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Sir Ian McKellen to promote anti-homophobia campaign in schools

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  1. Tackling homophobic bullying has the potential to transform many more lives for the better than the middle class activist hobby horse of gay marriage does.

  2. The problem with Stonewall, as I see it, is that the organisation is often keen to point out what they believe isn’t necessary for equality, rather than do the maximum possible to achieve that goal. Regrettably that is also what I’ve found in relation to prevention of homophobic bullying, which they claim is their number 1 priority.

  3. Sorry I don’t see how McKellen will have any ‘street cred’ with students. I would love to be a fly on the wall in a Stockwell, London School.

    Why not ask those that have lived on estates or elsewhere who have suffered at the hands of the homophobes to go in and speak?


  4. You don’t see someone who has played both Magneto and Gandalf as having any cred? Maybe he isn’t “street” but he is a million times better than some “star” that puts on a funny accent and talks over music.

    The youth of today need to be encourged away from following Street and Urban culture.

  5. same-sex marriage and anti-bullying would both help matters loads

  6. Having a representative of a homophobic organization talk to children about anti-homophobia? Does that not sound a bit crazy?

    GS: Must be a supporting member of Stonewall and Ben Summerskill with this comment: “Tackling homophobic bullying has the potential to transform many more lives for the better than the middle class activist hobby horse of gay marriage does”? However, as with Stonewall’s lack of support for marriage equaility not being supported by its members or society, do you have any actual proof or studies to back up your claim?

  7. It’s great that Ian is giving his time up to try and help this problem. Why bring up gay marriage as if it’s either gay marriage or stop bullying? Why say he’s a nobody?

  8. Hodge Podge 11 Oct 2010, 8:35pm

    @3 Ian’s from Wigan, that well known bastion of middle class tolerance.

  9. @Ray – you ask about ‘proof or studies’. It’s just commonsense to realise that tackling homophobic bullying will have much more impact than campaigning for gay marriage. If there must be a choice between the two.

    With just 6,281 civil partnerships formed in 2009, how many gay marriages will there be? Compare that to the number of people who get bullied for being gay, lesbian or trans. Particularly children at school (and some of them actually heterosexual).

    Bullying is a massive problem that affects a large percentage of people. Unlike gay marriage which will cater for a tiny elite of openly-gay pink pounders. In fact the gay marriage marketing is already starting, with a show in Manchester this week. Which gives a clue about what a lot of this is really about.

  10. Stonewall’s actions should be first about helping GBLT community feel good about themselves, not first helping homophobic people feel good about gay people (granted the latter must be part of the equation). Of course, educating against homophobic bulling will be welcomed by any one in the GLBT community, but equality does not have to be at the cost of prolonged internal GLBT person’s conflict for not having the choice to feel equal or prolonging one’s suffering.

    @Hodge Podge
    If common sense was at question here, Stonewall would not be able to offer the correct answer to the question, nor would you support them.

    Any crack of inequality within our own ranks is a sign of weakness and will be used against us by bullies. Bullies focus on a victims weakness and thrive on it. Show weakness to a bully, you can be assured of abuse- increased and prolonged. Dulling hate with a poor education program constructed by a misguided organization is not the best action.

    Eradicating bulling is not about the bullies feeling good about themselves because they have become more broadminded towards differences in people, nor is it about having us prostrating ourselves and feeling falsely grateful because we ‘less-equal people’ are finally accepted by those homophobic (straight, religious, gay, closeted or otherwise) or ignorant. This conflict is not about, ‘could we have this’ or ‘could we have something like this because we know we are not the same as you,’ please, please, please…; this is claim for equality – our right. This is more about gay people claiming a place where everyone can blossom into the beautiful people they are without prejudice.

    Don’t just rely on educating bullies, expecting them to lift us up to our rightful place- claim it yourself first.

    Hate for the commercial aspect of anything should not be a reason to deny anyone a right to be equal or share their love in the way they feel fit.

  11. The coalition government states “We will help schools tackle bullying in schools, especially homophobic bullying”… in that case the coalition needs to address the export of American homophobia on sites such as youtube and facebook into UK society and at UK kids.. horrendous levels of hatred happening online from the usa… and it’s really bloody obvious.

  12. Are Stonewall finally doing something a bit more than printing leaflets and holding politically correct seminars with “stakeholders” (talk about middle class gays!) to tackle homophobic bullying? About time, given how “focussed” they say they’ve been on it for a while. Have they provided any evidence of the success of their current or previous campaigns?

    @GS: Fighting for full legal equality and fighting homophobic bullying aren’t “choices”. We either do both or we do neither, for neither can succeed without the other. How can you fight homophobic bullying and young LGBT depression/suicide when in law, and thus society, LGBT people are treated as different? It’s illogical. We don’t need to make the choice. We fight for both, and we fight hard.

