Will Young leads fight against homophobic language in Wales' schools Watch

navarre
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http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wa...phobic-6312845
Pop star Will Young has teamed up with gay rights charity Stonewall Cymru to help tackle the use of homophobic language in Welsh schools.

A new campaign, launched today, will see bilingual posters and guidance sent to schools across the country to highlight the misuse of the word “gay” as an insult.

Young, a Stonewall Cymru supporter, believes more should be done to clamp down on homophobic language in schools.

The campaign, backed by parenting website Mumsnet, responds to research showing that 99% of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people hear phrases such as “that’s so gay” or “you’re so gay” in school.

Polling by Mumsnet also shows that 66% of parents do not know if their children’s school has policies to tackle homophobic language.

Young 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.”
I think it's great Will Young is taking a stand- after all, I heard the word 'gay' all the time in school used in a derogatory insult, and used it myself. It's not something you think about, you just say it. Nonetheless, I'm not sure what the campaign can achieve. The use of 'gay' as an insult is so widespread, can it be successful? I'm not so sure that it will be.
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caravaggio2
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While the media is obsessed with squealing queens like Ryland, things aren't likely to change in schools any time soon
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Snagprophet
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It's pretty gay to say homophobic things.
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Mockery
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I'm pretty sure the word '*******' is also used in a derogatory sense, but no one cares about that...

The word 'gay' has stuck as a generic insult with no hint of homophobia in common conversation. I'm beginning to feel that most of the problem stems from people being offended by it in the first place. All this is doing is reinforcing insecurity amongst the gay community. Prejudice against homosexuals is the past, they are now just another boring and normal group in society, like the rest of us.

I find myself referring to inanimate objects or situations as 'gay', but notions of homophobia never cross my mind.
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Lady Comstock
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(Original post by Mockery)
I'm pretty sure the word '*******' is also used in a derogatory sense, but no one cares about that...
How is that comparable? The only comparable analogy would be calling someone a 'Jew' for example as a means of implying stupidity/foolishness.

The word 'gay' has stuck as a generic insult with no hint of homophobia in common conversation. I'm beginning to feel that most of the problem stems from people being offended by it in the first place.
The root of why people are against it is the use of a word to describe a group of people/identity - homosexuals - being associated with negativity (mainly stupidity, foolishness, effeminate behaviour).

Like I mentioned, it's comparable to saying to someone, who is not a Jew but is acting stupidly: "you are so Jew". Or describing an ugly piece of clothing as "that's so Jew".

All this is doing is reinforcing insecurity amongst the gay community. Prejudice against homosexuals is the past, they are now just another boring and normal group in society, like the rest of us.
That's looking at society through rose-tinted glasses. Gay people are much more equal and tolerated than they used to be, but I certainly wouldn't go as far as you are. Case in point: football.

I find myself referring to inanimate objects or situations as 'gay', but notions of homophobia never cross my mind.
Again, regardless of homophobic intent, you are associating the most commonly used word to describe homosexuals with negativity and something you dislike.
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Egghead123
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Will Young is an idiot, like his scheme is going to work...
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Mockery
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(Original post by Lady Comstock)
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The problem that occurs is that it is so readily used that any attempt to stigmatise it's usage will be futile and all I can see it doing is reinforcing the notion of having something to be embarrassed or ashamed about in order to get worked up about it in the first place.

The English language is full of words that alternate meaning dependent upon context and it just so happens that 'gay' has become one of those words. The trick is to dissociate the definition of homosexuality from the word 'gay' when it is used outside of the legitimate parameters.

Even at school, from my experience 'gay' was never used directly towards a homosexual individual in a prejudice manner, simply because everyone knew that it wasn't acceptable. Everything else under the sun was fair game to manipulate into something offensive, that's what kids do.
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AdamskiUK
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Oi, ya daffydill!



Jokes aside, wrong approach. You have to really reinforce it at primary school level that man + woman isn't the only biological combination. With respects to reproduction, perhaps, but hormonally... No. The only way this approach would work is essentially negative reinforcement. You have to whip it out of them by ages 11 and above. Since we've moved away from that culture, we're left with only one option.

