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Live Webchat with Will Young on Mumsnet's/Stonewall's new campaign to tackle homophobic language, TODAY, 12PM - 1PM

(126 Posts)
KateHMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Nov-13 12:55:33

We're delighted to announce that Will Young will be joining us for a webchat on Tuesday 19 November at midday, to talk about our Gay. Let's Get Over It campaign in partnership with Stonewall. The campaign, fronted by Will and supported by Mumsnet, uses new posters and guidance to tackle homophobic language and address the misuse of the word 'gay'.

With an 11-year career encompassing multi-platinum albums, live tours, acting in both film and TV and a foray into film production behind him, Will Young is one of the most lauded and recognisable figures in the British contemporary arts scene. We're very happy to welcome him to Mumsnet.

Of Gay. Let's Get Over It, Will said:
"The word gay is currently used as one of the worst insults by young people of all ages in Britains schools. It's clear from the shocking levels of self-harm and suicide among gay young people that we're failing an entire generation. It's time to take a stand, and put a stop to this deeply damaging use of homophobic language."

We hope you'll join us to talk about what we can do to stamp out language that is demeaning, hurtful and offensive to so many.

Thanks,
MNHQ

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Nov-13 12:04:53

Welcome Will - thanks for joining us - we're really pleased to be teaming up with Stonewall on such an important campaign.

Thanks for making time for us from sunny(?) Hull, we'll get cracking with the questions from Mumsnetters now.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Nov-13 12:06:46

Hi iscagill you're in the right place. Sadly no live streaming of Will (although check out our twitter feed shortly for a pic), but you can read all the questions and Will's answers here.

K

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Nov-13 12:06:51

iscagill

where van I view the live Web chat happening now?

Hi there iscagill: we don't have a webcam feed we're afraid. The webchat will be happening in text form on this thread - you just need to keep refreshing the page and you'll see the answers appearing before you.

AgaKhant Tue 19-Nov-13 12:08:55

I have no specific question or personal issues with this, but want to say that I admire you hugely for the stand you are making on behalf of Stonewall and support this campaign 100%. My Primary school aged DC know that as far as our family is concerned, using homophobic insults is down there in the gutter with racism and sexism and I will hit the roof if I become aware of them behaving in such a way. Good luck!

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:09:56

hello tiggy d
thanks for your questions
so the campaign we are doing is raising awareness of the negative use of the word gay by producing resources and posters that will be dispursed throughout secondary schools, the primary aim being to educate teachers and students alike

through education awareness will be raised and yes i think schools should toe a tougher line in highlighting the damaging effects of negative language

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath

TiggyD I didn't know that about Stonewall, thanks for the info.

So, Mr 'Gorgeous' Will Young (yes I really said that), I applaud you using your celebrity status for this campaign, it is something definitely worth supporting. My question to you is: How do you envisage this campaign working? Will it be simply a case of raising awareness in the hope it makes the pejorative use of the word 'gay' socially unacceptable? Should schools be stricter in enforcing children do not use this language?

I do not know the answer to this, it is something I regularly challenge people about when I hear the term used but it seems they are either genuinely ignorant or deny its potential impact on the listener.

I shall step away from the keyboard now and stop fawning like a teenage girl [sycophant emoticon]

iscagill Tue 19-Nov-13 12:11:53

Hi Will. do you think we will eber resolve the huge question of sexual prejudice is this country? seems to me if we had more tolerance of each other's feelings these terrible stats would not apply.

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:13:36

hello
i dont believe that gay bullying is any worse than other types of bullying. the key with this campaign is to ensure that all are on an equal level. the problem i believe at present is they are not

education over punishment is key. i dont believe in the word 'punishment' in relation to young people. it is disciplining with a mind to enlightening

CormoranStrike

Will, gay as an insult: do we need to educate, or punish?

Is gay bullying "worse" than other bullying? If so, why? And what coping mechanisms should young gay people put in place until offensive eejits learn not to be homophobic?

hello

i dont believe

OrlandoWoolf Tue 19-Nov-13 12:16:13

Do you think schools should do more to see homosexuality as "normal"? By this I mean using books featuring homosexual people, talking about famous people who just happen to be homosexual etc so people see being gay as just another "thing"? Heterosexuality is talked about and promoted by default in the hidden curriculum and messages schools give out.

