Homosexual Laws

"In Edinburgh, a homosexual man is four times more likely to be attacked than a heterosexual man."

This fact has been iterated so much by the media over the past few weeks that it would be a challenge to find one Scot who could not quote it accurately. One would think that this alarming statistic could be greatly improved if people were educated from an early age in the aspects of homosexuality, and taught, even if not to agree with it, at least to be tolerating towards it. Why, then, is there such an opposition to the repealing of Section 28 of the Local Government Act, a clause which prohibits the "promotion of homosexuality", thereby increasing homophobic prejudice, legitimising the bullying of homosexual and bisexual school pupils, and encouraging hate crimes against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals? Currently, there is a great deal of controversy concerning whether or not this law should be repealed. Is it that this law protects children or encourages ignorance and prejudice?

Section 28 was invented in 1986 by the Conservative Party. The actual wording of Section 28 is as follows:

A local authority shall not:
(1) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality
(2) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.

Those in favour of Section 28 would argue that educating children in matters of homosexuality is morally wrong. They believe that children are extremely susceptible to what they see and hear around them, and that hearing from teachers about homosexuality would encourage them to try it for themselves. Claims have been made that children could be "turned" gay in this way. This would certainly be backed up by the unfortunate Jamie Bulger murder, where two young boys admitting to killing two-year-old Jamie after watching a violent film on television. If the media did not make an impression on people?s minds, advertising companies would go out of business. Another argument is that school pupils learn many things from their teachers, that is the reason that they go to school, so could learning about homosexuality not teach them to be gay?

Firstly, the media can not be blamed for individuals eradicating the blame for their own actions. Religious programming on television has not caused a nationwide surge of Christianity. It is true that advertisements on television and in magazines can have a strong influence on the things we do and by, but how many adverts have you seen where a gay man or woman appears on the screen and says in a voice reminiscent of the child-catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, "Come on kids, it?s great. Why don?t you try it? You might like it." This would be the so-called "promotion" of homosexuality, something completely separate from giving a child a well-balanced education in all areas of modern society?s sexual tendencies.

As for banning the promotion of sexuality in schools, I cannot see that there ever has been any, or that there ever would be any reason to "promote" it. If a child is going to grow up to be an informed individual, they need to be taught all aspects of modern life, including homosexuality as well as heterosexuality. At the moment the government could be accused of the "promotion of heterosexuality," which has not been successful in preventing those who are born gay from continuing to be so. One would think that this would work exactly the same way when reversed; Why should receiving information about homosexuality convert someone who is inherently ?straight? into a raving homosexual?

In spite of the introduction of Section 28, there still exists a thriving gay community, which shows that someone will be who they want to be, whether they are having other people?s beliefs shoved down their throat or not. Surely the government should be able to deduce from this that gays and lesbians who have been brought up in a ?straight? society have not altered their ways of life because of pressure, therefore heterosexuals are not likely to want to turn gay simply because they know that this way of life exists.

Over the past few years, bullying and crimes against people who are different in any way has been a huge problem. The government claims to want to solve this problem, yet enforces bigoted rules like Clause 28 upon us. It is a widely known fact that people are afraid of things