This question has two aspects. First it relates to bullying, which is a
common behaviour in an educational setting. Bullying in general is harmful
to both the target and the perpetrator. Educationally, it is bound to compromise
academic achievement and is incompatible with good character, something
that all education should be concerned with. Second, and more importantly,
it relates to an irrational prejudice which is endemic in society. Ignorance
is the prime target of education, even when it has no wider academic implications:
especially when it regularly leads to injustice and wickedness, such as
the Soho bombing and the murders of Damilola Taylor [Outrage, BBC
News] and David Morley.
What is bullying?
The English criminologist, David Farrington (1993) defined bullying as
"repeated oppression, psychological or physical, of a less powerful person
by a more powerful person" [Schools of Education at the University
of South Australia].
Bullying can be broken up into a number of degrees. These are:
This is behaviour that establishes a climate of fear.
Prejudicial behaviour and policy
This is behaviour that specifically harms a specific individual or identifiable
This is behaviour that proposes physical violence to a specific individual
or identifiable group.
This is behaviour that does material harm to some person.
In an educational context, not all bullying occurs between students. The
person who is in fact "more powerful" may not be the possessor of formal
authority. Staff can bully students and vice versa. Teachers can bully
each other or parents; parents be bullied by staff members. Teachers can
be bullied by managers and vice versa.
What is homosexuality?
Through much of this century, the medical and scientific community defined
homosexuality as sickness, deviance, sex perversion or a form of criminality.
The word "homosexual" has never been a value neutral term. "Heterosexual"
is only ever used in contrast with "homosexual": to mean "normal". A landmark
event in the redefinition of homosexuality came in 1974, when the American
Psychological Association officially repudiated the pathological definition
of homosexuality. There is still no universally accepted definition of
homosexuality [U.S.A. public affairs series FRONTLINE].
Physiologically: a (wo)man is homosexual if (s)he characteristically
experiences sexual arousal in the context of the presence, image or thought
of another human being of apparently the same gender.
Emotionally: it is the tendency to form close
bonds of affection with others who are perceived to be of the same
It is not entirely clear why these two characteristics should be closely
Homosexuality in other cultures
In ancient Egypt, where sex and religion were closely inter-twined, there
is evidence that the gods were thought to have engaged in homo-eroticism.
In native North American culture, recognizably homosexual men play
shamanic or priestly roles. Homo-gender romanticism and eroticism were
common in ancient Greece. The Athenians tolerated and approved of homo-gender
affection and eroticism [Plato: "Symposium"].
The Spartans rigorously imposed homo-gender pairing, as a matter of social
policy. In some contemporary native African cultures, similar arrangements
are still traditional. These facts call into question any rigid categorization
of individuals as homosexual and heterosexual, as is common in Anglo
Orientation vs practise
Many commentators make a distinction between homosexual orientation
and homosexual practise[Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith (1986)]. Someone of homosexual
orientation desires, aspires to or would welcome physical and/or
emotional intimacy with someone perceived to be of the same gender. A practising
does in fact engage in sexual activity in a homo-gender
context. At one level this distinction is unexceptional; on another, naive;
on the deepest, it is pernicious. Few people would care to self identify
as "practising heterosexuals". The very phrase "practising homosexual"
carries connotations of wrongness.
The distinction of orientation from practise has been used by the Catholic
Church, as other religious bodies, to set the divide between blameworthy
sin: which should be condemned as grossly immoral, an affront to the
order, and liable to undermine
life and society at large and so legislated against in the strongest
terms [Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1992)];
and an unfortunate disability, dysfunction, handicap and disorder which
should be sympathetically tolerated. More recently, in the context of pedophilia
scandals, this dividing line has been eroded
[Nov/Dec. 2002 issue of
Sickness, choice or characteristic?
Some authorities still contend that homosexuality is some sort of
psychological or spiritual sickness or disability. Some propose programs
of treatment, based on various theories as to the root cause of the sickness.
None of these have been demonstrated to be effective in changing anyone's
sexual orientation, though some subjects have been trained to conform to
heterosexual behaviour patterns. Of course, for those who are only concerned
behaviour as sinful, this is an adequate change.
Others speak as if homosexuality was a life-style choice: something
that an individual elects for him/herself. This is not the experience
reported by gay men or lesbians ["Two of Us" BBC film and book; "What's
Wrong With Angry?" stage play; "Beautiful Thing", stage play; "Lucky",
Others believe that sexual orientation is fixed by genetic (or at least
congenital) factors. While this is plausible, and corroborated to a degree
by physiological studies, it cannot be entirely true. Not all identical
twins share the same sexual orientation.
of the population is homosexual?
