Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
Richard "Spike" Munro
Updated: Jun 23, 2020
I had a homophobic boss at the school where I had taught for twenty-three years and during Clause 28. I hated Thatcher, we all did. I think Andrew Neil was the editor of the Scotsman at that time and he also had it in for teachers. In fact, it was probably due in part to him that the we all stopped reading the rag. I was angry at the imposition of Clause 28, especially given that I was a Drama teacher exploring a variety of themes and topics through improvisation and role play. There was nothing on the curriculum to educate pupils on homosexuality and that suited some teachers who were intrinsically prejudiced, even a Guidance teacher who once did a 'limp wrist' gesture, behind my back, when i was teaching some girls etiquette and movement, in a Dickens musical play. Personally, I rarely ever experienced direct, face-to-face discrimination, but I have the feeling that being gay may have hindered promotion.
I was nonetheless determined to explore a variety of relationships and lifestyles through drama during the Clause 28 period. In fact, I had a group of fourth-year pupils who decided to explore a menage-à-trois situation involving three girls. They performed the improvisation in front of a moderator who was very impressed by their sensitivity and portrayal of the characters. As Standard Grade Drama developed over the years, I was progressively irritated that there were no Scottish plays dealing with LGBT themes. As much as I love The Steamie and Men Should Weep I was looking for something pithy and gritty that might shine a light on people like me and also help young LGBT people, as well.
Thatcher would have hated the idea of Civil Partnerships. She was a twisted, sad, old dame, who was at home with Jimmy Saville and she covered up scandals around MPs like Cyril Smith. She was complicit in all of that. It's quite ironic that this happened on her watch and had she one iota of compassion, common sense and emotional intelligence, then Clause 28 would never have seen the light of day.
i havent written any poems on the theme of Clause 28. In those days, I wasn't writing anything. Teaching strangled all my creativity - such an exhausting job. The homophobic Head teacher who tried to have me dismissed was trawling public toilets and gay saunas. The Head Boy at the time told me he had caught him in flagrante delicto, in a sauna cubicle. I went on to write a series of short plays on the theme of people living double lives, which I was work-shopping with The Luvvies, an LGBT Edinburgh-based theatre group.