Outrageous!: The Story of Section 28 and Britain’s Battle for LGBT Education (Hardcover)

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Outrageous!: The Story of Section 28 and Britain’s Battle for LGBT Education (Hardcover)


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A personal and impassioned history of the infamous Section 28, the 1988 UK law banning the teaching “of the acceptability of homosexuality.”
On May 23, 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 papers would announce: “Beeb Man Sits on Lesbian.”
The next day Section 28 passed into UK law, forbidding local authorities from the teaching “of 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 its 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, Outrageous! is an impassioned, warm, often moving account of unthinkable prejudice enshrined within the law and of the power of community to overcome it.
Paul Baker is professor of English language at Lancaster University. His books include American and British English; with Jo Stanley, Hello Sailor!; and Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language, the last also published by Reaktion Books.
Product Details ISBN: 9781789145618
ISBN-10: 1789145619
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: March 7th, 2022
Pages: 336
“I loved Baker's previous book, Fabulosa!. Now he has written this engaging history of Section 28, the act that forbade local authorities from teaching ‘the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretend family relationship.’ Interweaving elements of memoir, it charts how the press fanned the flames around the act, and how protestors fought to bring about the repeal of the law in the 2000s.”
— The Bookseller

“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 surprising, smart, funny, and beautifully written book. Equal parts memoir and cultural history, it tells a detailed and deeply personal story of grassroots LGBT activism and everyday queer life in the United Kingdom over the past thirty years.”
— Jason Baumann, editor of “The Stonewall Reader”

“Blowing the lid off a circus of sanctimony with flair, enormous heart, and an eye for the absurd, this indispensable history reads like a madcap caper—reaffirming Baker as an expert malarkey decoder, hope detector amid calamity rubble, and dab had at the queer deep dive.”
— Jeremy Atherton Lin, author of “Gay Bar"

“The entirely pleasing thought that Outrageous! will be stocked in school libraries is a satisfying slap in the face to the battle-bus of bigots who thought Section 28 was a good idea in the first place. . . . A lovely conversational social history.”
— Paul Flynn, author of “Good As You”