Good Causes

LGBTQ+ drama Blue Jean highlights stigmatising Section 28 laws

Georgia Oakley was born in 1988, the year after Margaret Thatcher won a record third term as Britain’s Prime Minister. That same year a group of lesbian activists abseiled into the House of Lords from the public gallery in protest at Section 28, a new law banning “the promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities across the UK.

Now, 35 years later, Georgia – an award-winning screenwriter and short film director – has set her first feature film against the backdrop of the stigmatising Section 28 laws. Blue Jean, a powerful psychological drama about a lesbian PE teacher, will be released in UK cinemas on 10th February 2023, during LGBTQ+ History Month and 20 years since the repeal of Section 28.

The film’s protagonist is Jean (Rosy McEwen; Vesper, Close to Me) who keeps her sexuality a secret from her fellow teachers for fear of losing her job. Jean’s closeted lifestyle is a source of irritation for her girlfriend Viv (Kerrie Hayes; Nowhere Boy), an out-and-proud lesbian and gay rights activist. The arrival of a new girl at school (Lucy Halliday), catalyses a crisis that will challenge Jean to her core.

Blue Jean, which was made with the help of funding made possible by National Lottery players, is a very personal project for Georgia. She said, “The culture of silence propagated by this law had devastating effects on my generation. My motivation for telling Jean’s story stems from a personal understanding of internalised homophobia, as well as a desire to give voice to those forgotten teachers who battled stigma and defamation under Section 28.”

Blue Jean has already won 4 British Independent Film Awards including Best Lead Performance for Rosy McEwen and Best Supporting Performance for Kerrie Hayes. It also picked up the People’s Choice Award at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for the Sutherland Award for the most original and imaginative directorial debut at the 2022 BFI London Film Festival.

Georgia said, “I’m fed up with everyone saying how far we’ve come, when insidious, homophobic laws like this still exist across the globe. The legacy of Section 28 is alive and well, and it’s just one example of horrific institutionalised homophobia that LGBTQ+ communities have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.”

Watch the Blue Jean trailer below.

8th February 2023

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