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:19:22

Hull is great thanks

no homophobic language will not go away over night
it is about the long game
stonwall can point young people in the right direction for specific people that can advice and help
details below

http://www.stonewall.org.uk/ for our info line number.

Year11mum

Hi Will,
How's Hull?
I was truly shocked by the statistics you have quoted about suicide attempts and self harming by young gay people. The Stonewall campaign is a welcome step, but homophobic bullying and ignorant misuse of language isn't going to go away immediately : is Stonewall able to do anything to help those in distress?

Year11mum

Hi Will,
How's Hull?
I was truly shocked by the statistics you have quoted about suicide attempts and self harming by young gay people. The Stonewall campaign is a welcome step, but homophobic bullying and ignorant misuse of language isn't going to go away immediately : is Stonewall able to do anything to help those in distress?

willonly Tue 19-Nov-13 12:21:18

Hi Will, I work in an after school club based at a junior school an have often heard the use of the word gay used in a negative way by the children. I always challenge the misuse of the word. but I notice your campaign is aimed at senior school pupils will this filter down into junior schools in time as this is the age group where I think the miss use of this word begins.

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:23:53

firstly how brilliant that your son is coming out aged 13, testimony to you and your son.
the key thing is to continue to show love and support. in terms of 'put downs' i don't feel this is a useful response. the key is to rise above it, be who you want to be and as long as your son knows he is loved and supported then his fundamental sense of self esteem will remain strong i hope. i would suggest liaising with the school so there is a clear dialogue from the beginning and also we cant please all people. we can only be ourselves. i would rather be myself that 'popular' to everyone.

Tinlegs

My 13 year old son is just beginning to "come out". Close family know plus two (female) friends. How should he handle it when it gets around a bit more? He is very confident but we live in a remote corner which is not the most tolerant of places. He will get lots of support but will also have to handle the odd jibes. Any useful put downs? I am just delighted he is not going to have to pretend to be heterosexual as I know that this makes so many gay people miserable. I am very proud of my son and want him to continue to be happy and popular.

Ideally, he shouldn't have to "come out" but I can't think of a better way of putting it.

CMOTDibbler Tue 19-Nov-13 12:24:12

Hi Will, do you have a great phrase for pulling people up on the misuse of gay?

Kirstenmhairi Tue 19-Nov-13 12:24:16

Hi Will. I have been a fan of yours from the beginning and I love the campaign work you have been doing.

My questions are:
1. What made you want to be involved in this campaign?
2. Do you think it is a difficult and somewhat gray area to be looking at levels of language that are particularly harmful and/or offensive, and what can we do to steer our children away from this outside of schools?

Love you :*

Willfan2013 Tue 19-Nov-13 12:27:25

Hi will im a massive fan just want to say cabaret was amazing ur such a fantastic method actor. Are u finding as u get more popular and successful people are accepting ur sexuality now? Or are people still being as judgemental as before?
Wendy liverpool xx

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:29:12

this campaign is focusing largely on secondary schools. this doesn't mean however that this language can't be challenged with younger children.
i would not be using any sexual language with children that young, this does not mean that we can not educate against basic prejudice

the problem is people focus on sex when it comes to sexuality

one route is to talk about difference, everyone has their differences and all should be embraced and understood.

Stonewall does a lot of work in primary schools - you can find more info about this work on their website

http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_for_all/quick_links/school_champions/primary_schools/

Tantalisingduck

I'm a primary school teacher, Will, and even in my class (Year 3, so 7 to 8 year olds) I hear the phrase "oh that's so GAY" being bandied about. These kids have just heard the phrase, possibly at home, maybe from older children and repeat it, honestly not knowing its connotations.

I don't like to stop my pupils doing something without explaining why it is wrong. But my head teacher, and I'm sure some parents, will argue that 7 or 8 is too young for a discussion about homosexuality. I think they're wrong. What do you, or Stonewall, suggest I do please?

Hi Will,

Kids use the term 'gay' as a negative word, but it's an adjective. Do you agree that more homophobic words are used by teens more often these days (I work in a school and hear it often), but the attitudes of their elder peers (6th formers), seem to be entirely untouched by homophobia. Do you feel discriminated against by teenagers?