The famous 1948 Kinsey report came up with the unpopular and startling
result that as many as 10% of the male population was homosexual, basing
this on self reported homo-gender sexual activity. Subsequent
research has tended to result in slightly smaller figures, but there
seems to be a consensus developing that between 5% and 10% of the male
population is predominantly homosexual [U.S.A. public affairs
series FRONTLINE]. All such figures are suspect. It is plausible,
given the climate of opinion that exists, that many men who have homo-gender
affectivity find it difficult to admit this, even to themselves and often
do nothing about it. It is also plausible that many people who might regularly
experience homo-gender affectivity if no pressure to conform to conventional
stereotypes was imposed are trained into functional heterosexuality
The invisibility of homosexuality.
Many people who have a distinctly homo-gender affectivity conform to conventional
stereotypes in public and even in private. Many men marry and have passably
normal sex lives with their wives, while pining for male affection and
intimacy. Many of these are fond of and devoted to their wives and families.
Many are happy, on one level. Some seek casual and even anonymous sexual
contacts with other men [David Leavitt "The Lost Language of Cranes"],
putting both themselves and their wives at high risk of contracting A.I.D.S.
Others simply tolerate the pain of the situation in which they find themselves.
Regularly, when evidence for the homosexuality of a respected individual
(perhaps a historical figure such as Cardinal Newman [Meriol Trevor
(1962)] or Alexander the Great [Mary Renault (1970, 1970, 1980)],
or the Biblical King David[1
Sam 18-20, 2 Sam 1]) is advanced, it is dismissed as of no significance.
and Jonathan; as also Alexander and Hephiestion; as also Newman and
Frs Froude and Ambrose St.John were "just good friends".
Part of the reason for such rejection of "soft" evidence is that it is
considered an affront to "accuse" such great and good men of so grave a
moral taint. Similarly, even when there is overwhelming evidence that someone
more common-place is gay, this will generally be missed or overlooked automatically.
heterosexuals are incapable of recognizing even the most overt
signs of homosexuality: short of explicit sexual behaviour, it is simply
not compatible with their view of the world. So, the fact that uncle Joe
is unmarried at sixty and may have had a "live-in gardener", Bill, for
thirty years is not thought to have any particular significance.
The exception to this rule is, of course, when the person in question
is thought to be wicked, foolish or is generally disliked. So it is well
known that King Edward II was besotted by his lover Piers Gaviston and
that this homosexual relationship served to undermine the effective governance
of the Kingdom.
Homophobic bullying or
The epithet "homophobic" is unfortunate. It literally means "fear
of homosexuals". It is generally speaking no such thing. Rather
it is antipathy towards or hatred and denigration of homosexuals.
Even allowing for this, the concept "homophobic bullying" is not a good
one. It is used in a well intentioned but disingenuous manner. It is generally
accepted that bullying is a bad thing. From this it can safely be argued
that bullying someone because they are homosexual is bad: no matter
what moral evaluation one has of homosexuality.
Beliefs vs behaviour.
The root cause of homophobic bullying is the belief that homosexuals
are despicable, wicked or depraved. Until this fact is faced, no effective
solution to the perceived problem will be arrived at. Immediately, however,
a problem is encountered. Many would argue that the belief that "same gender
genital activity is immoral" is a personal or religious matter, and as
such is worthy of respect and toleration. Such a belief increasingly features
as characteristic and even definitive of large groups of "Christians" and
"Muslims". Members of these faith traditions campaign and insist vociferously
on their right to condemn and stigmatize gay men and lesbians. Somewhere
along the line, a choice has to be made between the principles that "homophobic
bullying" is wrong and that "all religious and
ethical views are to be valued, affirmed and welcomed".
behaviour might be justified.
Sometimes it is sensible to distinguish between one behaviour and another
that may at first sight seem only subtly different. If sexual intimacy
between people of the same gender is the kind of threat to family life
and society that some politicians, the Christian Institute and the Vatican
insist that it is, then it might be proper to discriminate, even stridently,
against gay men and lesbians.
