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Gove: We will work with Stonewall to tackle ‘growing’ anti-gay bullying

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  1. I feel very uncomfortable with the idea that the government continues to liaise with Stonewall on any subject relating to the wider LGBT community. Isn’t Ben Summerskill still the leader of Stonewall? Who are Stonewall claiming to represent this week. What credibility does Stonewall have in light of Summerskill’s active campaigning against marriage equality at the LibDem conference (and despite its claim to now suipport LGBT equality, Stonewall has still done nothing to campaign for this).

    I suspect that Stonewall’s only function will be to nod like sheep at whatever the government tells them to. That’s all they have been doing since 2004 after all.

  2. i would encourage the government to work solely with the anti-bullying alliance on this issue. They have far more credibility than Stonewall – especially while Ben Summerskill remains their leader.

  3. Pink News: “It cited a Christian school in Kent, St George’s Church of England school, which claims to have seen “near elimination of overt homophobia” through staff training on how to tackle the issue.”

    In fact the White Paper refers to St George’s school in Hertfordshire not the one in Kent.

    I agree with the other comments about Stonewall. Schools Out have worked tirelessly in this area and it would be nice to see them involved.

  4. Jock S. Trap 25 Nov 2010, 11:39am

    This is welcome news but we have to accept that this was one of Labour’s main failings.

    Whilst It was one of the good things to remove Section 28 it should have also been the time to have given school the power to act on homophobic bullying. Instead schools have been left with nothing and now we have a rising problem which can do lasting harm to those who’ve suffered.

    I don’t think it matters who are taking the steps to fight against bullying, so long as it serves the purpose and makes a difference. Unless of course you’d rather they just didn’t bother.

    There is a chance here that some good can happen and that hopefully in the next few years we’ll see a decline in bullying as well as other homophobic crimes.

    I for one welcome this, esp coming from the Tories.

  5. Unfortunately the White Paper gives no details of new powers to tackle homophobic bullying. What we seem to be dealing with is simple rhetoric, together with a new-found very cosy relationship between Stonewall and the Conservatives.

  6. Oh Martin B et al, shush already. Your anti-Stonewall rantings are at best ignorant. Do you have any idea how instrumental Stonewall – and Ben Summerskill – have been?
    Has PinkNews merely become a forum for Summerskill-bashing?
    Boring, and ill-informed.

  7. To Pink News – thanks for correcting the school location

    To Jon – Wouldn’t you agree that Schools Out has also done excellent work in reducing homophobic bullying, and the Government should therefore recognise their work as well as Stonewall’s?

    It’s very convenient for the Government that the school they singled out for special mention happens to be a faith-based school.

    I wonder if the Coalition will support LGBT History Month and back the excellent work being carried out in Stoke Newington.

  8. Whilsit this may work, i’d wait to see the outcomes first.
    Further the use of the word ‘gay’ to mean something ‘bad’ amongst teens may be falling but likely far worse is the use of the word ‘paedo’, mostly as a sort of joke between themselves, but sometimes against adults, incl teachers, as derogatory/abusive. I recall Frank Furudi, a Prof at Uni of Kent, raising this issue earlier in the year via an article in the Guardian (I think). This ‘abuse’ also needs to be tackled.

  9. I sometimes wonder if anti-gay bullying is rising BECAUSE of the campaign to stop it. The sort of bullies who pick on kids for being fat or spotty or wearing glasses wouldn’t have thought of picking on them for being gay if the idea wasn’t put in their heads.

  10. The one thing that Summerskill and the government fail to recognise is that when we’re set apart from the rest of society with similar rights under a different name, of course we’re going to be treated differently as inferiors to the majority. There is a direct link to bullying in all this. Now that Summerskill has under pressure reversed his position on marriage equality, its about time he became pro-active and put it at the top of his agenda. If he can’t multi-task and see the larger picture on bullying and the impact of marriage equality in all this, then maybe he should step down and allow someone who is committed to full equality to lead us. I frequently visit StonewallUK’s website and I see NOTHING on marriage equality or any reference to it. Why?


