*Very quick post from me as erm somebody *should* be finishing off a masters (in challenging homophobia in schools) which is due in imminently!*
Today Stonewall and Mumsnet have launched a new campaign to encourage kids to #getoverit
Sometimes people object to challenging homophobic language as “language evolves” or “its endemic”, and therefore it “isn’t worth it/too much effort to challenge”. These responses don’t actually justify any lack of response from teachers, especially given the effect continually hearing such language can have on lesbian, gay or bisexual young people.
From my experience challenging homophobic language in schools, it snowballs very very rapidly. In no time at all you get kids challenging themselves and each other for using “that’s so gay”. They just need to be challenged to think about the language they use and how it might affect people. Most children and young people are not homophobic, they just use popular language without thinking about the impact.
Teachers- challenge them, get them to think about the impact, set off that snowball and watch it avalanche into a transformed school culture.
P.S True Story- I once had one student slap her hand over her own mouth so hard when she said “that’s so gay” she hurt herself! Ooops! it had become an ingrained habit to her but one she really wanted to stop. That student is now an awesome teacher herself (and makes me feel very old!). As far as I know she would challenge homophobic language in her classes too. So erm teachers- do it for this generation- do it for the next generation. Just blimming do it!