In our four-part podcast series on Queer Activisms, historians, performers, educators and activists take a deep dive into existence and resistance in queer life – past and present.

In this episode on queer education, Elly Robson is joined by Syeda Ali and Nazmia Jamal to discuss how queer lives can be integrated into school curricula and cultures. The history of queer education in the UK has often been one of deliberate silence: a silence that was officially legislated between 1988 and 2003 by Section 28, which made it illegal for schools to ‘promote homosexuality’. In this episode, we explore stories of resistance and trace Section 28’s legacies, including what lessons it might hold for teachers seeking to challenge the Islamophobic Prevent strategy today.

Syeda Ali recently completed her MA in Queer History at Goldsmiths, where she used oral history interviews with former teachers to research her dissertation on teacher resistance to Section 28. She is developing this research to further understand the impact of Section 28 on schools in different areas in the UK. Syeda has taught history in London and Beijing, promoting diversity within the history curriculum, and championing equality and diversity more broadly in school. 


Nazmia Jamal has been teaching English in Sixth Form settings since 2004 with a brief hiatus when she worked at Education Manager at The Poetry Society from 2016-2018. Alongside teaching she was a programmer for several years at London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival – now BFI Flare. She lives and works in Cardiff. Nazmia tweets @houseoflabrys.


To find out more about resources referenced in this podcast, check out Nazmia Jamal’s new LGBT+ poetry resource for the Poetry Society, the Rebel Dykes documentary, and the letter to the Independent in September 2019, titled “The government is hijacking LGBT+ sex education to bolster its counterterrorism strategy”.


You can listen to the other episodes in the Queer Activisms series here:

Queer Joy: Taking Up Space

AIDS and the Politics of Grief

Queer Lives: Public History and the Queer Archive


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