  11. I sometimes wonder if anti-gay bullying is rising BECAUSE of the campaign to stop it. The sort of bullies who pick on kids for being fat or spotty or wearing glasses wouldn’t have thought of picking on them for being gay if the idea wasn’t put in their heads.”

    No, I doubt it. Bullying occurs primarily because of a difference that a group percives in someone. I was out at school when I was about 14 and this was 20 years ago. I had no issue from other students and certainly wasn’t bullied because of that.
    I’m not saying this is universal, but I am saying that I think we don’t give kids enough credit.

  12. Zoe O'Connell 25 Nov 2010, 2:54pm

    I’m concerned about S’onewall too, from the T angle – if the DfE work with just them, any Trans voices or issues are likely to be silenced. I’ve written to Michael Gove today to ask about this – http://www.complicity.co.uk/blog/2010/11/a-letter-about-transphobia-to-the-education-secretary/

  13. Grove should be working with Schools Out not Stonewall on this.

    Summerskill must smell some funding in this.

  14. Danny, thats exactly my point. BEFORE these campains started there didn’t seem to be as much homophobic bullying. of course, its also possible it DID go on but wasn’t recognised as seperate to all the other sorts of bullying. in which case it isnt increasing its just being recorded.

  15. Given Stonewall surplus
    Stonewall – 2008/2009 3843063.00 3131913.00 = 711150.00 it could do more and is worth checking out http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/newsroom/news_releases/2010/101117-clegg-slams-bullying.aspx

  16. @Kevin – thanks for drawing attention to Stonewall’s Annual Accounts. I was really shocked to see their surpluses in the accounts when many LGBT campaigning organisations are struggling to keep above water. I wonder what kind of salary people at Stonewall like Jonathan Finney, Ruth Hunt and Ben Summerskill get paid.

    Stonewall has a very poor record in working with other organisations. For example, they seem to show little interest in LGBT History Month, which of course is a pro-active way to challenge heterosexism/heteronormativity and thereby help tackle the problem of homophobic/transphobic bullying.

  17. Well tht’s secured Stonewall’s indirect govt finance for a few more years.

    Sorry. I’m not Stonewalls/Summerskill biggest fan. I really don’t respect or trust this org, anyway all bullying of kids is wrong and a good org to deal with all types of bullying together would be better. Does it really have to be a gay specific org?

  18. Well with this extra cash that Stonewall will now get from govt for their campaing it’s no wonder they are trying to employ a new finance and operation director on 57000 pounds..

    As the blurbs says , the org has changed….

    “Stonewall’s operational effectiveness in recent years has been underpinned by its financial performance. The charity’s administrative, finance, fundraising and operational functions have all been reviewed since the appointment of Ben Summerskill as Chief Executive in 2003.

    In that period income has risen from £1.4m to £3.8m (year to 30 September 2010) and reserves have risen from £11,000 to £2.2m, consistent with best practice. We are planning for our income to rise to £5m by 2015.

    Stonewall became a charity in September 2003. Since then, we have introduced an entrepreneurial management culture supported by tight financial control and rigorous variance scrutiny. Our dedicated finance team of four staff are closely involved in cost control across the organisation.

    I just don’t know…. is stonewall the best org to deal with homophobic bullying at schools – it’s basically a bullying,children problem and Stonewall is for adults, a LGBT lobbying company , a company where feminist ideas are greater than LGBT ones, an org which really wants to keep us apart from the norm – what was it CPs were adequate, it made us different – it gave them a job for life more like it….

  19. Jock S Trap:
    Gay bullying has an ideological basis. And the core Tory values still underpins this ideology that feeds gay hate and bullying. Don’t be naive.

  20. If this coalition wants to tackle gay bullying, they need to clean their own house first, and THAT, they’ll never do, or they’ll lose their core supporters.

