Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister, had a mixed record on gay rights.
In the 1980s, she supported Section 28 of the Local Government Act, which prohibited local authorities from promoting homosexuality or presenting it as a “pretended family relationship” in schools. This legislation was widely seen as discriminatory and harmful to the LGBTQ+ community.
However, towards the end of her time as Prime Minister, Thatcher did begin to shift her views on homosexuality. In 1987, she expressed support for a report by the Church of England that called for the decriminalization of homosexuality. And in 1989, she appointed the openly gay Chris Smith as a minister in her government.
It is also worth noting that Thatcher’s government played a significant role in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the 1980s, providing funding for research and treatment, and promoting public awareness campaigns.
Was the Thatcher Government anti-gay?
Thatcher’s government’s support for Section 28 of the Local Government Act, which prohibited local authorities from promoting homosexuality in schools, is often seen as having a harmful impact on LGBTQ+ young people.
Section 28 was introduced in 1988, and it was not repealed until 2003. During that time, many LGBTQ+ children and young people were left without support and resources, as teachers and school administrators were afraid to discuss issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Overall, while Thatcher’s record on gay rights was certainly not perfect, it is not accurate to say that she was uniformly anti-gay. Like many politicians, her views on these issues evolved over time, and her legacy in this area is complex.