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:34:08

Stonewall has produced a guide specifically for young people to look at as part of this campaign.
my advice is to say simply that they find it offensive and it might not be the person's intention to offend.

also the posters will help with educating and getting young people to think about the language they use

LoveAndSqualor

Hey Will - wondering whether you had any advice for gay children at school if they hear the "you're so gay" type of insults being bandied about - or directed at them. What do you advise? Did you experience this sort of thing when you were at school? What did you do?

TIA thanks

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:37:06

thank you. this a great example of everyone taking responsibility, it is not just about teachers and young people, it also about parents

thank you for your support

AgaKhant

I have no specific question or personal issues with this, but want to say that I admire you hugely for the stand you are making on behalf of Stonewall and support this campaign 100%. My Primary school aged DC know that as far as our family is concerned, using homophobic insults is down there in the gutter with racism and sexism and I will hit the roof if I become aware of them behaving in such a way. Good luck!

reelingintheyears Tue 19-Nov-13 12:39:20

Hi Will, I don't know a lot about you <<old woman>> apart from you being a singer, do you think the music and entertainment industry is more accepting than others of gay people, my son, who's 19 is studying performing arts at University, it certainly does appear that more people are 'out' in that area but is there still an undercurrent of homophobia?

TomMcD Tue 19-Nov-13 12:40:38

Hi Will, I'm 34, gay and very content, however I still shudder when I hear the word homophobic language especially 'faggot'. My personal grievance at this time of year is the song 'fairy tale of New York'. If it was racist language etc I feel it would be censored but I constantly hear excuses being made for it. Do you have an opinion on this? Btw thanks for supporting this campaign, it's something I feel strongly about. smile

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:41:20

i completely agree, schools and some schools are doing great stuff.
we know that when schools create an inclusive environment bullying goes down dramatically.

OrlandoWoolf

Do you think schools should do more to see homosexuality as "normal"? By this I mean using books featuring homosexual people, talking about famous people who just happen to be homosexual etc so people see being gay as just another "thing"? Heterosexuality is talked about and promoted by default in the hidden curriculum and messages schools give out.

zak7zak Tue 19-Nov-13 12:41:45

Hi Will, Big fan from Sweden here and working actively in collaboration with the UK for anti bullying in high schools with plays and different cultural and media activities! Was hoping for your insight and to be in touch with you

Hi Will,

I have a Year 6 (Age 10-11) son. He and his friends use "That's so gay" to describe something rubbish. I'm perfectly happy to pull him up on it, and explain my reasons for doing so, but the school just seem to ignore it.

At this age they do have sex education lessons, so do you think there is more that can be done to address this issue before they reach secondary school?

It isn't just children/teenagers making these comments either. I've heard adults make similar statements. Someone once said to me they wouldn't send their son to a local secondary school because it would make them gay. hmm shock

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:44:24

thank you for sharing your story
what i believe is of use to your son is to remain completely supportive to him and focus on that rather than your anger towards the prejudice of others. although anger is understandable, kindness and compassion i believe is more useful

Homelylady12

Hi Will,

My son has been bullied terribly all of his teenage life. I find it hard to take & don't feel I can support him enough as I feel alternatively angry & upset most of the time. How do you remain so calm when speaking about your issues with homophobia and homophobic language?

NewBlueCoat Tue 19-Nov-13 12:46:48

thank you for getting involved with a campaign like this, Will. My family have not (currently) faced any kind of homosexual bullying or insults, but we do face disablist attitudes where the insults are similar (the idea that gay/disabled=bad/wrong/weak/pathetic), and it is so damaging.

I also agree that if a school environment can be inclusive, in a non-intrusive upfront way, and being gay can be just 'another thing', then that owuld help hugely. I have more than once had a chat with my dd (age 6) when she has come home telling me that boys have to marry girls (and vice versa) - I was genuinely astonished that anyone would be telling their children this in the 21st century, but she was adamant that her peers are right, and that I am teasing her when I tell her she (or anyone) can marry (or not!) whoever she likes, boy or girl.

As an aside, Will - I saw you in Cabaret at the weekend, and it (and you) was fab! Thank you for a brilliant evening.

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