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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.


Gracie76 Mon 18-Nov-13 23:37:58

My friend has identical twin sons in their 20s, one is gay - he has always found life more difficult than the other; getting his first choice uni place, getting on to gap year programmes, jobs, relationships etc. Do you think it's possible for young men to 'come out' but still feel uncomfortable with their sexuality and how can families support them if they can see they are struggling?

Homelylady12 Tue 19-Nov-13 07:28:08

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?

Bradsplit Tue 19-Nov-13 07:32:24

I ban the use of gay in my home and classroom.
I pin point any users ( rare ) and make them explain what they have said.

Ditto chav.

It just needs making unacceptable. I have heard too many teachers let it go.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Tue 19-Nov-13 08:04:17

Maybe there could be some kind of slogan that could act as an automatic reply? Not sure what that could be but just a thought.

<dons thinking cap>

OrlandoWoolf Tue 19-Nov-13 08:05:38

I'm not sure if banning is the right thing to do. If you read the report, there's a comment that someone said in a class that their uncle was gay and his classmates told him off for using the word "gay".

Banning the word "gay" as an insult is probably better.

Tantalisingduck Tue 19-Nov-13 09:47:34

There's no suggestion is there that the word gay is to be banned? I thought it was simply being reclaimed by the gay community to mean homosexual, and the campaign was to stamp out its use as a pejorative termn whether intentional or unintentional?

OrlandoWoolf Tue 19-Nov-13 09:52:40

I was referring to the comment by bradsplit

ehb102 Tue 19-Nov-13 10:10:46

What should we say when people claim that saying "that's so gay" doesn't refer to homosexuality and in fact means something different?

I think attitudes towards homosexuality have changed hugely since I was at school, and part of that has been because of people like Will, said 'Yeah, I'm gay. So what?'

My 8yo DS is aware of 'gay' being used as an insult and we've talked about how it's not acceptable to use it in that way. He even shouted at the telly 'THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING HOMOSEXUAL!' during the Equal Marriage debate (I beamed with pride). I think there's a good chance he's homosexual, although I haven't really talked about it with him, other than to say there's more than one way to be, and that's fine.

So my question for Will is: How best can we as parents support our children from an early age, so that they feel confident in expressing who they are, and challenging homophobia they might face?

MarmaladeBatkins Tue 19-Nov-13 11:03:37

Hello Will and welcome to Mumsnet smile

I believe that children can be worked on. They are so malleable and open to new ideas that hopefully, educating them in the way that your campaign encourages will be a huge help.

What really concerns me (and makes me very angry, to be honest) is casual homophobia from adults. In June, I had a stand-up row at a wedding (classy!) with a distant relative over his casual homophobia. I won't go into what was said but he seemed genuinely shocked that his view wasn't as commonly held as he thought. I wish I had a witty, concise and correct response to shut idiots like this up.

It really bothers me that homophobia is still going strong in some households and THAT'S where kids pick this behaviour up from. I've always been straight (no pun intended) with my son about same-sex relationships and never even insinuated that it's any less valid than a heterosexual relationship. Educating parents is another way forward. We've got to hammer it in to people (as I am frequently doing) that blithely calling your mate a pouffe because he's wearing a pink jumper just is not on. It's not banter or funny, it's just wrong.

Sorry, that wasn't really a question, more a musing!

YoniMatopoeia Tue 19-Nov-13 11:07:15

Will. Welcome back to MN.

You are fab.

I have to think of a question now.... Erm..

OooWhatToDo Tue 19-Nov-13 11:19:11

Oh I'm glad to see this, it's one of my bugbears along with "your such a girl!", as if being a girl or gay is a bad thing hmm

I don't really have a question though as everyone else have already asked the good ones.

I went to see you years ago at Newcastle City hall, you were fab!!