  13. (the real) Ian Bower 12 Oct 2010, 9:38am

    Sir Ian McKellan to promote his own crappy career more like. Washed up has-been.

  14. Deeside Will 12 Oct 2010, 1:22pm

    I see that the redoubtable Jill has posted this news on the Anglican Mainstream website under the heading “Gay Activism, Proselytization”.

    So here we have a nationally famous actor going into schools to proselytize for the view that everyone has a right to be safe in school and to be treated decently irrespective of their sexual orientation, and that bullying anyone because they are gay (or assumed to be gay) is as unacceptable as bullying for any other reason. What effect is this message likely to have on the minds of vulnerable, impressionable children – especially if it isn’t going to be balanced by the presentation of a more “loving”, “compassionate”, “redemptive”, “Christian” view?

    What on earth is the world coming to?

  15. @Jae – stifling baggage-laden institutions such as marriage are part of the problem not the solution. This will increase exclusion. Gay marriage is another case of a tiny clique ingratiating themselves with society, some marrying their policeman and politician boyfriends, while the vast majority of LGBT people are left out in the cold. Which has been a trend over the last 15 years: an increasing amount of everything ‘gay’ caters for a ever-narrowing demographic: mainly rich, white, ‘gym-fit’ young males.

    A large number of people can’t even find a partner let alone get married.

    We should be tackling homophobia, bullying, ageism and asking real questions such as why our so-called community, even some of our Pride events, exclude most LGBT people. Instead of political posturing over something that hardly anyone wants or will benefit from.

    It IS a choice what organisations and activists focus on because they have limited time and resources. Marriage is an easy option: businesses love the idea, whereas they don’t like the suggestion that gay life should become less commercial and less focused on the most profitable demographic.

  16. Stonewall has absolutely no mandate or legitimacy or credibility as a campaigning organsiation on ANY issue, while they are actively undermining LGBT rights through the homophobic activities of Ben Summerskill.

    regardless of your personal opinion on marriage, the fact that Summerskill is campaigning for LGBT people to be denied access to the contract of marriage solely because they are LGBT, means that Stonewall cannot be trusted. They are homophobic bigots.

    It’s a pity that Ian McKellen is associating himself with the homophobes at Stonewall.

    Why should we trust Stonewall on the subject of bullying?

    Summerskill will decide that it’s not an important issue as soon as his unnamed bosses instruct him to.

  17. GS – we all accept there is homophobic bullying and what a fantastic world it would be without it. Every single lgbt org, every political party and so on are already in agreement. You’ve got a whole load of guys talking about it and supporting it and there is probably a whole load of money going to be dumped into the campaign. Regrettably I doubt very much if homophic bullying will go away in a hurry despite all of this and to stop campaingining for anyrhing else , eg marriage equlaity, while we ALL, every single one of us, sorts out homophobic bullying is dumb… Do you really think Stonewall only does one task at a time!!

  18. The man whobstayed in the closet for so long – take a look at some of the work schools out is doing these guyscand girls would be the best people to work on homphobia and bullying in schools

  19. If Sir Ian takes Stonewall’s campaign into schools he will be promoting transphobia, and encouraging transphobic bullying, which every piece of evidence shows is the worst there is, and the least acted against by schools.

    Stonewall makes out that there is no such thing as a transsexual child, or bullying of such children in our schools. It talks of homophobic bullying as the worst. By implication is denies such children’s identities and paints them as gay, adding to the abuse.

    It would be easy for Sir Ian to break with that and make a big difference. As an actor he should be able to imagine how it is for those who are called gay when they are really a girl, or a lesbian when they are really a boy, inside. He just has to talk about persecution for not conforming to sexual stereotypes, and being different. Say “gender identity” as well as “sexual orientation”.

    But Stonewall’s minders would not be happy at that, at helping a different oppressed minority along the way. As we all know, aside from its gay and lesbian core focus, the only group that Stonewall doesn’t work against is radical feminists who hate marriage.

  20. Stonewall is pathetic.

    Its leader is pathetic

    And it cannot be trusted on ANY issue until Ben Summerskill has been sacked and there is a lot more transparency in deciding how their agenda is decided,and who it is answerable to.

    I think that with Stonewall involved in an anti-bullying campaign then it seriously undermines any efforts to protect schoolchildren from bullying.

    After all Stonewall is a group who believes that LGBT people do not deserve legal equality.

    Who could trust such a group to care about schoolchildren?

  21. Well when this comes to my child’s school, I’ll keep them home.

    Homosexuality has been shown to neither natural or harmless.

  22. i cant wait until he comes to our school as some of the kids here need sorting out ive had umpteen meetings with the head and he finally told me that sir ian will be visiting our school i just hope it sorts it out coz i cant take the sh1t any more it does my head in

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