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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.


TiggyD Mon 18-Nov-13 15:05:19

That's Stonewall, the GBL organisation. Not GBLT. They dropped the 'T' for 'trans' a few years ago. They then nominated a transphobic writer for one of their awards. Then a couple of years later they did it again. Then this year for a GBL footballers campaign, they teamed up with Paddy Power, a company that got into trouble for a transphobic telly advert.

I agree with the subject of the campaign, but I would never recommend anyone to get involved with Stonewall in any way.

Meglet Mon 18-Nov-13 15:09:18

Ah, I'll be at work so will miss it. This is something I've started to think about actually. The DC's are still infant school age so I don't think this level of bullying kicks in until the older years. But I'd like to know the best way to nip it in the bud (apart from coming down on them like a ton of bricks), and not turn a blind eye to friends that might get called names.

Sorry for waffling, am on school run.

OrlandoWoolf Mon 18-Nov-13 16:24:29

"T" people do seem to be left out of Stonewall. I think it's a good idea to have this campaign but either Stonewall is LGBT or it isn't.

TiggyD Mon 18-Nov-13 16:28:19

It isn't GBLT.

OrlandoWoolf Mon 18-Nov-13 16:36:55

I just get a bit annoyed when the focus is on homophobic bullying and transphobic bullying is sidelined or seen as a bit of an add on.

LoveAndSqualor Mon 18-Nov-13 16:54:31

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

reelingintheyears Mon 18-Nov-13 17:08:58

Sorry I'll probably miss this too, don't get back home till after one usually.
My youngest son is gay, he told me/us when he was 14, he's now 19 and at University but he had such a rotten time at school and often didn't tell us what was going on because he didn't want things made worse by us going into school about it.
How old were you when you 'knew' you were gay or did you always know, we knew he was gay before he realised he was iyswim. smile

reelingintheyears Mon 18-Nov-13 17:13:50

I sort of agree with you OrlandoWoolf but I also think that if you want a focus on something then you can always do it yourself.
Transgender is different, imo, from being gay, of course all bullying is wrong but don't Transgender people have their own support groups to further awareness on their behalf?

TiggyD Mon 18-Nov-13 17:19:08

Transgender people have their own support groups to further awareness on their behalf

Name one Reeling. WITHOUT Googling!

Angeleno Mon 18-Nov-13 17:21:34

Hi Will,

I really admire the important work you're doing with Stonewall and Mumsnet on this campaign and wish you the best of luck with it.

I'd like your advice on something. I occasionally hear younger family members and friends use the phrase 'that's so gay', which I find really upsetting and disappointing. These people have gay friends themselves and have no intention of causing offense, but they just don't realize or even think about it before saying it, which I think is a real problem. I'm never sure how best to raise the issue politely without causing a bit of a row/alienating the person who said it. How do you think its best to correct someone who uses this kind of language? And how do you think you can influence young people in particular to not use it again?

Thanks! thanks

reelingintheyears Mon 18-Nov-13 17:25:23

That wasn't a statement TiggyD, it was a question, why would I know about Transgender groups, I have no reason to know of any.

I would also support any action to tackle bullying any group of people including Transgender.

reelingintheyears Mon 18-Nov-13 17:34:01

I think language is fluid too, gay used to mean something else, now it means Homosexual, I also know young people who have absolutely no intention of offending anyone when they use the word gay, it's almost as if the word now means anything silly or trivial.
It's difficult, all the words we use are so loaded, maybe we should stop using the word straight as well and go back to terminology like hetero and homosexual and bi sexual.
Straight suggests upright and upstanding and good and we all know that just because a person is 'straight' doesn't mean they're a decent human being.
Bent, being the opposite of straight is just rude and insulting as are pretty much all the words used to describe gay people.

QuietNinjaTardis Mon 18-Nov-13 17:50:34

There was a thread on here quite recently where someone was laughing at the surname gay. It's amazing how immature some people still are.
I was called a lesbian by an utter arse of a homophobic wanker that I had a stand up row with. That was the worst insult he could think of, as if I'd be insulted by that! My mum's gay and I think she avoided a lot of bullying by never mentioning it in certain situations.
I dont really have a question just wanted to add my two pence worth.

reelingintheyears Mon 18-Nov-13 17:57:00

I saw that thread Quiet, she just wouldn't/didn't get why no one else thought it was so funny.

QuietNinjaTardis Mon 18-Nov-13 18:21:23

No she didn't. Someone says something like that it just makes me think 'you twat'

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Mon 18-Nov-13 19:26:06

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]

Tinlegs Mon 18-Nov-13 19:43:51

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.

CormoranStrike Mon 18-Nov-13 20:06:19

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?

CormoranStrike Mon 18-Nov-13 20:09:21

When I told my mum, who is in her 70s, that my DS was gay, she worried about him having a very hard road to travel. This was based on her experiences of what gay men faced when she was young.

I have no experienced this discrimnation in my generation, but then again I am not gay. Do you think my son, now aged 20, will face a very hard road?

Year11mum Mon 18-Nov-13 20:42:52

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?

Tantalisingduck Mon 18-Nov-13 21:01:50

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?

Jellykat Mon 18-Nov-13 21:42:09

Hello Will,
No questions i can think of atm, but the whole 'you're/that's so gay' as a put down has been around for years, have to say i was shocked by an interview i heard today in which a Secondary school teacher said she was unaware of it, she must wear earplugs!

As a mum of 2 boys (now 24 and 15) i have to say when met with this phrase, they retort with a 'so.. what's wrong with that?' it really stumps the other person. If only more kids could have the courage to challenge the phrase sad

(btw you're lovely)

ThePortlyPinUp Mon 18-Nov-13 21:53:23

Hi Will, just like to say that I love your work and I'm really pleased to see you fronting this campaign, my little brother (well technically he is taller than me and actually 29) is gay and experienced quite a bit of homophobic taunting as a youngster, so it's a subject close to my heart.

Eebahgum Mon 18-Nov-13 22:15:07

Just wanted to reiterate tantalisingduck's question - I also teach 7 year old children who have used the term gay as an insult. I feel that it's never too early to tackle this as some of my pupils will have gay relatives (one has two mums for example) but I know some parents would be against any kind of discussion regarding homosexuality so I resort to a vague "don't call people gay" (which is potentially worse?). What is the 'right' thing to do?

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