A leading gay rights charity has launched a campaign, fronted by the singer Will Young, to challenge the derogatory use of the word ‘gay’.
Stonewall’s new campaign comes in response to research showing that 99% of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people hear phrases like ‘that’s so gay’ in school and that 84% are distressed by them, The Huffington Post reports.
The campaign is sending posters to 2,500 secondary schools with the words: ‘Gay. Let’s get the meaning straight’, accompanied by guidance for pupils and teachers. Will Young, who is supporting Stonewall’s Anti-Bullying Week, said: “The word ‘gay’ is currently used as one of the worst insults by young people of all ages in Britain’s 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.”
Shaun Dellenty, an openly gay deputy head teacher, welcomed Stonewall’s campaign. “In my own training and schools teachers explore and define the use of the word gay in its original use as ‘carefree’ or ‘happy’ and children explore using it both verbally and in writing. Pupils then explore the development of the word gay to mean same sex love and again respectful, dignified discussion is held around this too. It is made clear that both these uses are appropriate to use in school when used correctly and in context.”
In July Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, launched a campaign to stamp out homophobic bullying in Church of England schools.
Are you aware of pupils using the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory way? How can the issue be tackled? Share your ideas with us!