What is homophobia?• Homophobia is the irrational hatred, intolerance, and fear of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people.• These negative feelings fuel the myths, stereotypes, and discrimination that can lead to violence against LGB people.• LGB people brought up in a homophobic society can often internalise these negative stereotypes and develop varying degrees of low self-esteem and self- hatred, often described as internalised homophobia.• The word homophobia was constructed by the heterosexual psychologist George Weinberg in the late 1960s. He used homophobia to label heterosexuals’ dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals as well as homosexuals’ internalised oppression. The word first appeared in print in 1969.
Why are people homophobic?• Ignorance• Peer pressure• Insecurity about their own sexuality• Religion• Media stereotypes• Not taken seriously enough in schools/ workplaces/government• Parental/family attitudes• Gay marriage not being legal
Some attitudes to homosexuality “I’m one of those people who totally hates gays. If my friend turned gay, they wouldn’t be my friend no more.” “It’s not the same as being racist at all,”
Homophobia – A history•Until 2003, it was illegal for local authorities(including schools) to be seen to promotehomosexuality•Homosexuality was considered a criminal offenceuntil 1967•In 2002, same-sex couples were granted the right toadopt•Civil partnerships were introduced as recently as2005 granting the same rights as married couples•The debate is currently ongoing as to whether gaymarriage will be legalised
Homophobia in schools•17million people have witnessed anti-gay bullying in schools•Almost two thirds of LGB pupils have experienced homophobic bullying•98% of young gay people hear phrases such as ‘that’s so gay’ / ‘you’re so gay’& over four fifths hear them frequently•Ninety seven per cent of pupils hear other insulting homophobic remarks,such as “poof”, “dyke”, “queer” and “bender”. Over seven in ten gay pupilshear those phrases used often•or frequently.•“I have every confidence that as a teacher with over 30 years’ experience, andas a head of year, I could discuss issues with girls who claim to be gay, but Iwould probably not be very sympathetic,”•“One has to pick one’s battles as a teacher, and that means occasionallyturning a blind eye to inappropriate language in certain contexts.”
Homophobia in society•Three in five people still say there is public prejudiceagainst lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britaintoday.•Three quarters of people (77 per cent) think the mediastill rely heavily on clichéd stereotypes of lesbian, gayand bisexual people.•Almost 4 million people have witnessed homophobicbullying at work.•Physical bullying also occurs at work, and has beenseen by 4 per cent of people – over 1.2 million people.
Challenging Homophobia - Stonewall• Stonewall was founded in 1989 by a small group of women and men who had been active in the struggle against Section 28 of the Local Government Act.• Section 28 was an offensive piece of legislation designed to prevent the so-called promotion of homosexuality in schools; as well as stigmatising gay people it also galvanised the gay community.• The aim from the outset was to create a professional lobbying group that would prevent such attacks on lesbians, gay men and bisexuals from ever occurring again. Stonewall has subsequently put the case for equality on the mainstream political agenda by winning support within all the main political parties and now has offices in England, Scotland and Wales.• Stonewall is renowned for its campaigning and lobbying. Some major successes include helping achieve the equalisation of the age of consent, lifting the ban on lesbians and gay men serving in the military, securing legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt and the repeal of Section 28. More recently Stonewall has helped secure civil partnerships and ensured the recent Equality Act protected lesbians and gay men in terms of goods and
Challenging Homophobia - Diversity Role Models•Diversity Role Models actively seeks to prevent homophobic bullying in schools. They aimto stop bullying before it happens by educating all young people about differences insexuality and gender identity.•In schools where homophobic bullying is tackled, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender(LGBT) students are 60% less likely to be bullied. This environment allows young people tofeel safe and focus on learning. It also prepares all students for a working environment inwhich homophobia is not tolerated and diversity is respected.•They communicate with students directly, using positive role models to counter negativestereotypes. They help LGB and T young people to feel confident and their classmates tounderstand, accept and welcome the differences they notice in others.•Diversity role models can be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or straight. They need notbe successful, attractive or brilliant. They certainly dont need to be perfect. All they needto demonstrate is that its ok to be different.
The national lesbian, gay & bisexual charity http://www.stonewall.org.uk
Tackling homophobia through education http://www.diversityrolemodels.org/
Making life safe, just and fair for LGBT people http://www.galop.org.uk/
Ending homophobia, empowering people http://www.lgf.org.uk
Suggested Internet Links• Stonewall Publications (Information on attitudes, schools, workplaces and lots more) – http://www.stonewall.org.uk/what_we_do/2583.asp• LGF Policy research – http://www.lgf.org.uk/policy-research/ News Articles http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18412222 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17796511 http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0517/1224316238678.html