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Been following our 'Gay: let's get over it' campaign? Want to do more?

(79 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 20-Nov-13 09:19:22

Hello,

Hopefully lots of you will be aware of our joint campaign with Stonewall: Gay - let's get over it. The idea is to challenge the casual use of homophobic language among children and young people, particularly in the context of its use at schools. We're here to ask you to take action.

Lots of you have said you're in agreement with the aims (see this thread and our webchat with the ever-marvellous Will Young.)

So - we'd like you to take some action please!

In order for real change to happen, schools need to know about the campaign, and they need to know that parents support it. We're asking MNers to contact their schools asking them to sign up to the campaign.

You can Tweet at your school on Twitter (if both you and the school have accounts wink); if you're Twitter-phobic, you could contact your school in other ways - on Facebook, by email, a good old-fashioned letter, or by marching up and down with a placard at pick-up time.* Nobble your headteacher, bend a governor's ear, recruit a mouthy pupil: the choice is yours. We've got sample tweets and shareable links on this page, downloadable guides for schools and parents here and posters for printing our and distributing here.

So do please ask your kids' school to get involved - and let us know how you get on.

Thanks
MNHQ

PS There's a list of UK schools on Twitter here.

*For the heavily committed and/or unembarrassable

Crumblemum Wed 20-Nov-13 09:52:43

Ooh good idea. I'll tweet my school now. (Never said those words before).

trockodile Wed 20-Nov-13 10:34:41

School don't seem to do Twitter so have emailed them! Thank you!

NewBlueCoat Wed 20-Nov-13 13:10:01

could I ask why this kind of follow up was not suggested for the This is My Child campaign?

or why htere was no focus at all (that I saw) on tackling disablist language in schools?

I think it is important to tackle all hate speech, and fully support this campaign. I do wish, however, that similar efforts and campaigns could have been tried for TIMC.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 20-Nov-13 13:43:13

NewBlueCoat

could I ask why this kind of follow up was not suggested for the This is My Child campaign?

or why htere was no focus at all (that I saw) on tackling disablist language in schools?

I think it is important to tackle all hate speech, and fully support this campaign. I do wish, however, that similar efforts and campaigns could have been tried for TIMC.

Hello - thanks for this. TIMC was never (as you say) intended to be a schools-focused campaign - we did seek the input of SN posters pretty extensively in preparing TIMC, and schools just didn't come up as a big focal point. But thanks for flagging this; we'll certainly bear it in mind. We have a piece of TIMC activity coming up that's going to be addressing issues related to SEN and the changes proposed by the Children and Families Bill, so please keep an eye out for that next month.

NewBlueCoat Wed 20-Nov-13 13:47:16

thanks, Rowan.

I take your point that schools may not have come up as a focal point, but I know that tackling disablist language did. And one of the places to easily do so is, of course, in schools.

I find the different levels of focus and campaign disappointing (although sadly unsurprising).

lougle Wed 20-Nov-13 14:36:42

"Hello - thanks for this. TIMC was never (as you say) intended to be a schools-focused campaign - we did seek the input of SN posters pretty extensively in preparing TIMC, and schools just didn't come up as a big focal point."

I'm not trying to be awkward, Rowan, but you do realise that all children (bar HE) go to school 30 hours per week, don't you? hmm

That's almost half of their waking day in the week time.

I would have thought it would be implicit that schools are a focus.

NewBlueCoat Wed 20-Nov-13 14:41:55

Tbh, it just smacks of shying away from tackling disablist language, as so often happens on this site.

Seems that only the fluffy and easy bits of tackling disability discrimination are focused on.

There have been grumbles and complaints about disablist language for years on here and yet it wasn't thought a large enough issue to raise in schools, and rally the whole community to do something, some small step, to try to tackle it? What a load of crap.

lougle Wed 20-Nov-13 14:52:57

If I may add, that admirable as Stonewall is, and not wishing to take anything away from the campaign, the statistics show:

Office for National Statistics 1.5% of people self-identify as gay/bisexual/lesbian.

Office for Disability Issues 6% of Children are disabled. Let alone the children who suffer disablist language aimed at their parents, cousins, etc.

As I say, I'm not saying either is more merited, but there are more children with disabilities than children who are gay, bisexual, lesbian or even have relatives who are.

This makes me wonder why it is seen as a cause that should be given more prominence in schools by MNHQ?

trockodile Wed 20-Nov-13 16:20:44

I absolutely agree that tackling disablist language is a necessity-I feel a little uneasy that it is being presented as more important than tackling homophobic language on the basis of statistics. All bullying should be seen as equally important surely, and a successful campaign in this instance by Mumsnet could be built on to encompass other exclusionary language.

Incidentally this is an interesting article on the 1.5% statistic quoted above. It suggests that there are a multitude of reasons that people would not choose to identify as GLBTQ and also that there is a definite age difference -2.7%among younger people. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2013/oct/03/gay-britain-what-do-statistics-say

trockodile Wed 20-Nov-13 16:22:26

I absolutely agree that tackling disablist language is a necessity-I feel a little uneasy that it is being presented as more important than tackling homophobic language on the basis of statistics. All bullying should be seen as equally important surely, and a successful campaign in this instance by Mumsnet could be built on to encompass other exclusionary language.

