The most common form of homophobic language is ‘that’s so gay’ and ‘you’re so gay’. 99 per cent of gay young people report hearing the casual use of these

25 KB – 55 Pages

PAGE – 4 ============
ForewordSadly, even in the second decade of the twenty-first century homophobic language remains as prevalent as ever. Ninety nine per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people report hearing the derogatory use of phrases such as ‚that™s so gay™ or ‚you™re so gay™ in school. Unfortunately many of those schools still continue to cling to the old adage: ‚Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me™. The truth however, as good educators know, is that unchallenged use of ‚gay™ to mean bad or rubbish has a profoundly negative effect on gay young people™s self-esteem. That™s why Stonewall has launched a ground-breaking new campaign to make plain the importance of tackling homophobic language. We™ve produced a series of posters challenging the use of the word gay, alongside this guide for teachers and a partner guide for young people on how they too can challenge homophobic language among their peers. To meet the evident demand for teacher training on this issue, Stonewall will also be holding Train the Trainer seminars across Britain, as part of our School Champions programme. These one day seminars give teachers all the tools that they need to train the rest of the staff in their school to tackle homophobic bullying and language. This guide showcases the ways in which some outstanding schools, local authorities and academy groups are already tackling homophobic language with young people. Their experiences show that this work needn™t be difficult and has benefits which go across the school community. We very much hope that you™ll join them in this vital work and, most important, that you™ll let us know what more we can do to help along the way. Ben SummerskillChief Executive, Stonewall

PAGE – 5 ============
1ContentsBackground2What is homophobic language?4 What™s the impact?7 Barriers to tackling homophobic language11 What schools can do Œ the basics14 What schools can do Œ engaging young people 22 What the law says31 Lesson ideas36Problem solving38 Top ten recommendations 44 Resources46The case studies 48

PAGE – 6 ============
The past five years have seen significant progress in tackling homophobic bullying in Britain™s schools. Research by the University of Cambridge for Stonewall in The School Report 2012, a survey of1,600 lesbian, gay and bisexual young people, found that while levels of homophobic bullying remain high they have fallen by 15 per cent over the past five years. The number of schools explicitly saying that homophobic bullying is wrong has more than doubled and gay young people are now almost twice as likely to feel able to speak out about homophobic bullying.However, The School Report also revealed that little progress has been made in tackling the use of homophobic language across Britain™s schools, which remains endemic. 99 per cent of gay young people say that they hear phrases such as ‚that™s so gay™ and ‚you™re so gay™ in school and 96 per cent hear homophobic remarks such as ‚poof™ and ‚lezza™. The use of homophobic language often goes unchallenged by teachers and other school staff and at the same time is fuelled by celebrities using homophobic language in the public eye. These pupil experiences are mirrored in The Teachers™ Report 2009,YouGov polling of 2,000 primary and secondary school teachers. 95 per cent of secondary school teachers and 75 per cent of primary school teachers hear phrases such as ‚that™s so gay™ and ‚you™re so gay™. Yet two thirds of secondary school staff and two in five primary school staff admit that they do not always intervene when they hear this language being used. Teachers tell us there are a number of reasons they don™t always respond to homophobic language but most often it is because they lack the support and confidence to do so. 21Background

PAGE – 8 ============
4What is homophobic language?Homophobic language comes in many different forms. Most of the time it is used unconsciously and without hurtful intent. While some language is clearly homophobic, in other cases it can be difficult for teachers to know what counts as homophobic language. Before starting to tackle the problem it™s important that all school staff know exactly what homophobic language sounds like. Being clear about this will help make sure that every instance is challenged consistently. ‚That™s so gay™ or ‚you™re so gay™ The most common form of homophobic language is ‚that™s so gay™ and ‚you™re so gay™. 99 per cent of gay young people report hearing the casual use of these phrases in school. These comments are sometimes directed towards people who are actually, or perceived to be, gay. However, they are most often used to mean that something is bad or rubbish, with no conscious link to sexual orientation at all. A pupil might say ‚those trainers are so gay™ (to mean rubbish or uncool) or ‚stop being so gay™ (to mean stop being so annoying). Teachers sometimes don™t feel they have to challenge this secondary use of ‚gay™.2‘‘‘‘Usually anti-gay words and remarks happen every single lesson and 99.9 per cent of the time nothing at all gets done about it. Leo, 16 (South Eest) Even at primary level to call another child gay is currently a term of abuse. Jill, teacher, primary school (Yorkshire & the Humber) Homophobic language is also commonly heard outside the classroom environment in the home and in particular from celebrities and in the media. This can make young people think that it is acceptable or even cool to use homophobic language.

