February 2017 – Never Going Underground flag, 2013

Never Going Underground flag, 2013

Up until 50 years ago, many homosexual acts were illegal, punishable by imprisonment.

Following years of campaigning by individuals, community activists and some Members of Parliament, homosexual acts in England and Wales between men aged over 21 were decriminalised by the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. The Act represented the first legal measure against discrimination on the basis of sexuality.

However, in 1988 the Conservative government passed a controversial amendment to the Local Government Act (1986): ‘Section 28’ (or Clause 28). It prevented local authorities from ‘promoting’ homosexually and schools from teaching homosexuality as being acceptable within the context of a family relationship.

This flag was produced in 2013 to commemorate a demonstration in Manchester in 1988 attended by over 20,000 people protesting against Section 28. The North West Campaign for Lesbian and Gay Equality (NWCLGE) adapted the London Underground logo and coupled it with the slogan ‘Never Going Underground’. It represented the increasing confidence in lesbian and gay communities that their sexuality should not remain hidden or ‘underground’.

Campaigning continued until Section 28 was repealed in 2000 in Scotland and in 2003 in the rest of the UK.

The flag is not currently on display, however you can make an appointment to view it by emailing collections@phm.org.uk.