Issue 239 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published March 2000 Copyright © Socialist Review

Stack on the back

Have you heard the one about the gays and the bishop?

Pat Stack goes on the offensive against the bigots who back Section 28
Scrap Section 28

Here, for what it's worth, is Stack on the back's view of homosexuality and the promotion thereof. If you find yourself sexually attracted to members of your own gender, then act upon it in just the same way you would if you were attracted to members of the opposite sex. The alternative--suppressing your own natural and perfectly wholesome feelings--can only lead to anguish, misery, and deception of yourself and others.

Now that doesn't seem to me a very daring or dangerous statement. It hardly puts me out on the edge, and if I were a teacher that is precisely what I would tell my pupils. However, thanks to the bigotry of the last Tory government and the current House of Lords, I would be committing a criminal offence if I did so--'promoting homosexuality'.

The fact that the House of Lords remains a bastion of reaction even after most of the inbreds, dimwits and living dead have been chucked out shows just how inadequate New Labour's plans for reform are, but that's a subject for another day. The truth is that this 'promoting' stuff has always intrigued me. How do all these Catholic cardinals, Church of England bishops, Tory MPs and the like see it happening?

Do they envisage teachers getting up and saying, 'You've seen the moustaches, the tidy rooms and neat gardens. Think of the leather bars and the drag queens that await you--all that and lots of sex with lots of partners. Buy your "Glad to be Gay" badge at the end of the lesson and you're in.'

What's more, if these bastions of morality are so sure that heterosexual sex is natural, normal and the only legitimate way for people to form relationships (which they do), why are they so convinced that we're all so vulnerable to this 'deviant, abnormal' activity? They seem to believe that a few understanding words from a teacher would lead us all to go, 'Hmmm, gay sex, never thought about it before... But you know what, since you put it like that I need a man, and I need him right now!'

The truth is that it's all rubbish. This is not a campaign against the promotion of homosexuality, but against gays themselves. Section 28 is a filthy piece of legislation which condemns gays and gay relationships at the same time that it leaves teachers powerless to help schoolkids discovering and coming to terms with their sexuality.

It provides a green light to anti-gay bullies, 'queerbashers' and worse. One only has to look at what was said and who was saying it to understand what lies behind the supporters of the section and opponents of lowering the age of consent. In Scotland in particular the campaign has been at its nastiest, with the loathsome Cardinal Winning likening gays to Hitler's Nazis. In the House of Lords speakers spoke again and again of the danger of not putting heterosexual marriage up there as the right and fitting way for people to live. The Bishop of Blackburn (poor old Blackburn--rotten MP, rotten bishop) explained, 'As a Christian leader I believe that signs and signals are most important. The signs and signals in this case are that homosexual relationships have parity with heterosexual relationships and marriage.'

Lord Longford, no doubt studying the signs and signals, explained that 'homosexuality is against Christian rules, as is any sex outside marriage. Homosexuality can have terrible, tragic results. Whatever else it does, it deprives people of the supreme joy of marriage and children. Helping a young person to become a homosexual means that he will never be married and have children.'

So there you have it. Clearly teachers should be 'helping' young people to be heterosexual, and explaining that if they are not they will be leading a life of perversion and sin, and what's more they will be doomed to a life of misery because gay equals sad, not to mention bad.

Furthermore, if they listen to these moral guardians, teachers should also explain that any relationship that doesn't involve two people parading down a church aisle in white, or at least visiting a registry office in off-white, is not a valid relationship. Then they could add the children of single parent families to their list of victims.

In addition, since, as Lord Longford points out with stirring precision, 'any sex outside marriage is against "Christian rules"', teachers should surely also teach that masturbation is sinful, unnatural, and will leave you with a hearing deficiency and visually impaired.

Meanwhile, Chris Woodhead apparently believes that Section 28 is not harmful and doesn't lead to bullying. Well, if ever there was a man well qualified to comment on sexuality and school students, I guess it's him. According to his wife, he gained his information first hand when he was a teacher by sleeping with one of his students. He did so, of course, merely to promote heterosexuality and, given he was married at the time, he was also promoting marriage. No wonder he's chief inspector of schools.

Two final examples of the sort of moron who has lined up to defend Section 28. The 'journalist' Petronella Wyatt came up with the following well thought out position: 'Section 28 works me up into a hot lather, and I am filled with loathing and disgust for anyone who favours its repeal. I am drowning in a sea of homosexuality.' Amazingly all this venom was, as she admitted, the result of her being dumped by someone who turned out to have a boyfriend.

And Tory MP Christopher Gill, during the debate on the age of consent, asked Jack Straw, 'I wonder whether for the benefit of those of us who've led a sheltered life you would explain the act of buggery?'

Now, parliament is a serious place, and therefore this must be a serious request, so if anybody out there knows the answer perhaps you could drop him a line at the House of Commons.

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