That’s so gay – practical guide for teachers on challenging homophobic language


First in a series of guides to restore teachers’ confidence

Stonewall has released a plain English guide for teachers on how to challenge homophobic language in schools. The guide is aimed at secondary and primary schools and education and youth professionals in Britain.

This is the first in a series of education guides for teachers on different specific aspects of tackling homophobic bullying. Each Stonewall education guide will contain practical advice as well as information on policy, legislation and real case study examples of how schools are already combating the problem. The best practice examples come from members of Stonewall’s Education Champions Programme, which enables Local Authorities to work with Stonewall and each other to tackle homophobic bullying in their local schools.

Research conducted by YouGov for Stonewall this year has shown that homophobic language and bullying is commonplace in schools, but teachers are massively under-resourced to tackle the problem. 95 per cent of secondary school staff and three quarters of primary school staff reported hearing the phrases ‘you’re so gay’ or ‘that’s so gay’ in their schools. Eight in ten secondary school teachers and two in five primary school teachers reported hearing other insulting homophobic remarks such as ‘poof’, ‘dyke’ and ‘queer’.

Nine in ten primary and secondary school teachers have never received any training on how to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying.

Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said ‘Every day in schools homophobic language undermines the confidence and self-esteem not just of young gay people but of any student deemed different. Challenging homophobic language doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. Stonewall’s education guides are designed to restore confidence to teachers who, until now, have been under-equipped in creating an environment where all young people can learn free from discrimination and bullying.’