PAGE – 9 ============
5‘‘‘‘Some terms like ‚poof™ and ‚faggot™ are standard insults usually between older boys. Molly, midday assistant, primary school (Scotland) I hear ‚dyke™ and ‚homo™ almost every single lesson. Em, 16, secondary school (Greater London) ‚No homo™Young people are increasingly using the expression ‚no homo™, usually after they™ve said something they worry might be perceived as being gay, to make it clear that they are not gay. For example, ‚I love Wayne Rooney. No homo.™ or ‚my bros rock my world. No homo™. Homophobic insults Homophobic language also refers to terms of abuse specifically directed at gay people. This includes words such as ‚queer™, ‚poof™, ‚fag™, ‚faggot™, ‚dyke™ and ‚lezza™. 96 per cent of pupils say that they hear these kinds of words used in school. These abusive terms aren™t only used towards gay pupils, but are often directed at pupils who are thought to be gay or in some way different, for instance sporty girls and academic boys.‘‘‘‘‘‘I don™t want that one, it™s gay. Radio 1 DJ, Chris Moyles referring to a ring tone Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face- looking boy lyrics to a 2013 song by rapper Eminem. Children have misconceptions of meanings and usagewhat is viewed in the media appears to be the main cause of this. Tom, teacher, independent faith school (South East)

PAGE – 10 ============
6Homophobic language doesn™t just take place face-to-face; it is also prevalent online. The website looks at the use of homophobic language on Twitter and has found that: So gay: used on average over 10,000 times daily No homo: used on average over 10,000 times daily Faggot:used on average over 45,000 times daily Dyke:used on average over 4,000 times daily Young people tell Stonewall that homophobic language is endemic across social networking sites, such as Facebook. This means that young people are inundated with homophobic language across all aspects of their life. ‘‘Last summer I was attacked on Facebook through a series of comments and wall posts calling me a ‚fag™. Harry, 16, single sex private school (North West)

PAGE – 11 ============
73What™s the impact? Homophobic language is often dismissed as ‚harmless banter™ that isn™t intentionally hurtful. However when homophobic language goes unchallenged, this has a clear negative impact on young people™s sense of belonging, self-esteem and attainment at school. Self-esteem84 per cent of gay young people say they are distressed when they hear the word ‚gay™ used as an insult, with almost half (45 per cent) saying that it distresses them a lot. When gay young people, many of whom are just coming to terms with their sexuality, hear the word gay constantly equated with something negative they start to feel that there is something wrong with them. This leads to gay young people feeling isolated in the school community. More than half of gay young people feel that they ‚don™t belong™ at school. In some cases, this has a serious impact on mental health. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of gay and bisexual young people have tried to take their own life at some point and more than half (56 per cent) have self-harmed. In many cases, this is related to the fact that they feel isolated by a school culture which excuses the use of homophobic language. ‘‘‘‘‘‘– it™s the constant stream of anti-gay remarks that people don™t even know they make. I feel awful all the time. Sophie, 15, private secondary school (South East) I once carved the words ‚dirty lesbian™ into my thigh because people kept calling me that. I hated myself. Claudia, 17, single-sex secondary academy (South East) It makes me not want to be in my lessons. Cat, 14, faith secondary school (West Midlands)

25 KB – 55 Pages