Today marks the 30th anniversary of another protest against Section 28 – the brilliant ‘Never Going Underground’ demonstration in Manchester, England.
Conservative MPs and their friends in the media continued to make up poisonous lies against us to justify this homophobic legislation. Meanwhile, leaders of the national Labour Party sat on their hands, scared to condemn Section 28 in case they got bad Press.
But ‘Never Going Underground’ was yet another extraordinary demonstration that our communities were having none of it! At least 20,000 travelled from around the UK to make their voices heard. It followed a demonstration in London in January, called at short notice yet still attracting 12,000 people
As the march flooded into Albert Square, Graham Stringer, the Leader of Manchester’s Labour Council welcomed the marchers:
“This is the largest national demonstration there has been in Manchester in the last 20 years and we are very proud of it … We’re told by the police that there are 12–15,000 people here, though given the police aren’t the most numerate people we’re still counting. We think there are about 20,000 people.”
The reference to the police was, in part, reference to Manchester’s Chief Constable, notorious homophobe James Anderton.
Stringer was followed by a range of other speakers, ranging from singers Tom “Glad to be Gay” Robinson and Jimmy Somerville to actors Ian McKellen, Sue Johnston and Michael Cashman. Cashman told the crowd:
“There’s been a lot of talk about the money that is spent to ‘promote’ homosexuality… In a civilised society it shouldn’t be necessary to spend money to promote equality. Because that’s all we want. Equality. Nothing more.”
The following video covers the rally in great detail. It’s an hour long but, as well as capturing the various speeches and songs, it also managed to convey the determination of our communities.