If homosexuality is immoral, then some measures taken against
it, even by individuals, might be justified. No-one is to be condemned
for defending themselves against a genuinely perceived threat. It is on
this basis that the defence of "homosexual panic" against a charge of
murder was established in Anglo Saxon case law [The Liberal Party;
22 Apr 1998 : Col. 636; GayLawNet; GayToZee]. This has been used
to justify or excuse someone for violently attacking another person whom
they believe to be
homosexual, even if they had no reasonable grounds
for believing themselves to be threatened by that person! According to
one author "It has been used at least 15 times in the last ten years to
reduce charges from murder to manslaughter" [Gay Times (June 1996)].
It should be apparent that this is a bully's charter. Similarly, an
employer is entitled to sack any employee on the grounds that they are
For an employer to threaten to do this would surely constitute bullying:
yet to do so is entirely legal.
Not all bad behaviour is
Clearly, it would be intimidatory and threatening of someone to speak badly
of homosexuals (for example, as I have heard: "I think all gays
should be rounded up in a field and shot") when they knew that they were
in the presence of a gay man or lesbian. I presume that this would be construed
as "homophobic bullying", because there would be a manifest intention to
intimidate, threaten and frighten a particular individual: or at least
a culpable recklessness in this regard. Now consider the situation where
the speaker had no idea that (s)he was addressing a group that included
a gay man. The effect on this man might be exactly the same. It might even
be the last straw and cause him to commit suicide. Nevertheless, it seems
to me that the speaker could not be said to have bullied anyone.
If they had known that they were speaking to a gay man they might have
refrained from expressing their opinion: exactly because they did not wish
to be held responsible for any such outcome. They did not intend any harm
towards an individual. They were merely expressing their sincere views
as to the moral depravity of certain activities and their prescription
for the penalty that society should impose. This, it would seem, is their
right of Free Speech.
Origins of homophobia
Contemporary Orthodox Judaism,
is antipathetic towards homosexuality. This antipathy can be traced
back to Talmudic days. Strangely, the only texts in the Torah that can
be understood as relating to some form of homosexuality
obscure parallel verses in Leviticus.
It is now commonly accepted that the Sodom
story[Gen 19] is of no relevance
[D.S. Bailey (1955)].
In opposition to this apparent condemnation, is the story of David
and Jonathan[1 Sam 18-20, 2 Sam 1]. Contemporary Christianity
has a similar view. Its textual credibility is reinforced by a small number
of obscure verses in the Epistles
of St Paul[Rom 1, 1 Co 6, 1Ti 1]. There is a good deal of historical
evidence that in early Medieval times Church practise was far from homophobic
and may have gone so far as the blessing of homo-gender "marriages"
Boswell (1980 and 1994)]. Islam has an even stronger position.
Sharia Law proposes the execution of homosexuals. The Koran
presents the Sodom story as a definite condemnation of homosexuality
Places: 80-82, The Poets: 165-166, The Ant: 55-56].
One secular source of homophobia is extreme masculine competitiveness.
is typically viewed as "soft"
and "effeminate", and so associated with low status. In ancient Roman society,
any male playing a passive, quasi feminine sexual role was thought to be
degenerate and "less than a man". In contemporary Continental European
society: especially Greece[T. Horner"Eros in Greece"
(1978), p 54-74] or Turkey, a man who plays an active homo-erotic role
is not generally viewed as being homosexual. Only his passive partner
is so labelled. Hence it is possible for a married man to engage in frequent
affairs with other males, or even have a permanent male concubine, and
not conceive of himself as being homosexual: so long as he never
plays a passive sexual role.
"In Turkey, gay culture is completely different than [in the]
U.S. and western Europe. Turkey is the only moslem country in which gay
action is not illegal, and like most islamic countries almost every man
would have sex with other men. In Turkish culture - actually in moslem
culture - if two men have sex with each other, that does not mean that
they are gay: it is just part of hidden culture. They just do it - and
mostly they don't talk about it. Usually, gay means someone feminine and
bottom..."[Istanbul Gay Guide]
Many adolescent boys say that the worst thing anyone can call you is "gay".
In accusing others of being gay they may seek to demonstrate their own
In contemporary casual speech "gay" is commonly used to mean "of poor
quality", "undesirable" or "naff". I heard the word used in this way regularly
at Queen Mary's VIth Form College, where I used to teach physics [2002-2004].
The adult male students to whom I presently [November 2004] teach electronics
use it in my hearing with this meaning almost every day.
