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London school claims to have eradicated anti-gay bullying

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  1. Louie Mince 26 Oct 2010, 11:44am

    Yeah best of luck with all that but unless you’re black you don’t get any special treatment, I’d like someone to highlight an awareness in these equality programmes regarding the crap treatment minority groups dole out to other minorities, I’m thinking mainly of the use of the word “gay” to denote something rubbish and “batty” which is on the lips of every black homophobe, but WE daren’t mention the “N” word.

  2. Elly Barnes sounds like an incredible person. This is exactly where homophobia will be stopped, in education. And is why in my opinion, if you are idealistically homophobic (christian, muslim, jew, bnp), you should not be a teacher.

  3. Jock S. Trap 26 Oct 2010, 11:55am

    A shining example of a school and it’s teaching at its best. I don’t see why this can’t be added to all school teaching. This maybe what Stonewall should be pressuring the government on with regards to their anti-bullying scheme.

  4. You can see a lot about Elly Barnes in this Teachers’ TV video. I’d also argue that the media needs to do more.

  5. Mm showing them Precilla is like showing them Larry Grayson and John Inman; not all gay men are camp or drag queens! I hope they include the likes of Gareth Thomas, John Barrowman etc to offset the sterotypes! otherwise, well done to them!

  6. Mike – it depends on what context the film is used in. I’d imagine it presents a good starting point for discussion on LGBT issues, including stereotypes. And don’t forget, Priscilla is as much a transgender film as it is a gay film.

  7. martyn notman 26 Oct 2010, 1:54pm

    theres a big difference what goes on when a teacher is looking and what goes on when they arent….no teacher i have ever met has more than a rudimentary idea of what the kids are actually up to, and i suspect this is very wishful thinking on their part.

  8. Sally Outen 26 Oct 2010, 1:54pm

    …and it’s possibly even more problematic from a transgender perspective. Bernadette, for example, is a fine example of all that is fail in the media’s portayal of trans women.

  9. Sally Outen 26 Oct 2010, 1:56pm

    (My last comment was in reply to Andrew, btw!)

  10. Mumbo Jumbo 26 Oct 2010, 2:04pm

    Some of you might want to respond to the knuckle dragging comments on the Evening Standard report of this story:

  11. Hmmm a equality program that actually works? I’m impressed! I just did an equality course for the GMB and out of all of the forms of discrimination whether it was black, disabled, women, religious etc the only one that someone joked about was gays, strange that as I felt it went against what the course was about.

  12. Whilst I would absolutely support and congratulate this marvellous school on their efforts, I would warn them against getting ahead of themselves. It is presumptuous to suggest that bullying has been “completely” eradicated, as I would say that that is night on impossible. To claim this bears a danger of thinking that everything is “fine”, and could results in a backwards step. I am well aware of this, as a few years ago, my old primary school was debating the benefits of holding a “Anti-Bullying Week” within the school. This event never took place; teachers and parents claimed that an “Anti-Bullying Week” was not needed, seeing as the school was of a very good standard and there wasn’t really a bullying problem. This is the school in which I was mentally bullied for three years; bullying which changed my whole character and which I have only just started to deal with now, in my first year at University. Bullying will always be there, and if you think it isn’t then the pressure to do something about it is also absent.

    I do, however, applaud this school for its efforts and its open-mindedness. Especially as I know what kind of backlash they may have had to face from the parents, having parents who are teachers. I know the fear that is there of what the parents could say or do, which restricts them from always being open or even being able to teach what they feel is right. A friend of mine, who is nine, knows that men can have relationships with men, and that women can have relationships with women, but that comes from me and her very open-minded family. When people talk of teaching sexuality issues to school children it is immediately assumed that this means teaching the “sex” part of it. That’s where the backlash comes from. What parents need to realise is a) the teachers can only do so much (true acceptance begins in the home) and b) that teaching children about homosexuality is NOT teaching them how to take it up the arse (okay, so that was crude, but that’s what they think).

    We need to make it easier for all teachers to teach what is right without fear of reprisal. Because, right now, they can only do so much.

  13. Is it just gay men they learn about? I haven’t seen a single reference to lesbians in all this.

  14. So what’s next? Educating children on Trans bullying??? I doubt it!

  15. Well done, so with all this attention on homophobic bullying at schools and teachers already taking action on it and teachers already educating other teachers on best practice, can stonewall and the government now pay a little bit of attention to CP and marriage equality – you can’t all be spending all ya time doing the same thing!!!

