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Stonewall would like your backing for a campaign about homophobic language in schools: what do you think?

(98 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 22-Oct-13 10:48:32

Hello

The campaigning organisation Stonewall, with whom we've done a bit of work in the past, is asking whether Mumsnet can give its collective support to a new campaign about the use of homophobic language by schoolchildren, and the way that schools deal with this problem. As ever, we'd like to know what you think about adding Mumsnet's voice to this.

The central issue is around the pejorative use by children of words and phrases like 'gay' and 'you're so gay': whether schools recognise such language as homophobic, whether they take appropriate steps to tackle it, and whether children in schools are given appropriate and clear guidance about the unacceptability of this sort of language. The campaign will concentrate on working with schools to give training and support where necessary.

The campaign hasn't launched yet, and Stonewall doesn't want to give away all its campaign tactics before the launch (understandably), but if you have any specific questions about the methods and aims of the campaigns, let us know and we'll see if we can get answers for you.

Please do also use this thread to let us know what you think about Mumsnet officially getting behind this one.

Thanks,
MNHQ

snowbuddy Sat 23-Nov-13 22:02:55

Great idea! Totally behind it. I work in a school and have always challenged this language and I always put a firm stop to my own children using such language when they were small. Just as well, as my son came out in his 20's and I had no idea he was gay. I don't think he had an idea either until hitting puberty.

BTW dd's teacher last year wouldn't accept any slang, taught the children the proper meanings of all slang words.

I've heard my ds7 and dd10 using 'gay' to describe negative things. I'm guilty of not telling them that it's not appropriate language even though I hear loads of kids in their class saying it. Will try and discuss it sensitively acknowledging the problems of them just copying what other especially older children say.

TheRealYellowWiggle Mon 18-Nov-13 14:01:38

Link to campaign here, I think.
www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_for_all/quick_links/9291.asp?dm_i=FBX,1ZCLV,5RUQB6,74KQ9,1

TheRealYellowWiggle Mon 18-Nov-13 13:59:26

It doesn't have to be about sex ed at all, though, it is about every teacher establishing zero tolerance for homophobic language, and ensuring students know why. We don't accept racist language; they know that is the case in maths or English or wherever - not just in a class specifically about racism.

blueberryupsidedown Mon 18-Nov-13 13:02:22

I'm not against that kind of campain, but WHO is it targetting? Children? Teachers? Schools? Parents?

I don't trust that schools currently have the necessary 'tools' to shelter children from the use of a derogatory, homophobe language. Personally, I think that sex ed in this country is pretty useless, and I have regular chats with my children about boys falling in love with boys and girls falling in love with girls as being something we should all respect. No sex there, no need to go into any sexual details. It's about relationships, not sex. I think that schools are afraid of talking about this because they feel they can only approach it from a 'sex ed' perspective.

nellieellie Wed 13-Nov-13 14:09:49

Totally in favour

doorkeeper Fri 08-Nov-13 23:43:23

I'd totally get behind this.

(kim147 - I also agree with your general point, but that's not transphobic language, that's misogynistic language, as it posits being like a girl as the worst thing to be.)

HowDelightful Wed 06-Nov-13 12:48:13

Great idea. Our primary school head is gay so homophobic language not tolerated, obviously, and the older children all know. Oddly enough, when he joined us he got more abuse from parents than the children...

Retropear Wed 06-Nov-13 09:56:04

I also wonder if homophobic language has an impact on literacy re boys ie if they're not into football and love reading,writing,art etc boys are more likely to suffer from homophobic language.

Reading is seen as not cool,girly.

I wonder if such a campaign would have an impact on literacy levels.

TheIggorcist Tue 05-Nov-13 22:58:19

So, is it going to N.Ireland (GB wide doesn't include..)? I would disagree with the poster who said it wouldn't wash there, though I know exactly what she means, but that just isn't acceptable - schools have a duty to try to tackle all forms of bullying, for example, so cannot ignore homophobic bullying (and language is a part of that). Ultimately an LEA could be taken to court for allowing a student to be harassed, surely they don't want that.
Something needs to happen to make it appealing for Catholic schools, not sure what though sad

kim147 Mon 04-Nov-13 20:11:23

I know Stonewall is an LGB organisation but it would be useful if they could look at transphobic language.

You act like / kick like a girl. There's nothing wrong with a boy acting "like a girl" or vice versa.

I think it's really important. I told the head at primary school when some of DCs' friends used 'gay' as an insult in yr 2 and 4, but felt she didn't really have a good way to challenge it. I think support for teachers would be great on this one.

Chocrock Mon 04-Nov-13 18:59:21

Absolutely, yes its a great idea and about time....gay has become a word to describe just about everything that's perceived of as bad or not cool in junior/primary aged kids which is very sad.

Weegiemum Argentina Mon 04-Nov-13 18:51:46

It's very important, but as many schools are lagging behind on sexist, anti-religious or sectarian, disab list language I feel a specifically anti-homophobic campaign is too selective.

I'd get behind an anti-hate-speech proposal, though.

NewtRipley Mon 04-Nov-13 18:47:55

Have Stonewall contacted Stoke Newington School, London?

They developed a training course for teachers a few years ago, and each year celebrate LGBT week

MoldieOldNaiceHam Sun 03-Nov-13 10:46:25

Do it.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 03-Nov-13 10:38:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MissBetseyTrotwood Sun 03-Nov-13 10:28:28

As a teacher and parent I support this wholeheartedly. My DSs are at a school that has NOT challenged homophobic behaviour and bullying effectively at all and it disgusts me. Now Ofsted is out of the way we're getting to work on them so this campaign is timely for us.

The school I work at however takes a very strong line on homophobic language and abuse and given the catchment we serve, this is no mean feat.

slightlygoostained Wed 30-Oct-13 22:53:14

Yes yes yes, absolutely MN should support this.

plipplops Wed 30-Oct-13 22:45:31

Sounds good to me.

Snargaluff Sat 26-Oct-13 17:31:50

In my classroom pupils often say 'gay' to mean rubbish and I stamp down on it really hard, if I've told them once that it's completely inappropriate and offensive then I keep them in at break. But I'm starting to think, what if they think I'm punishing them because I think it's offensive to call someone gay, rather than because I know it's offensive to use gay as synonymous for crap? I don't think I have made this clear enough.

I'm stricter on this than for swearing though.

notagiraffe Sat 26-Oct-13 17:25:56

Fully support it. The use of 'gay' as an insult is really invasive, casual homophobia and shouldn't go unchallenged.

Some children might only know the word to mean 'rubbish' because they come across it at school, so may need educating on what the word meant before this term was attached. (We grew up thinking 'paki shop' was just a neutral term for a convenience store - I had no idea at all it was rude and felt very embarrassed when someone challenged me on it.)

Up thread someone said that many LAs don't want homosexuality discussed at all until KS3. Would Stonewall challenge that too, please? Apart from the issue that some people know they are gay from a very young age, in primary, most children will also know several gay people or may have gay parents and for LAs to steer clear of gay orientation at KS2 suggests there is something unwholesome about being gay, which again, imho, shows prejudice against gay people.

neolara Fri 25-Oct-13 20:34:32

Great idea. And can I share this.

AugustaCarp Fri 25-Oct-13 20:02:46

Yup. Surprised it's even a question.

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