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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.


Wolfiefan Tue 22-Oct-13 10:53:31

Great! I'm a teacher and never let this language go unchallenged. If kids call something "gay" meaning lame or crap then that's what they are saying about people who aren't straight. Schools should always deal with this. What about kids struggling with issues around their sexuality hearing this?

ercoldesk Tue 22-Oct-13 10:55:21


smee Tue 22-Oct-13 11:52:14

Sounds vital to me.

MillyMollyMully Tue 22-Oct-13 11:55:22

Absolutely. Please do it.

SanctimoniousArse Tue 22-Oct-13 11:55:58

would be great but when I've asked a Head to do something about disablist and homophobic language he told me it was 'impossible'. Meaning he didnt want too.

VelvetStrider Tue 22-Oct-13 12:02:51

Great! This is absolutely essential for both gay children and teenagers, and society as a whole. I think it should go further though, perhaps Stonewall could link with disability groups, ethnic minorities etc. to try and stamp down on all offensive language. Sometimes people don't realise just how offensive some words are, they are just copying their peers without thinking about meanings.

I was shocked and disgusted to recently hear my teenage relatives (who are good, hardworking and polite people who rarely even swear) use words such as half caste, retard, coloured, gay, poof etc. without realising the offensiveness of these words.

HerrenaHarridan Tue 22-Oct-13 12:20:08

On a positive note.

My bfs dd just started senior school and she was talking about her parents. When she described them as gay she was rounded on by on of the girls about not using that as a insult. smile
However she them had to explain no really my mum and step mum are gay grin

HerrenaHarridan Tue 22-Oct-13 12:26:08

My first post disappeared so that one makes less sense.

In essence, absolutely people are far too slack about challenging kids using gay and retard to deceive something/ someone. Not acceptable.

kw13 Tue 22-Oct-13 13:09:29

Absolutely. Fantastic idea. A list of resources that parents could use would also be useful - have struggled to find anything in the UK for my 7 year old DS to read (or to have to read to) where there are incidental gay characters/plot lines. Thanks.

januarysnowdrop Tue 22-Oct-13 13:15:28

Really good idea, definitely Mumsnet should get behind it.

CosmicDespot Tue 22-Oct-13 13:27:20

Yes, I think MN should definitely support this campaign.

SirChenjin Tue 22-Oct-13 13:31:25

Yep, great idea. Not sure that Stonewall should be tackling this in isolation though - I think they could achieve far more by working with other organisations

Worriedthistimearound Tue 22-Oct-13 13:37:42

I think it's great but as a primary teacher I worry about the logistics of rolling this out nationally. Sex ed is a hot potato and many local authorities and governing bodies have explicitly told schools that homosexuality or discussion relating to homosexuality should not be covered until ks3.

I would very much like to say to any child using such language that it's offensive and explain why. Just telling them it's unacceptable rude or offensive isn't good enough IMO. Children need to understand why. I would like to do this without breaching policy. Incidentally, it's a policy that I disagree with but need to work within.

HerrenaHarridan Tue 22-Oct-13 13:38:22

There is a list in stonewalls website of all books featuring gay parents.

Unfortunately for most of them the story is about this which unless you are seeking to educate a child about their or their friends specific circumstances is quite limited.

Space girl pukes is about a girl who travels through space with her cat. She has two mums but it is not central to the story.
It is also sadly out of print and I am desperate for a copy sad

This is the book I bought when seeking to make sure my daughter knew about lots of kinds of family

Sorry for slight derail blush

dyslexicdespot Tue 22-Oct-13 13:39:57


SirChenjin Tue 22-Oct-13 13:41:36

When they say 'nationally' do they mean England? Or do they mean the whole of the UK? Good luck with getting it into the Catholic (state funded - grrrrrr..) schools up here sad

Cataline Tue 22-Oct-13 13:44:52

Sounds great. I never let inappropriate language go unchallenged at school. Unfortunately, many teachers do angry

Worriedthistimearound Tue 22-Oct-13 13:45:10

Yes, as well as the point I was making, catholic schools are a whole other ball game.

HowardTJMoon Tue 22-Oct-13 13:45:40

Sounds like an excellent idea to me.

WoTmania Tue 22-Oct-13 13:46:48

I think it sounds like a very important campaign. It's something I always pick people up on and am largely dismissed/minimised as being too PC or oversensitive etc.

lalamumto3 Tue 22-Oct-13 13:47:35

I would fully support it.

JuliaScurr Tue 22-Oct-13 13:48:08

totally agree

Optimist1 Tue 22-Oct-13 13:48:17

Yes, this would have my wholehearted support.

I think that would be great.

As for starting at ks3, all of DD's primary school classes (and her friends at nursery) knew that some kids had 2 mums...

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