Back in May 1988, the Thatcher government in the UK, published the controversial Section 28 to the Local Government Act, which required that local councils “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”
Intended as a fightback against the growing AIDS epidemic, the legislation was rightly criticised as an affront to the gay community, from a government that seemed more eager to brush health issues under the carpet than legitimately address them.
To coincide with its introduction, and tapping into the nascent rave culture of the time, Boy George released one of his most powerful singles, No Clause 28, one of the only acid house protest songs in existence (barring VIM’s Maggie’s Last Party, perhaps?), and a direct attack on the-then right-wing government’s policies.
As you can see, the lyrics are highly emotive:
“They talk about AIDS they call it a curse
But brothers we know it’s gonna get worse
You know you won’t cure it with TV campaigns
Or telling those mothers what to put in their veins
I’m telling you suckers start using your heads
By putting the money in hospital beds”
It being 1988, the video also features some very excellent freaky dancing.
Looking back on the track in 2012, Dangerous Minds noted that the release of Clause 28 in many ways “saw the cohesion of Britain’s modern gay rights movement. Aside from Boy George, many big name celebrities spoke out about Clause 28, such as Ian McKellen, beloved One Foot in the Grave actress Annette Crosbie, Helen Mirren, Jane Horrocks and comics great, Alan Moore.”
Section 28 remained in place until 2003, when it was eventually rescinded, Scotland having abolished it three years earlier, in 2000.
[Kudos to TheNouveauxdecadence for the Youtube Upload]