The campaign, supported by Mumsnet, comes in response to research showing that 99 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people hear phrases such as 'that's so gay' or 'you're so gay' in school. 84 per cent of young people are distressed when they hear this homophobic language. Polling by Mumsnet also shows that 66 per cent of parents don't know if their children's school has policies to tackle homophobic language.
The hard-hitting new campaign, fronted by Will Young uses new posters and guidance, developed for Welsh schools in both languages, to address the misuse of the word gay. Posters, to be used in schools across Wales, state clearly: 'Gay. Let's Get the Meaning Straight.' The posters are accompanied by new guidance for both pupils and teachers to enable them to challenge the derogatory use of the word gay.
Will Young, who is supporting Stonewall Cymru's campaign this 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.'
Stonewall Cymru Education Officer Luke Young said: 'We know that many people who casually use the term 'that's so gay' don't intentionally mean to be offensive. But the reality is that their words cause offence and distress. That's why we're launching this flagship campaign so teachers and parents in Wales have the resources to tackle the problem head on. We want every young person, teacher and parent to challenge this language and change the culture of our schools.'
Justine Roberts, Founder of campaign partners Mumsnet, said: 'We should all be challenging our children's use of homophobic language and simply shouldn't tolerate phrases like "that's so gay" which are in everyday use in school playgrounds. Parents, working with schools, really can stamp out this type of language which is demeaning, hurtful and offensive to so many.'
Stonewall Cymru is distributing copies of the new posters and guidance through its Education Champions to secondary schools across Wales. The charity is also asking individuals to get involved by writing to their local schools and challenging their own children's use of homophobic language.
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