Incidentally this is an interesting article on the 1.5% statistic quoted above. It suggests that there are a multitude of reasons that people would not choose to identify as GLBTQ and also that there is a definite age difference -2.7%among younger people.

www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2013/oct/03/gay-britain-what-do-statistics-say

(Sorry forgot to convert link!)

lougle Wed 20-Nov-13 16:24:55

It's not more important. I explicitly say that in my post. The point I'm making with statistics is that MNHQ can't say 'oh well it's much more widespread, that's why we're having a different approach.' Because it isn't. So that only leaves 'well we didn't think it was as important.'

I do think we need to challenge the notion that disability only affects a vanishingly small minority and therefore isn't important.

Just think about the Soaps - how many of them tackle the G/B/L issue, all the time? Now, how many feature disability? Very, very, few.

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Nov-13 16:36:25

Stonewall is running the schools stuff, the posters, the info packs and so on. They have the resources to do this. Do Mumsnet?

Perhaps those wanting a similar campaign in schools for disablist language know a suitable charity with the resources to do something along the same lines?

lougle Wed 20-Nov-13 16:39:04

If we had been alerted to a lack of resource and asked for input as to which charities to align with, noblegiraffe, I'm sure we could have done. We weren't though. We were told 'This is the campaign, what are your thoughts?'

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Nov-13 16:41:58

It's not too late, if you want a campaign in schools, I'm sure there is nothing stopping you asking your favourite charities to run one?

lougle Wed 20-Nov-13 16:47:24

I'm sure it's not. However, the 'This is my child' campaign (still not keen on the name, but hey ho) is a MNHQ campaign. They wanted our help, our co-operation and support. We gave photos, personal stories, etc., and all we got in response was a few tweets and the occasional linking to the hash tag when things get heated on the main boards.

So, you may understand that it's a bit galling for some posters (not so much me, tbh, because I never expected great things <cynic>) to see that they are campaigning against one word in schools when our children have to put up with many, many words in schools every day.

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Nov-13 17:02:24

Stonewall (+MN) have decided to focus on homophobic language in schools.

If you wanted MN to focus on disablist language in schools, did you tell them at the time? And if not, how can you now complain that they didn't do it?

It's not about gays being more important than disabled children. You like their campaign? Then copy it.

lougle Wed 20-Nov-13 17:12:21

noblegiraffe we were asked for feedback to enhance MNHQs plan for a campaign. We mentioned a great number of things but were told that the campaign would become too general and wouldn't get 'attention'. Then MNHQ decided that the campaign should centre around acceptance of our children as they are.

We wanted disablist language to be challenged everywhere. As our children spend 30 hours per week at schools, that would have been ideal.

No, you're right, we didn't ask. We didn't know we could. We were told parameters, we made suggestions, we were told they were too far reaching and were instead offered some hash tags hmm

Yet, for GBL they can ask MNers to campaign with their local schools. The effort from MNHQ is no greater - they could have done that with TIMC, but they didn't. Maybe they didn't think of it...who knows. It's the general point that our 'campaign' has been reduced to a 'week of activity' and the occasional 'please don't say naughty words...oh do look at the pages with the pretty pictures if you've forgotten what we're talking about.'

PeteCampbellsRecedingHairline Wed 20-Nov-13 17:21:48

I totally agree with what is being said about TIMC but I think it would be better to start another thread about any concerns/suggestions.

Both are worthy campaigns, we shouldn't pit one against the other.

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Nov-13 18:05:58

But lougle, for GBL, they can ask Mnetters to campaign in schools because of the resources and support from Stonewall, who are clearly the main player in this campaign, which is focused entirely on homophobic language in schools. That's the whole point of it.

This campaign is great. It's also needed. So please don't detract from it with 'what about us?' I am sure, after all, that children can have disabilities and be gay.

If you are disappointed with the campaign you were involved in, feedback to MN. If you want a similar campaign, petition for it.

Tinlegs Wed 20-Nov-13 18:07:54

Not sure that this is the right place to discuss previous campaigns. Can't we just focus on this one. There are many issues here that need addressing and I, for one, am glad to see this being tackled by Stonewall and Mumsnet. Also, a campaign that focuses on the power of language to upset is more than likely to bring about discussion on all kinds of language, homophobic, disabling, racist etc.

I am dealing with this at my school.

ImATotJeSuisUneTot Wed 20-Nov-13 19:39:35

Its incredibly inappropriate to railroad this discussion because you personally didn't like the way a different campaign was handled, and it certainly doesn't endear me to your cause.

MissMarplesBloomers Wed 20-Nov-13 19:43:35

Brilliant campaign... thank you so much !

ImATotJeSuisUneTot Wed 20-Nov-13 19:52:21

Stonewall are great - they did some wonderful work with a friend of mine.

The campaign looks brilliant, I'll be forwarding it on to all my school based friends, and discuss it with the staff where I work tomorrow. Thank you!

Snargaluff Wed 20-Nov-13 21:26:23

I had a pupil call someone else 'gay' the other day in a 'rubbish way. I told him that he was not to use the word gay as an insult in my classroom. I don't know if there's better things that I could have said

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