Denigration of the female
This is only possible in a society which views women and the feminine as
inferior to men and the masculine. Sadly, this view is endemic (at a first
view) in Western European Civilization as well as throughout the Muslim
world. In such a culture, homosexuality is seen as a derogation
from the perfection that is maleness: and as an approximation to the imperfect
form of humanity that the female represents.
Fear of the different
According to Boswell, the appearance of militant prejudice against homosexuals
Europe, coincided with the emergence of hatred and fear of witches, Jews
and Gypsies, in the Thirteenth
Century. This was a period of uncertainty, threat and turmoil. It is
plausible that anyone who was identifiably out of the common was stigmatized:
excuses and rationalizations following after the fact.
It should be appreciated that whereas statute law exists to combat many
forms of prejudicial and antagonistic behaviour, this is not true in the
case of homophobia. Rather the opposite is the case [NASUWT (1998)].
Though homosexuality has been decriminalized for many years, homosexuals
are rarely treated as equal citizens and are frequently discriminated against
in the law.
The offence of "gross indecency" could not be committed by two persons
of differing gender, and not by two women [The Guardian, 01/12/99].
"Section 28" Subsection 2A of the Local Government Act 1988 was widely
understood to prohibit (and hence did in fact largely prevent) any discussion
in Schools and Colleges of homosexuality in such a way that it is
not treated as deviant [Leslie Stewart: "Two of Us" (1989), Patrick
Wilde: "What's Wrong with Angry?"].
Two persons of the same gender cannot contract civil
marriage (this is shortly to change in the UK).
Hence, a lifelong same-sex partner never accrues any rights or obligations
as "next of kin".
This fact can have profound and acutely distressing effects with regard
funeral arrangements and
inheritance when a partner dies intestate.
Neither can they benefit from various tax provisions,
such as the exemption from inheritance tax on transfer of the familial
Neither can they expect any "widows pension" rights.
In particular, the teachers pension scheme rigidly excludes a same
from any benefits upon the death of a member of the scheme.
Only spouses can receive a widow(er)s pension.
No one who self-identifies as homosexual is allowed to be a blood
The presumption is that homosexuals are sexually promiscuous
and liable to be HIV+, whereas heterosexuals are not.
These legal and quasi-legal disbenefits and distinctions are a strong statement
that society disparages even life-long, loving, committed, non-promiscuous
homo-gender partnerships. It is hardly surprising that many members of
society hold views antipathetic to homosexuals; use intimidatory
language of homosexuals, and exhibit aggressive behaviour towards
when the law validates such attitudes and practices by its very letter.
Degrees of homophobia
Below are listed four negative homophobic, and four positive homophilic
levels of attitudes toward gay and lesbian people. They were originally
developed by Dr. Dorothy Riddle, a psychologist from Tucson, Arizona.
Homosexuality is a crime against nature.
Homosexuals are sick, crazy, immoral, sinful and wicked.
Anything is justified to change them, for example: imprisonment, hospitalization
and "aversion therapy".
Heterosexuality is more mature and certainly to be preferred.
Any possibility of becoming straight should be reinforced.
Those who seem to be born "that way" should be pitied.
Homosexuality is a phase of adolescence that most people "grow out of ".
Homosexuals are less mature than straights and should be treated with indulgence.
Homosexuals should not be given positions of authority as they are still
It is still thought that there is something to accept.
This mindset is characterized by statements such as:
"You're not a gay to me, you're a person",
"What you do in bed is your own business",
"That's fine, as long as you don't flaunt it".
"Flaunt" usually means: "say or do anything that reminds me of the fact".
The irrational and unjust basis of the contemporary attitudes is acknowledged.
A degree of personal unease may remain.
Commitment to work behind the scenes to safeguard the welfare of gays and
Acknowledgement that being gay or lesbian in public takes strength.
Commitment to working on personal homophobia.
Gay men and lesbians are acknowledged to be a valued part of the legitimate
diversity of society.
Commitment to combat and challenge homophobia in others.
Gay men and lesbians are viewed with genuine affection.
Willingness to be advocates for gay issues.
Manifestations of homophobia
Homophobia can be manifested on a number of levels [Trenchard et al
(1984), Rivers (2000),13-18].
This is behaviour that establishes a climate of homophobia, even if it
is not intended to do so. It is pervasive of society at large and the educational
system ["Two of Us" BBC film and book; "Get Real" film, Avert],
in particular. It consists of:
the telling of jokes featuring homosexuals;
the making of unpleasant abstract remarks;
the use of innuendo and mockery, e.g. "Lesbian Time" (for "Let's be On
the casual use of terms of abuse (e.g. homosexual, bent, fag, faggot,
the teasing of an individual rightly or wrongly identified as gay
in a manner that they are thought, or claim, not to care about.
