Pretended: Schools and Section 28

Pretended: Schools and Section 28

By Catherine Lee

Published 03 Feb 2023

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Pretended is a vivid historical, political and cultural account of schools and teaching under Section 28, a law that banned schools in the UK from promoting homosexuality as a 'pretended family relationship'.

Catherine Lee was a teacher in schools for each of the 15 years that Section 28 was law (between 1988 and 2003). In Pretended, she considers the landscape for lesbian and gay teachers leading up to, during and after Section 28. Drawing on her diary entries from the Section 28 era, Lee poignantly recalls the challenges and incidents affecting her and thousands of other teachers during this period of state-sanctioned homophobia. She reveals how these diaries led to her involvement in the 2022 feature film Blue Jean, and describes how this unexpected opportunity helped her to make peace with Section 28.

Pretended will resonate with every lesbian and gay teacher who experienced Section 28 and will shock those who previously knew nothing about this law. Crucially, Pretended will explain to those who were lesbian and gay students during Section 28 why they never saw people like them in the curriculum, never had a role model and never had an adult in school to talk to about their identity.
Catherine Lee is professor of inclusive education and leadership and deputy dean at Anglia Ruskin University in the East of England. She is also a National Teaching Fellow in recognition of her work to improve the national landscape in schools and universities.

Before working in higher education, Catherine spent more than 20 years as a teacher, in both inner-city Liverpool and rural Suffolk. She was initially a PE teacher before gaining promotion to learning development and pastoral leadership roles in mainstream schools.

Catherine is passionate about equality and diversity and has published extensively on the theme of LGBTQ+ inclusion. In 2016, working with schools, she set up the UK's first leadership development programme for LGBTQ+ teachers and has supported almost 100 LGBTQ+ teachers to secure school leadership roles.

Catherine has been nominated for a number of national awards for her work in education, including a British Diversity Award and a National Diversity Award. She featured in the 2019 Pride Power List as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK.

Catherine has a number of strategic governance roles in the education and charity sectors, where she uses her national profile in pursuit of inclusive education and to improve the lives of those on the margins.
  • Author Catherine Lee
  • ISBN 9781915261694
  • No. of Pages 276
  • Format Paperback
  • Publication Date 03 Feb 2023