OooWhatToDo Tue 19-Nov-13 11:22:04

Oh and does anyone have any advice on how you would approach someone who is close to you and their vile use of language? I have a close relative who insists on calling her son, I don't really want to say it, the F word. She doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong with it, so how would you get through to her about how damaging it really is?

meadowpipit Tue 19-Nov-13 11:23:55

Hi Will, I complete agree with the aims of the campaign, but wonder what you would say to those who deny any correlation between the word 'gay' as meaning 'rubbish' and the word as it is used to describe sexuality. Some argue that the former meaning has separated from the latter (in its common use amongst schoolchildren) and it could be counterproductive to highlight the origin of the word.

wumpus Tue 19-Nov-13 11:47:09

As a gay dad...

The point about "that's so gay" is that it is used as a synonym for rubbish or bad. It definitely doesn't mean something good, so there is constant association for kids that gay=bad or rubbish. That has to be damaging both to the gay kids who hear it and also to other kids who have that association constantly reinforced.

I don't buy the idea of it having a different meaning - that's a cop out and completely ignores that damage is done.

meadowpipit Tue 19-Nov-13 11:51:05

wumpus - I agree with you that there is a correlation but I have spoken to young people who deny that there is. They argue that as part of the evolution of language the meanings have become separated.

wumpus Tue 19-Nov-13 11:53:27

...and meadowpipt, that's what the campaign is ALL about. There IS harm done and the purpose is to increase awareness of that.

meadowpipit Tue 19-Nov-13 11:55:05

Will do you think there is some confusion about this issue in that some people may be thinking that the campaign wants to end the use of the word 'gay' completely, rather than discourage (not ban) its use as a perjorative term where sexuality is not involved?

squoozy Tue 19-Nov-13 11:57:57

Well done on this campaign Will. I just want to say that the kind of insidious bullying created by the use of language continues and can be equally difficult in the workplace. My daughter was bullied at school and I used to tell her that it would get better when she left and was in a work environment, but its just got worse. She's now 27, and often rings me in tears either from work or on her way home because something has been said. She is not being over sensitive. I know her, and she is a strong girl who tries very hard not to let things get to her. Do you think this campaign could be expanded, Will, to include the workplace?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Nov-13 12:00:23


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.


We asked Stonewall to address this point and this is their response:

'Stonewall has always been a lesbian, gay and bisexual charity since it was founded, focusing on sexual orientation rather than gender identity. We work hard to ensure our work is inclusive of anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual – regardless of their age, race, faith, disability, gender or gender identity. Last September we held a roundtable discussion where Stonewall and a wide range of trans activists and organisations came together to explore areas where we can share information and work together in the future. At this roundtable discussion we engaged in discussions to establish whether Stonewall should extend its charitable remit to include lobbying on behalf of trans people. There was a strong consensus across organisations present that this would not be the right approach to securing trans equality. Stonewall's charitable remit does, however, remain under constant consideration. In 2011, for example, our remit was extended to lobby for gay equality internationally for the first time. We are keen to work with and support trans organisations wherever possible and regularly signpost calls from our information service to trans organisations such as The Gender Trust and Gender Matters.'

WillYoung Tue 19-Nov-13 12:01:16

hello i am Will and i am here!

squoozy Tue 19-Nov-13 12:02:38

Hi Will!

suspiciousmind29 Tue 19-Nov-13 12:02:49

Hi Will

Firstly, think you're brilliant for doing this!

I have been a victim of some horrible homophobic attacks. One of which was physical. This happened months a go now, but several people say that it's not too late to report it, my gf included. Someone said that actually it's vital for statistics, as this was clearly a hate crime. Do you think it would be too late to go to the police?

Couldn't be more supportive of the ban.

Thank you

iscagill Tue 19-Nov-13 12:03:35

where van I view the live Web chat happening now?

IComeFromALandDownUnder Tue 19-Nov-13 12:03:59

Hi Will. Welcome to Mumsnet! I love you. think I better leave right now

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