We got involved in a lot of the , in Manchester and London, and got adept at making and selling sandwiches on the coach, to pay for the next coach! On a shoestring we were putting together leaflets and literally passing round a bucket at meetings asking people to pay for the next thing. One of the things we did was a book burning, where we mocked up books by lesbian and gay authors and ritually burned them in the square outside .”

“I clearly recall political activity where I was on television speaking out against , probably through the student union; it was a time when we did things as a collective, without hierarchy. My boyfriend then was the only man in a household of lesbians, there were those social networks, I formed social and political networks that endure today. If another section 28 came round today I would dust off my Filofax of 20 years ago and there would be the architecture of a political campaign for the lesbian and gay community. Some of my oldest friends are people I first became aware of because of the work we did together on the campaign”.

Contributed by: Steve Bedser, 41

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