Glasgow filmmakers to make documentary about those silenced by Section 28


Two Glasgow-based production companies hope to inform a whole new generation about a dark chapter in Scottish LGBT+ history with a new documentary.

The documentary, set to begin production later this year, hopes to tell the stories of the generation of LGBT+ people who have been silenced by Section 28.

Don’t Say Gay will combine interviews, archival footage, animation and first-person memorabilia – revealing the hidden impact of Section 28. Legislation came into effect in 1988, banning the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities, and remained in place until 2000 in Scotland while remaining in England and Wales until 2003.

READ MORE – ‘Meet me at The Knob’ – The history of Glasgow’s gay scene and the famous White Hats

Glasgow Live spoke to director Sarah Drummond, who told us why now is the time for a documentary like this.

She said: “We’re seeing a lot of negative headlines right now that reflect things from the 80s.

“I think we’re seeing the government flip-flop, it’s almost the same thing happening at a different time. Another reason I wanted to make this film was the London-centric view that the effects and the Protests against Section 28 seem to have taken place, when this was truly a pan-British effort.

Signs used to protest against Article 28 (Image: Women’s Library Archive)

Uncovering the untold stories of Section 28 outside of London is something Sarah wants to pursue with the documentary, including Scottish supporters of the Keep the Clause campaign. The campaign hoped to resist the repeal of Section 28 and was funded by several private individuals as well as Scottish businessman Brian Souter.

Sarah continued: “There is certainly a lot of that that is from the Scottish angle, the issue was really national. I found protest letters from Inverness in the archives, and discovered stories of the Glasgow chapter of the Lesbian Avengers protesting outside Mitchell Library in 1995.”

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The idea for the film has been with Sarah for a long time, she told us: “I guess I’ve had the idea for about 5 or 6 years. I only discovered Article 28 when I was 30 years old.

Members of the Glasgow Lesbian Avengers march in 1995 (Image: Women's Library Archive)
Members of the Glasgow Lesbian Avengers march in 1995 (Image: Women’s Library Archive)

“I went to the British Film Institute Flare Film Festival and saw this very short documentary that just mentioned Section 28, and my jaw dropped. I walked out and thought, what was it?

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Although many people may not know what Section 28 is all about, the effects have been felt across the country. Dominic Arnall, CEO of LGBT+ charity Just Like Us, said: “Unfortunately we are still seeing the Section 28 hangover.

“Half of students said in Just Like Us independent research that they received little or no positive messaging about being LGBT+ at their school. LGBT+ students are twice as likely to experience bullying. bullying, being lonely and suffering from depression, but research has also found that there is a link between LGBT+ inclusive education and students having better mental health – clearly education is where we must change.

Protesters take a stand against Section 28 (Image: Belinda Price)
Protesters take a stand against Section 28 (Image: Belinda Price)

The team behind Don’t Say Gay is launching a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which will go live on June 28. After being rejected for funding through other avenues, Sarah thinks this avenue is best – telling us, “Why not go to the LGBT+ community and allies first? We’re ready to go, we have just need the money – I just think it’s a community funded film, made by the community and for the community.

Karen O’Hare, producer behind the documentary, agreed. She said: “By supporting this Kickstarter campaign, people will enable us to make this film and the film itself will promote equality and understanding for LGBT+ lives in the past, present and future.”

If you want to learn more about the project or donate to the Don’t Say Gay Kickstarter, click here.


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