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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.

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


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.


HerrenaHarridan Tue 22-Oct-13 21:09:03

Devora! I cant express how happy that would make me!
I have been trying to find it for ages. Repeatedly checking uk and us amazon etc. I read it at a friends house pre dc and have been trying to get my filthy mits on it ever since!

I'd be happy to pay for postage. Do you have a PayPal account?

starlady Tue 22-Oct-13 22:25:20

Yes campaign a great idea etc. my son, aged 10, who is not typically boyish (ie effeminate) is getting called gay by 2 boys who are generally obnoxious to other kids. Have to say, his RC primary have been fab, and taken it v seriously, and jumped on it, although in a way that is sensitive to my ds.

Devora Tue 22-Oct-13 22:51:54

Oh don't worry about that - it's only a thin paperback. Just PM me your address and I'll try to find it over the next couple of days.

HerrenaHarridan Wed 23-Oct-13 00:03:52

Great devora, have pm'ed you. smile

CanucksoontobeinLondon Wed 23-Oct-13 01:03:57

Add me to the throng who think the OP has a great idea.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 23-Oct-13 01:28:49

Brilliant idea.grin

Would just like to point out that DS's Catholic school does not tolerate "gay" as insult already.shock

InsultingBadger Wed 23-Oct-13 02:04:26

Excellent! This has always bothered me, great that it's being tackled

Reiltin Wed 23-Oct-13 02:55:37

Go for it grin

MillyMollyMully Wed 23-Oct-13 03:44:26

Ds' secondary school has been exemplary in teaching the dc to fight all forms of discrimination, and to challenge it strongly wherever they see it. I never thought I would encounter a school where the staff were so fully in line with my own stance. I have been so grateful to them for influencing my ds and his peers in such a rigorously positive way. It helps, I'm sure, that this is a school of quite remarkable diversity.

MillyMollyMully Wed 23-Oct-13 04:06:07

Just to elaborate some more, it is giving him a fantastic start in life - he will be self-assured in the workplace, confident about treating other people with respect. And much less fearful of others, however they may appear to differ from him, in whatever way.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 23-Oct-13 13:11:50


Here's Stonewall's response to some of the points raised so far.

''The campaign will be GB-wide, and we’ll be producing Welsh language versions of materials.

On the point about a wider campaign, we do work closely with other organisations, and sit on the advisory group of the Anti-Bullying Alliance. But what we've recognised is that there's a specific problem with the use of 'that's so gay', with 99 per cent of gay young people saying that they hear it in school, hence why we think it needs a specific intervention. The difference between it and certain types of other hate speech is that young people don't realise that they're being homophobic.

On the point about primary schools, there is absolutely an expectation that primary schools should tackle homophobic language as well – because this is the point when pupils develop intolerant attitudes. Our Teacher Training DVD for primary schools has a specific chapter on homophobic language and has been sent to 15,000 primary schools across the UK.

On the final point about governing bodies, schools have a duty to tackle the use of homophobic language regardless of their beliefs. The way that we make the case to faith schools is that whilst your religion may not approve of homosexuality, no religion condones bullying and abuse. The guidance we're producing will also have a wealth of information to help parents and teachers make the case to their schools if they’re reluctant that they should be tackling homophobic language.''

hippppy Wed 23-Oct-13 13:46:39

This sounds brilliant! My son was relentlessly teased at primary school and called gay all the time. It has really affected his confidence and the school did not take it seriously enough.. I even had to remove him from the school in the end.

NotCitrus Wed 23-Oct-13 14:00:56

Excellent news - along with covering homophobic language in primary, also needs to cover stereotypes, like not assuming a boy is gay, a girl or a wuss for not liking football, liking pink, playing with girls sometimes...
Having lines to deal with the smartarse who says "but he is gay so it's all right to call him gay", or "he's not gay so it's ok' would be very useful for teachers and.pupils
Ds is in reception so no 'gay' language yet but preschool did have other boys telling ds he shouldn't like pink, despite the staff trying to say it was ok.

YoniMatopoeia Wed 23-Oct-13 14:34:11

I would be completely behind this.

motherinferior Wed 23-Oct-13 14:36:37

Yep. Good thing.

DD1's school has lots of posters about Loving Your Inner Lesbian, which is nice, though I did point out probably your inner lesbian would quite like another outer lesbian to love too.

ProfondoRosso Wed 23-Oct-13 14:48:09

I would absolutely support this. And re: Catholic schools (I had a Catholic education), they need some big posters with this quote from Papa Francesco:

“If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge... Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

Obviously, the stance of the Catholic church in general towards LGBTQ individuals is awful, but to at least start promoting tolerance would be a step in the right direction.

SirChenjin Wed 23-Oct-13 15:01:05

Agree Profondo.

Moonstorm Wed 23-Oct-13 20:27:34

Would definitely support this. I think it is particularly important in primary schools.

CaterpillarCara Wed 23-Oct-13 21:06:10

Is this a follow on from the Stonewall School Champions work? I was very pleased when my children's school signed up to that.

Retropear Thu 24-Oct-13 09:26:57

Fantastic idea.

As the mother of football hating,music loving,big reading boys they have already at 10 heard derogatory,homophobic language.

We've had many conversations re being proud to be who you are,why using the term gay in a derogatory fashion is bad and how whoever they end up loving it's neither here nor there.

My 2 are comfortable in their own skin as a result,many children won't be and I worry that without support at home and negativity at school gay teenagers will likely end up depressed and with poor self confidence.

Lilka Thu 24-Oct-13 23:06:35

Fantastic idea, as a lesbian (single) mum, I give all my support to these campaigns

Thankfully, my 8 year old sons school are great with this, proactive in tackling all bullying and use of homophobic language.

Sadly, I think I'm hearing 'gay' as an insult more and more, not less, now compared with 5 years ago

I totally agree with this paragraph in particular from Shaun Dellenty's article

"A hang-over from the dark days of Section 28 is the provocative word 'promote' which regularly gets thrown about with reference to the same sex marriage teaching and the teaching of LGBT issues in school. Think about it, if I teach six world main religions without promoting one over the other, a teacher who has a personal objection to human beings who are born LGBT should be able to educate and inform about the existence of LGBT people and civil partnerships without making a qualitative or personal judgement. Imagine if I refused to teach one particular faith because it didn't sit comfortably with my own beliefs- I would fully expect to face capability proceedings, as well as many offended members of my school community"

So true

adoptmama Fri 25-Oct-13 18:34:20

totally agree. children in school should always be challenged for using homophobic language. gay children have as much right as anyone to go to school and feel safe and valued and should not hear terms being gay fired around as insults.

balia Fri 25-Oct-13 19:24:35

Totally support this - I abhor homophobic language and called kids on it every. single. time. But that just resulted in the kids saying 'don't use those words, miss doesn't like it' as if it was a weird foible of mine.

Then we had Stonewall in our school and derogatory remarks using the word 'gay' stopped overnight. It was incredible. IMO, having Stonewall come into our school was the most effective thing we ever did.

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

Yup. Surprised it's even a question.

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

Great idea. And can I share this.

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