‘They play with a pack of cards, and one card is the gay card. Whoever ends up with the card is the “gay boy” for the day. These boys are nine years old.’
Primary school teacher, Sussex. Extract from Homophobic Bullying, Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2007.
A harmless joke? A trivial matter? Boys being boys? If the card had been assigned a racist term, would we think differently about this incident?
Half of all teachers do not challenge homophobic language when they hear it. The reasons for this are varied, but combined they contribute to a wide ranging conspiracy of silence. As a result, homophobia remains a pervasive and persistent problem within our society, including in our schools and colleges.
In July this year, the charity Stonewall published The School Report, which documents the experiences of over 1,100 lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils in Britain’s schools. The report notes that almost two-thirds of you