Thirty years ago four gay rights activists invaded the newsroom of the BBC Six O’clock News.
Anchor-woman Sue Lawley was forced to continue with her bulletin with the four women present as they handcuffed themselves to the newsdesk.
The activists were protesting the passing of Section 28, which outlawed the “promotion” of homosexuality in public institutions. Lawley continued to announce the headlines as the activists could be heard crying out “stop Section 28!” Her co-presenter Nicholas Witchell, now a Royal Correspondent, sat on a protester and placed his hand over her mouth.
The activists’ spokeswoman said the invasion was ″a further statement of lesbian defiance″ against the law. The previous year, women protesters abseiled from the public gallery onto the floor of the House of Lords during a debate on the bill.
Section 28 was passed in parliament the following day. Its proponents claimed it was intended to prevent local governments from using taxpayers’ money to teach children that homosexuality was as normal as heterosexuality. Margaret Thatcher, who famously condemned children being told “they have an inalienable right to be gay” was one of the law’s biggest supporters.
Section 28 was eventually repealed in Scotland in 2000, and in England and Wales three years later. Though the after effects of the law can still be felt today, with an entire generation of LGBT+ people growing up feeling repressed in school.