Teach a 5 year-old that as long as people are happy and aren't infringing on the civil liberties of other people, there's no issue with their genders, creed, colour or political agenda. Of course, that's quite a difficult notion to convey to a 5 year-old, but I'm sure you can build it into painting gay, liberal, black, Muslim women with a niqab on within their art lessons every week.
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IlexBlue
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(Original post by Mockery)
I'm pretty sure the word '*******' is also used in a derogatory sense, but no one cares about that...

The word 'gay' has stuck as a generic insult with no hint of homophobia in common conversation. I'm beginning to feel that most of the problem stems from people being offended by it in the first place. All this is doing is reinforcing insecurity amongst the gay community. Prejudice against homosexuals is the past, they are now just another boring and normal group in society, like the rest of us.

I find myself referring to inanimate objects or situations as 'gay', but notions of homophobia never cross my mind.
Yes, but it's easy to view it that way when you're straight. Even if you have no homophobic intent behind it, imagine if it were you in that scenario.

Imagine the tables were turned, and it was your orientation that's being made fun of. Your orientation is seen as both a joke and an insult to other people, perceived as a mockable, feminine stereotype no one would want to be, and you had to be reminded of that every time someone said "haha, that's so straight!"
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Mankytoes
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(Original post by Mockery)
The problem that occurs is that it is so readily used that any attempt to stigmatise it's usage will be futile and all I can see it doing is reinforcing the notion of having something to be embarrassed or ashamed about in order to get worked up about it in the first place.

The English language is full of words that alternate meaning dependent upon context and it just so happens that 'gay' has become one of those words. The trick is to dissociate the definition of homosexuality from the word 'gay' when it is used outside of the legitimate parameters.

Even at school, from my experience 'gay' was never used directly towards a homosexual individual in a prejudice manner, simply because everyone knew that it wasn't acceptable. Everything else under the sun was fair game to manipulate into something offensive, that's what kids do.
People in your school knew it was unacceptable? I went to a comp, but in an alright area, and it was massively homophobic. If I was gay I wouldn't even have considered coming out there, which no one in my year did.
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Al-Mudaari
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(Original post by navarre)
can it be successful? I'm not so sure that it will be.
I'd have to agree.

Changing something ingrained within human conciousness is quite difficult and not something a gay-campaign can achieve.
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Mockery
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(Original post by IlexBlue)
Yes, but it's easy to view it that way when you're straight. Even if you have no homophobic intent behind it, imagine if it were you in that scenario.

Imagine the tables were turned, and it was your orientation that's being made fun of. Your orientation is seen as both a joke and an insult to other people, perceived as a mockable, feminine stereotype no one would want to be, and you had to be reminded of that every time someone said "haha, that's so straight!"
You're right, you should always try and put yourself in both pairs of shoes before commenting and therefore that's exactly what I did. If I was confident in my sexuality and felt that I had nothing to be ashamed of I don't know how I could find it offensive. Heck, I know a couple of gay fellas who have been guilty of using the word 'gay' in the context which we are discussing.

As long as I'm not being physically segregated then I'd imagine that I'd be unresponsive to such use of the word. What I'd hate more than anything is constantly being told that I should be offended and that I should therefore feel different and potentially weird.

However, without being on the other side of this discussion my perception of what it is like might be unrepresentative of reality.
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Mockery
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(Original post by Mankytoes)
People in your school knew it was unacceptable? I went to a comp, but in an alright area, and it was massively homophobic. If I was gay I wouldn't even have considered coming out there, which no one in my year did.
As far as I'm aware it wasn't. It was always a huge topic of discussion when ever someone came out though, but I never witnessed explicit and intentional homophobia.
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willbee
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The worst thing is when people who say the word 'gay' as an insult try to justify it when you point out that it's homophobic. I said it once to my old housemate and she replied with 'I'm not homophobic, one of my best friends is gay. Gay used to mean happy, now it means homosexual or uncool'.

