Campaign tackles homophobic language in schools

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!

5 thoughts on “Campaign tackles homophobic language in schools

  1. Are people aware that often when children use the adjective “gay” the meaning has morphed away from any connotation of sexual orientation and frequently now means something like “weird” or “naff” or “stupid”?

  2. Yes Eric they have. That is the problem. By equating the word gay with weird, naff and stupid leads young gay people believing they are weird, naff or stupid.

  3. Every teacher in every school needs to challenge the dirogitory use of the word gay. Homophobia needs to be sanctioned in the exact same way racism is.

    My school has given assemblies, tutor sessions and PSHE lessons concerning homosexuality – the kids get it – sad to see teachers like Eric accepting this in his classroom.

    Every child matters – still

  4. Well then Rebecca perhaps they should stop being so sensitive and that schools should be spending time teaching and reinforcing the fact that if some kids are weird or useless or stupid then it is nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

  5. I don’t think it is about being ‘sensitive’ as you mention Mike, it is about the fact of using the words rightly, that is language skills, to use words in a proper context and sense and not saying ‘non sense’

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