Prejudicial behaviour and
This is behaviour that specifically harms a specific individual or identifiable
the social ostracism, marginalization or rejection of individuals thought
to be gay;
gossiping or spreading rumours about someone's sexuality;
the promotion of the idea that homosexuals are per se
wicked or depraved (e.g. "God hates Fags" posters);
the stipulation that some activities or benefits are only open to
or appropriate for male-female or married couples.
This is behaviour that proposes physical violence to a specific individual
or identifiable group.
incitement to violence against homosexuals in general;
personally directed verbal abuse;
taunting, ridicule and mockery;
the use of obscene gestures;
intimidation and threats of material abuse.
This is behaviour that does material harm to some person.
theft of property;
damage to property;
How common is homophobic
In 2001, a parliamentary inquiry reported homophobia began in primary school
playgrounds. Labels of "faggot" and "poofter" were routinely given to boys
whose behaviour was perceived as in any way different. As with all forms
of bullying, the reasons are a specious justification of premeditated violence.
Homophobia was just a convenient justification for bullying in areas such
as toilets, changing rooms and sports grounds. The report suggested that
because it took place out of sight of teachers, the level of homophobic
bullying cited by teachers might be grossly underestimated [D. Plummer
Various surveys have resulted in figures that are, I believe of little
significance. It is manifest that antagonistic and prejudicial behaviour
is common place. Threatening behaviour and material abuse is less prevalent:
partly because of the change in the climate of opinion regarding homosexuals
over the last few dozen years and partly because of their continued invisibility.
Even so, it is frightening to learn that 51% of London Schools surveyed
in 1997 reported one or two incidents of homophobic bullying in a single
term and 5% ten incidents [N. Douglas et al (1998)].
In December 2002, the Department for Education and Employment reissued
its Anti-bullying Pack "Don't Suffer in Silence".
The pack includes the following statement:
22. Sexual Bullying can also be related to sexual orientation.
Pupils do not necessarily have to be lesbian, gay or bi-sexual to experience
such bullying. Just being different can be enough. A survey of 300 secondary
schools in London found 82% of teachers were aware of verbal incidents,
and 26% of physical incidents. Almost all schools had anti-bullying policies,
but only 6% referred to this type. Factors hindering schools in challenging
homophobic bullying include staff inexperience and parental disapproval.
This last comment is backed up by the findings of a survey conducted in
1994 by the Health Education Authority of 1,462 parents. It found that
while 94% thought schools should play a role in teaching pupils about sexuality,
and 80% about HIV, only 56% thought that it was appropriate to teach pupils
about sexual orientation.
London University's Institute of Education found [N. Douglas et al
61% of schools surveyed were aware of lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils;
42% of teachers had been asked personal advice on lesbian, gay or bisexual
issues by their pupils;
57% of schools had no information about sources of support for lesbian,
gay or bisexual pupils;
only 6% of schools had bullying policies that specifically mentioned homophobic
56% of teachers reported difficulty in meeting the needs of lesbian, gay
and bisexual pupils because of Section 28.
More recent research [N. Duncan (1999)] shows that homophobic bullying
is widespread. It also suggests that teachers do not have the skills to
deal with it. Pupils indeed report staff being implicated in it [Avert].
In 1983, the American theologian, Tinney [quoted by Stephen Birkett
of Foyle Friend], recognized seven manifestations of institutionalized
Conspiracy of Silence: There is an unwillingness to discuss homosexuality
The Denial of Popular Strength: Many schools say that they don't
have gay pupils.
Fear of Over Visibility: Institutionalized homophobia fears gay
people being visible.
The Denial of Self Labelling: Homosexuals are not allowed
to determine what they are called by others.
Negative Symbolism: This is the belief that gay people are morally
inferior or even wicked.
Ghettoization: This is the tendency of a society to isolate its
During 1998, thirty-three lesbian, gay and bisexual people of 26 and under
who were educated in secondary schools in counties Donegal, Londonderry
and Tyrone were surveyed [Foyle Friend]. Only 30% of young
people had ever heard their teachers mention homosexuality. Most of what
they heard were passing comments and almost invariably they were negative
about homosexuality and gay people. Many respondents referred to teachers'
dismissive or abusive references to homosexuality. A number of gay boys
indicated that they became isolated at school. Many pupils reported being
bullied and even more refer to the impact of an all-pervading homophobia
on their self esteem. Many gay teachers feel they have to keep their homosexuality
a secret for fear of the consequences and some are instructed to do this
by the authorities.
