Belfast Telegraph

Let's bury Margaret Thatcher's gay legacy

By Jane Graham

After she died, the nation was invited to bathe in the warm glow of reverential nostalgia for Margaret Thatcher, celebrated by many politicos as the greatest British post-war Prime Minister and, numerous 'insiders' assured us, a surprisingly warm and open-minded woman.

With the dust now settled on her grave however, and reports this week that Clause 28 – one of the most cruel and ignorant laws her government introduced – is making a sneaky comeback, it's worth remembering some of the spectacularly damaging things Margaret Thatcher said.

Clause 28, which banned schools from 'teaching the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship', was staunchly backed by Thatcher, who argued that allowing children to think they had an 'inalienable right to be gay' cheated them of 'a sound start in life'.

This wasn't 60 years ago when ignorance served as a partial excuse for bigotry; there were plenty of voices speaking out against Thatcher in the late 80s. Some in her own party joined tens of thousands protesting in the streets.

The law had many regrettable effects, not least among young kids with 'bad' gay relatives, or those worried they didn't have a right to their own feelings and should instead be ashamed of them, and try to fix them.

You can imagine how it impacted on homophobic bullying.

The news that these attitudes have made a comeback in sex education guidelines in some schools – including many of Michael Gove's beloved academies – is horrifying.

They should stay where Tony Blair's government left them in 2003; dead and buried.

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