  16. Brilliant. Power to them.

  17. I’ve met Elly several times and i’ve seen the work she and her colleagues have done – she’s got her kids to perform their school assemblies during LGBT history month and talk about the work they’ve done. It goes well beyond tokenism and doesn’t simply focus on bullying. Elly’s work is inclusive of all LGBT communities, not only gay men. A couple of years ago she specifically focused on trans communities. She gets the whole school involved in all areas of the curriculum – she includes parents and teachers, in what is a very diverse inner-city school. I can honestly say Elly’s work is truely inspirational. I’m sure there are many other ‘unsung’ teachers doing the similar work and we should all encourage and celebrate that!

  18. In the USA, many colleges have a Black Studies Dept., that provides insight and study into black history and the contributions of blacks in the USA and around the world. The same needs to happen for Gay Studies. There needs to be a recognition that gays have made a major contribution to society, all the way from Alexander the Great and the Greeks, through Roman culture and politics. So much work needs to be done to celebrate and recognize the contributions of gays and lesbians throughout world history and today. Without studies at the university level, the fundamentalists will keep preaching that being gay is a “choice” and that there were never any gays around some 50 years ago. Those sentiments are without any factual evidence and are pure rubbish. There have always been gays, but they had to keep their true identities secret for fear of retribution and abuse.

  19. PumpkinPie 27 Oct 2010, 5:14pm

    Congrats to Elly. She sounds like a great person.

  20. Sally Outen:
    >…and it’s possibly even more problematic from a transgender
    > perspective. Bernadette, for example, is a fine example of all
    > that is fail in the media’s portayal of trans women.

    I think one can be pretty sure that a school using ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ or similar films as a teaching aid would not be a safe place for transsexual children.

  21. dave:
    > You can see a lot about Elly Barnes in this Teachers’ TV
    > video.

    Thanks for that interesting link. But unfortunately it reinforced my doubts that transphobic bullying will have been tackled at all, which, in turn, given the claim to have ended all bullying, would suggest that transphobic bullying may be seen as just the natural way of things in that school, for both students and staff, as in most others.

    Another gay teacher was shown teaching primary children about sexuality using several books about families with same-sex parents. He emphasised how these were all equal families. But that isn’t an approach through which gender identity can be approached. Our families aren’t trans. The issue is actual children, or members of the public who have equal value and rights as individuals, not as families. I strongly suspect that the equality work there excluded trans.

  22. An Cat Dubh 28 Oct 2010, 9:33am

    I was briefly bullied by a few idiots in high school. They tried stoning me. They stopped rather quickly, and were actually supportive when I said, ‘More gays in the world, more girls for you!’
    They started trying to stone me again when I started mocking their religion XD

  23. An Cat Dubh:
    > I was briefly bullied by a few idiots in high school. They
    > tried stoning me. They stopped rather quickly, and were actually
    > supportive when I said, ‘More gays in the world, more girls for
    > you!’ They started trying to stone me again when I started
    > mocking their religion XD

    All bullying is unacceptable, and harmful, but that’s not the degree of abuse others suffer. I was bullied from the morning break on my first day in school, at four and a half (as soon as I said I didn’t play football), right through to 18. Every break, in most classes, in every games and PE session, and on most journeys home. I had to drop sciences because bullying in the labs were too dangerous. Twice there were serious attempts to kill me. Adults always turned away.

    A lot of it was homophobic – I got called “faggot” a lot, and hit or kicked if boys thought I had looked at them; and they didn’t like that I wouldn’t “admit it”. But that was doubly abusive because I had known since I was two that I was meant to live a woman’s life, in a female body, and men terrified me and didn’t seem at all attractive.

    It stopped when those in my year suddenly decided to tell everyone else to leave off after a lout in the year above in that boys’ grammar pushed me off a some stairs on to gravel, abrading my face. That was unacceptable harm to someone they regarded as almost a girl.

    Not having had a male puberty was a factor in that, I guess, but, looking back, I was girlish rather than effeminate in many, many ways. A geek girl type; seriously political.

    Male-to-female transsexual kids probably get it worst of all, but it is widely ignored. Compared to lesbian and gay children it starts earlier and is more persistent, with no escape because we cannot hide and we are usually alone in schools. At a recent Equalities and Human Rights Commission meeting a bloke claimed religious children are the most bullied, but the Commission itself says it is male-to-female transsexual kids, which seems unlikely, given that girls tend to to use physical tactics whereas boys use both physical and psychological. And a lot of what boys and men regard as normally playful, “rough and tumble” behaviour is, for us, threatening, unpredictable, inexplicable, and violent.

    Which is why schools claiming to have ended bullying , and Stonewall talking as if homophobic bullying is the worst is so transphobic, and wrong.

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