While I agree that language should evolve, I do think using the word 'gay' as an insult is blatantly homophobic. You can't say you don't disapprove of being gay, and then use the word 'gay' to describe everything you disapprove of.
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willbee
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(Original post by Mockery)
I'm pretty sure the word '*******' is also used in a derogatory sense, but no one cares about that...

The word 'gay' has stuck as a generic insult with no hint of homophobia in common conversation. I'm beginning to feel that most of the problem stems from people being offended by it in the first place. All this is doing is reinforcing insecurity amongst the gay community. Prejudice against homosexuals is the past, they are now just another boring and normal group in society, like the rest of us.

I find myself referring to inanimate objects or situations as 'gay', but notions of homophobia never cross my mind.
Prejudice against homosexuals is in the past... are you kidding? Trust me, homophobia is alive and well in several parts of the country.
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Jjj90
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(Original post by willbee)
The worst thing is when people who say the word 'gay' as an insult try to justify it when you point out that it's homophobic. I said it once to my old housemate and she replied with 'I'm not homophobic, one of my best friends is gay. Gay used to mean happy, now it means homosexual or uncool'.

While I agree that language should evolve, I do think using the word 'gay' as an insult is blatantly homophobic. You can't say you don't disapprove of being gay, and then use the word 'gay' to describe everything you disapprove of.
You conclusively can. I use the word bender, I am absolutely not homophobic, want me to prove it?
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(Original post by willbee)
The worst thing is when people who say the word 'gay' as an insult try to justify it when you point out that it's homophobic. I said it once to my old housemate and she replied with 'I'm not homophobic, one of my best friends is gay. Gay used to mean happy, now it means homosexual or uncool'.

While I agree that language should evolve, I do think using the word 'gay' as an insult is blatantly homophobic. You can't say you don't disapprove of being gay, and then use the word 'gay' to describe everything you disapprove of.
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askew116
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(Original post by Mockery)
I'm pretty sure the word '*******' is also used in a derogatory sense, but no one cares about that...

The word 'gay' has stuck as a generic insult with no hint of homophobia in common conversation. I'm beginning to feel that most of the problem stems from people being offended by it in the first place. All this is doing is reinforcing insecurity amongst the gay community. Prejudice against homosexuals is the past, they are now just another boring and normal group in society, like the rest of us.

I find myself referring to inanimate objects or situations as 'gay', but notions of homophobia never cross my mind.
You're part of the problem. Despite no offense being intended, the use of 'gay' in this context is deeply hurtful and damaging to LGBT youth. In fact, it's the thoughtlessness of it that makes it more offensive than more obvious homophobic language.

And prejudice against homosexuals is definitely not in the past. Have you ever seen a homosexual couple kissing or even holding hands somewhere that isn't a gay venue? It's very rare to see (I've seen it maybe twice), and the reason is that, while the majority of people wouldn't have a problem, some still do, you only have to turn to cases such as Jamie Rodemeyer to see that.
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heshop
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As a gay guy, I find this whole debate really rather exhausting. I, and pretty much every other gay person I know, don't give a damn about people using gay as a synonym for bad or stupid so long as there is no intended malice or offense (which there usually isn't). I often use 'gay' to describe something that is frustrating me and the only people who seem to be offended are self-righteous straight liberals who want to censor the whole damn universe.
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AdamskiUK
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(Original post by heshop)
As a gay guy, I find this whole debate really rather exhausting. I, and pretty much every other gay person I know, don't give a damn about people using gay as a synonym for bad or stupid so long as there is no intended malice or offense (which there usually isn't). I often use 'gay' to describe something that is frustrating me and the only people who seem to be offended are self-righteous straight liberals who want to censor the whole damn universe.
Please don't confuse liberals with 'liberal democrats'.

Being liberal is the antithesis of what you described. A 'liberal' has only the intent to do exactly the opposite of censor everything, and tell everybody to grow up and take a joke without dying of heartache and then progressing onto suing the offender.
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