  21. Jock S. Trap 26 Nov 2010, 11:55am

    And yet under Labour homophobic crime has risen significantly. Yes some may be due to better reporting but generally there is a low tolerance coming from teenagers and young adults. Preach about naive if you want to but look at yourself first.

    This is where Labour failed and not amount of denying 13 years of a Labour government will change that.

  22. I agree withy MartinB , David, Robert and others here.
    Ben Summerskill remains a liability for gay men and lesbian women as long as Stonewall is not actively campaigning for full marriage equality he is helping to support our second class inferior status and that only props up the bullies and makes them feel they have a right to put gays and lesbians down.

    Was Stonewall’s announcement that they would campaign for marriage equality no more than a cynical ploy to stop an embarrassing protest at the recent Stonewall awards?
    The absence of any campaign action for marriage equality on their part makes it look increasingly likely.

  23. Pavlos, I too suspect Summerskill’s reversal was merely window dressing to prevent an embarrassing situation at the recent awards ceremony. How convenient for him.

    I urge everyone to check StonewallUK’s site. You’ll see nothing regarding marriage equality, so we should bombard Summerskill with emails and phone calls demanding action NOW. We must not be lulled into a false sense of security on this one issue. Don’t let him back down and do nothing. He needs to be held accountable, 24/7, 365 without letup.

  24. Nowadays saying we will work with Stonewall to overcome homophobic bullying is as convincing as saying they would work with the MCB to overcome Islamophobia.
    As Stonewall have repeatedly said they represent noone but their backers, they don’t represent UK LGBT citizens any more than MCB represent UK Muslim’s.

  25. I made an enquiry to Stonewall once asking, it should also look at how its Stonewall Champions treats the memebers of the public who are part of the LGBT community, not just its internal staff on the top 100! That just might show a different picture and be more inclusive.

  26. The only real chance of the government working with T issues is with GIRES, as the 2 leading heads of it are Tories.

  27. Stacy:
    > The only real chance of the government working with T issues
    > is with GIRES, as the 2 leading heads of it are Tories.

    Are they, or just rich and autocratic? They were on first name terms with the Blairs and the Browns.

    But it it were true, then we are right royally screwed since they represent their own, cis ideas, and those of the people who claim to be the experts ordained to treat and gatekeeper us. Oh, and a few TGs who like to suck up to such people.

    However, there do seem to be several people very in with some LibDems, who might have a little influence. I just wish the people in question didn’t seem more on the way out wing of the party, and that the party had a better track record selecting policies, and sticking with them.

    The fact that the LibDem who is now Equalities minister was on the committee for the Gender Recognition Bill, and the Equality Bill, and didn’t spot, and didn’t listen to those trying to warn of any of the huge problems they enacted doesn’t inspire confidence.

    Her department has a closed event next Monday to consult on its promised “Transgender Strategy”, but its just the same people invited as ever (including several people from GIRES), and its exactly the same department as wrote the Equality Bill and signed it off as non-discriminatory, and up to its same old tricks.

  28. the libdems have merely become the lackies of the cons – there is no lib dem agenda merely an approval by the lib dems on cons policies….

    in an interview with lynne featherstone back in Nov her says she wants to “move the CP agenda forward” – yet the lib dem party policy agenda is to move the gay marriage agenda forward, yet nothing on this isse has been done, she can’t even bare to mention “gay marriage”

    She further adds this comment which is more of an endorsement of the cons party rather than pushing forward a lib dem LGBT agenda
    • “I am very proud to push the LBG and T agenda forward. We are the first government ever to be publishing a Transgender Action Plan for equalities rights. That will come next year and they are probably the most marginalised groups. It was fantastic to go on the gay pride march, I will always push the equalities agenda as I am a Liberal but equally matched by my Conservative coalition, for a long time they had a relatively poor reputation here, but that has changed beyond recognition, and they now have a desire to move forward. The doors I am pushing at in terms of this equality agenda are far more open than people would realise.”

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