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Schools secretary Ed Balls in crackdown on gay bullying

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  1. “Last week, two gay charities attacked the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) for rewording a teachers’ code of conduct after faith groups complained they would have to “promote” homosexuality.”
    I know it’s been said before, but it’s disingenuous of the religious right to ignore the subtle difference in emphasis between “promoting homosexuality” and “promoting tolerance and respect for homosexuality”. This is how section 28 kicked off in the first place, the bogus notion that we were on some mass recruitment drive.
    I couldn’t turn a straight person gay if I wanted too. I think this is a classic evangelical right psychological projection, “we convert kids to our beliefs at an impressionable age, so that’s what the gay lobby are doing. Save our hetrosexual kids”!
    Frankly most of the gay guys I encounter [myself included] only came to terms with their gay identity after a long period of denial when they realised the social pressure to conform to straightness was detrimental to their mental health. By that time I was well into my 20’s.
    I don’t imagine we’re going to be signing up any LGBT kids who weren’t already that way inclined… All I’m hoping is that those kids who are don’t feel as demonised and isolated as I did at school.

  2. theotherone 6 Jul 2009, 11:46am

    Eddie’s got a bloody cheek! The goverment may not like the use of the term ‘Gay’ but it l-o-v-e-s the use of terms that do not directly comment on sexuality and insted comment on a persons Gender Presentation. Why does this matter? If a puple uses a-n-y term other than ‘Gay’ it’s not homophobic bullying. In adition you can get ripped (literaly) into TransYouth without fear as that’s not of intrest to the goverment.

    This isn’t an oversite – the goverment changed the rules to a-l-l-o-w nhomophobic and Genderphobic bullying.

    They love us that Labour.

  3. theotherone 6 Jul 2009, 11:50am

    in adition…

    the same quaslifications exist in the workplace with the added proviso that if you get abused because someone thinks your a Transperson but you’re not then you can’t make a complaint about it as, again, the goverment DELIBERATLY framed the law to allow this.

  4. “Gender Presentation”, “Genderphobic bullying”. What the hel are you talking about. Why is it that some can not see that their arguments make LGBT issues appear utterly ridiculous?

  5. I feel sad about this. It is too little too late. It will probably be a waste of time. It is only guidance and there is no obligation on schools to act on it so many (if not most) will not. Certainly to faith schools will pay any attention. The government need to be far far tougher on this. The only way to really make any positive changes would be to enforce action through Ofsted requirements. If schools knew they would fail Ofsted inspections for failing to tackle homophobic bullying and for failing to actively promote tolerance and diversity then they would all be taking this guidance a lot more seriously. This is a matter of life or death because vulnerable young people do take their own lives as a result of homophobic bullying.

  6. Ed Balls can make all the plans he likes, bring in as much legislation as he thinks fit and plead for equality.
    However, if he is not supported on the School Chalkface by teachers and other members of staff, then wnatever he says will be invalid.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all schools were able to direct young gay people – and many kids in primary school are well aware that they’re gay – to someone who is totally trustworthy and fully sympathetic with the person’s sexual identity be it an identity which is fully realised or someone who has doubts about him/herself and would like to discuss it further?
    The only gay blokes i ever came across in my teens were in cottages and they certainly didn’t want to enter into conversation, whilst my father considered all gay men as puffs who deserved a good beating and then thrown into jail to protect society.
    Role models, please, not legislation, however well meaning it may be.

  7. Yes Barry, because society would be very welcoming of “gay champions” discussing sexuality with primary school children. do people actually think before they write such comments? I seriously doubt it.

  8. Quite right, Jason, although the main thrust of my comment was the support of the legislation by those adults in schools; “Wouldn’t it be wonderful…” means just that was just that, ie something wonderful but not achievable.

  9. That’s just it though Barry, what would be so wonderful about it? I see no reason why we should be discussing sexuality with primary school children. They are children, for god’s sakes! Let’s just allow them to be that, for as long as is possible.

  10. Will the Scouser 6 Jul 2009, 6:02pm

    Many thanks for your comment, flapjack. I can identify with it totally. I too felt very isolated during my teenage tears and well into my twenties. When I look back – which I try not to do too often – I feel extremely angry and resentful at the way in which my youth was stolen from me, but I’m not in a position to say that, in the climate of those years, that could have been avoided.

    That being gay was bad was a dogma so universally and unthinkingly accepted that few thought even to question it, and those who went along with it, i.e. pretty well everyone, never realised, much less reflected on, the damage that was being done.
    So I suppose that I can, albeit with great difficulty, forgive them on the grounds that they acted through sheer ignorance and thoughtlessness. The people whom I can’t forgive are those who want to keep on doing it; I can’t, won’t and shouldn’t take a tolerant view of them or make any allowances for them whatever.

  11. Pumpkin Pie 7 Jul 2009, 2:03am

    That’s just it though Barry, what would be so wonderful about it? I see no reason why we should be discussing sexuality with primary school children. They are children, for god’s sakes! Let’s just allow them to be that, for as long as is possible.

    If you agree not to tell kids that men and women fall in love (references should only be made to “parents”, NEVER “mummy and daddy”) and that kids with dangly bits are boys and those without dangly bits are girls (either shirts/trousers or dresses/skirts should be banned, or pupils should be asked which they’d like to wear), then I’ll accept you not as a homophobe, but as a real progressive thinker. Somehow, I doubt you will, though.

  12. No one should be allowed to use the “N” word in relation to black people and likewise the word Gay should not be used to mean bad things; perhaps Mr Balls should get John Barrowman to do a publicity campaign; kids like him and most realise he is Gay!

  13. I marched with my students on Saturday at Pride. We were all very proud of each other.

  14. Jason, if you really don’t understand why it is important to discuss relationships and sexuality with children then you are very naive. I seriously wonder if you have ever spent any time around children! They do have some intelligence, you know, and they do pick things up and asl all sorts of questions from a very young age. Why do some men marry each other? Why has my friend got two mummies or two daddies instead of a mummy and a daddy? Why doesn’t auntie want a boyfriend? Why is this TV character gay and what does it mean?

    You are utterly mad if you think the appropriate response is to refuse to discuss these matters! To do so would only give the kids a very negative message and create hang-ups. It is actually very important to treat same-sex relationships as normal and not make an issue of them, so making them into a taboo that must not be discussed is wrong. Children needs to be shown positive examples of gay people and to have an understanding of sexuality (i.e. that some people are gay and have same-sex relationships etc). It is not only important for children who will realise in time that they are gay, but also for those straight children who need to grow up without having homophobic message reinforced by tacit messages.

    As ever, the litmus test is to compare same-sex relationships with mixed-race relationships. Can you imagine what it would be like if we tried to raise children without letting them know that some people have mixed-race relationships and only revealed it with great seriousness when they reached the magic age of sixtreen? What sort of a message would that give them?

  15. theotherone 10 Jul 2009, 12:39pm

    oh sorry Jason – did no one tell you that it’s not just Gay nem out there? Sorry to shatter you’re insuler little Gay world.

    It’s the atatude of people like yourself that halts the march towards any real Rights for Queer people, the atatude that screams with horror if the limelight is stolen from you for ten seconds.

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