What can you do for your young people this week?
For Anti Bullying Week 2014 LGBT Foundation are asking people of all ages to consider what they can do to reduce homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying. This might be as simple as challenging a colleague, family member, peer or friend on their use pf discriminatory language or as big and bold as holding a fundraiser to raise money for a LGBT charity or an event to raise awareness to the issue of HBT bullying and promote positive activity to help to eradicate it.
For professionals working with young people we have devised some activities which create discussion around the destructive nature of HBT language and how everyone should and can take some responsibility to help end HBT bullying. You can find these at the bottom of this page.
Ninety six per cent of gay pupils hear homophobic remarks such as ‘poof’ or ‘lezza’ used in school. Almost all (99 per cent) hear phrases such as ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ in school. For anti-bullying week let’s make a stand.
More than half (53 per cent) of gay pupils experience verbal homophobic bullying, almost a quarter (23 per cent) experience cyberbullying and one in six (16 per cent) gay pupils experience physical abuse
Stonewall – The School Report 2012
What's on the A-Gender?
Gender can be a confusing topic, but it's important that as professionals that we strive to educate ourselves on topics we don't understand! You may have come across the Genderbread Person and the Gender Unicorn before, they are free and handy tools to use when learning about and explaining gender and sexual orientation.
(Click to enlarge images)
Now, you're probably thinking, "I have no idea what any of this means!". Don't worry, we'll translate!
Gender Identity: This is the Gender that is in one's brain. Everyone has a Gender Identity, whether it be "male", "female" or "non-binary"! It's about how you feel.
Gender Expression: The way that one's gender manifests in a physical way. This can be through; clothing, haircuts, make-up, the way someone walks, their voice, etc.
Biological Sex / Sex Assigned at Birth: Is the sex that one is given by a doctor right after they are born. This is decided by looking at chromosomes, genitallia and hormones.
Attracted to: This is talking about one's orientation, and who they feel sexually and romantically inclined towards. However, it is possible for sexual orientation and romantic orientation to not align. (Which is why the Gender Unicorn seperates "Romantic attraction" and "Sexual attraction)
Now that you know what each term means, maybe try plotting yourself!
1) Discussion about language:
Have groups discuss the following statements, either in small groups or as a whole class or group debate.
“Language evolves and meanings change, the meaning for the word ‘gay’ has also changed, it’s just another word for something rubbish now and we should accept that”
“Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language is just as harmful and serious as racist language is and should have the same consequences if it’s used”
2) Exploring the power and effect of language:
o Draw two body outlines on separate sheets of paper and write LGBT people and Heterosexual people at the top of each one. In small groups ask young people to think about the effects that hearing HBT language can have on these individuals or groups of people.
o Ask the whole group to share answers and discuss
o Ask young people whether they think people think about all these consequences when they use the word ‘gay’ and other discriminatory language as an insult?
§ Why do the group think people don’t think about their language use?
§ What we can do to help?
o Watch the following YouTube clips:
§ LGBT Foundation ‘Scars’ http://youtu.be/eRim2bosBMY
§ Stonewall ‘No Bystanders’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agLrVvCUkzI
Remind the group that other words that were seen as ‘the norm’ or ‘unproblematic’ have been erased from our everyday language: including racist words and words to describe people with mental and physical disabilities. We can change our language but it’s an effort that everyone needs to contribute to.
3) Create a class/group resource:
Top 5 phrases to challenge homophobic bullying
o Split the whole class/group into smaller groups and task the young people with coming up with phrases that they can use to challenge HBT language. Discuss what ways work best and what ways don’t work.
for example, telling someone off for using offensive language but not asking them why they use it or what they mean when they use it isn’t always helpful as the person doesn’t have the opportunity to understand WHY the language is inappropriate or offensive.
o Ask the whole group to share their ideas and have a vote on the top 5. These can then be written up and circulated around school and or/hung up in classrooms and youth spaces.
4) Poster competition:
Ask young people either in groups or individually to create posters that raise awareness to the HBT bullying, discriminatory language or generally to LGBT equality. Some examples are provided below:
You can download the card match game with LGBT definitions here. This can be printed out as an exercise for young people to match the words and definitions or can used as a tool for teachers to help understand and explain what different words and terms mean.