Nadhim Zahawi sparks Section 28 fears as he vows to ‘protect children from inappropriate nonsense’
Nadhim Zahawi sparked fears of a second Section 28 ahead of his official announcement to become the next Tory leader.
The former education secretary-turned chancellor is hoping to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, bringing his enormous wealth as a multi-millionaire and experience handling the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out into the race.
But in seeking to win over the 100,000 Conservative Party members who will vote for the next leader, Zahawi will flex his culture war muscles when he officially launches his campaign Monday (11 July).
He will say: “I will also continue to focus on letting children be children, protecting them from damaging and inappropriate nonsense being forced on them by radical activists.”
LGBTQ+ Twitter users scrambled to raise the alarm at the cabinet minister’s remarks, with many comparing his pledge to Section 28.
At a time when the AIDS epidemic had seized Britain, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in 1988 introduced Section 28, banning teaching that “promoted homosexuality” and the “acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.
More than three decades later, Britain has backslid when it comes to LGBTQ+ equality. ILGA-Europe’s continental ranking of LGBTQ+ rights ranked Britain at 14th, having fallen four places in a single year.
So LGBTQ+ users had their reasons to be on edge.
The next few weeks are going to be a terrifying thing for trans people.
So many potential future PMs are going to (or already have begun) sabre rattle restrictions on trans people including a potential new section 28.
These actions alone will cause significant anxiety
— What The Trans!? (WhatThetrans.com) (@WhatTheTrans) July 9, 2022
"Protecting children" from "nonsense being forced on them by radical activists" sounds very reminiscent of Section 28. https://t.co/15l4lt9h2H
— LGBT+ Glitterati (@LGBTglitterati) July 9, 2022
Zahawi bringing back Section 28 I see.
This Tory campaign is going to be a very very difficult time for the LGBTQ community. https://t.co/K9iKDRaMp0
— Jack Duncan 🔻 🏳️🌈 (@JackDunc1) July 9, 2022
The only “radical activists” threatening our children are the Tories themselves, the “damaging and inappropriate nonsense” threatening our children with are with Tory policies that are happening right now, like depriving kids of food and education, or rehashing Section 28 https://t.co/t5WJGLyF8B
— ✨ Dean Tāne ✨ (@Maccadaynu) July 9, 2022
“Protecting children” this alone makes me uncomfortable.
Nadhim is part of a party that vilified an entire community in the name of “protecting children” which lead to children being systematically abused by the very people meant to look after them.
I know, because I was one. https://t.co/yjJ2fkBxKE
— Richie Barlow #Woke #FBPE 🏴🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@The_DogWalker) July 10, 2022
It's not an exaggeration to say Section 28 almost killed me. I felt so ashamed and alone that I contemplated ending it all when I was just 15.
We *cannot* ever allow this hateful shit to ever become policy again. https://t.co/R5uvyBjHR6
— Craig Law 🏳️🌈🏴 (@djcraiglaw) July 9, 2022
Zahawi’s leadership speech, an extract of which was published in The Spectator Saturday night, came only hours after London Trans+ Pride came to an end.
Thousands of trans folk and allies poured into the streets of the capital as countless called on the government to stop taking aim at trans people.
After all, in his capacity as education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi suggested in April that teachers should out trans students to their parents and guardians.
He said the Department for Education is developing guidance alongside equalities watchdog the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on how to “deal” with trans young people.
Zahawi said the guidelines will “safeguard” children with a focus on parents as well as single-sex spaces, such as toilets and changing rooms.
PinkNews contacted Nadhim Zahawi for comment.