Effects of homophobia
The effects of homophobia are serious. The following list is adapted from
accounts given by [Leicester Lesbian and Gay Action] and
Stephen Birkett of [Foyle Friend ]:
Loneliness and Isolation [Birkett].
A desperate need to talk to someone.
The fear of the catastrophic consequences of doing so.
Low self-esteem, going as far as self-hatred [LLGA].
Rejection of religious authority and apostasy
Psychiatric illness [Birkett].
Suicide [Trenchard & Warren (1984)].
Rejection by family [Two of Us, What's Wrong with Angry?].
This is a common fear.
While parents may want to understand, many find it difficult to approve.
It may result in homelessness.
Rejection by friends
This is a common fear.
Once more, it is very well founded.
It may lead to truancy and a lowering of academic achievement [Birkett]
If a peer group is found, the individual can become trapped
within its expectations and value system.
The presumption in favour of sexual promiscuity and drug abuse [Birkett].
Leading to the contracting of venereal disease.
I suppose that this grave situation has not been effectively tackled up
to know because of:
Many teachers and managers inevitably share the common place view of
When I reported instances of homophobia to Peter Broom, my "Head of Division"
at Queen Mary's College, Basingstoke, he said that the sentiments expressed
might be viewed as "fair comment".
When I requested permission to conduct a survey on homophobic bullying,
this was refused by Stephen Sheedy, the Principal of the College. I was
informed that permission would not have been granted for such a survey
even if the request had come from an established researcher with publications
in the field.
The College surveyed its students regularly regarding "Equal Opportunity
Issues". The 2002 results noted only one sexual orientation related incident.
In 2003, my tutorial class failed to report any incidents at all, even
though I know that the majority of them had witnessed at least two. As
I remark above, the use of homophobic language was endemic at the College.
When the College had an INSET day on "Diversity",
the topic of homosexuality was not touched on. In fact it was made clear
to me by Gail Tomblin, the College's "Student Support" manager, that it
was excluded by the fact that the INSET day was on "Cultural
Diversity" and homosexuality was not a question of culture.
In association with this INSET day, the College's Mathematics Department
produced an excellent wall map, showing how people from various countries,
civilizations and walks of life had contributed to the advance of mathematics.
One of the people featured was Alan Turing. No mention was made of his
Those with strong religious views will statistically tend to be homophobic.
A distrust of some of the relevant external interest and campaign groups.
Innocent lack of awareness of the problem, or of its gravity.
Many people who are not positively homophobic find the whole area distasteful
or distressing and try to avoid it.
A justifiable fear of being "outed" and then being "bullied", on the part
of gay and lesbian pupils and staff members, leads to a lack of any demand
that the issue be addressed.
The legacy of a simple misunderstanding of "Section 28".
A justifiable fear, on the part of management, of negative reaction from:
teaching staff; and
The financial cost of implementing and policing such policies.
It would be difficult to evaluate the relative importance of the above
constraints. The sensible and automatic defence of an institution which
is homophobic to a charge of homophobia is to give alternate rationalizations
for its policy. It would be a brave person indeed who would openly challenge
such an institution from the inside: at the very least, (s)he would put
her/his career in jeopardy.
How to combat homophobia
The following measures [adapted from: School's Out! and Leicester
Lesbian and Gay Action]
should be taken to combat homophobia in
Schools and Colleges:
The institution should recognize it has lesbian and gay members and provide
affirming and supportive environment for them [LLGA].
The institution's prospectus should make explicit that homophobia will
not be tolerated [LLGA].
Staff and governors be required to receive INSET in homophobia awareness
The institution's anti-harassment policy document should explicitly condemn
homophobic bullying [LLGA].
No use, by staff or students, of homophobic terms be tolerated, even in
The institution's anti-discrimination policy should explicitly condemn
Positive images of gay men and lesbians should feature in the curriculum
The institution's equal opportunities policy should make explicit that
homo-gender relationships are valued.
It should guarantee equal rights and benefits to homo-gender couples and
married heterosexuals [LLGA].
No staff be employed who will not distance themselves from the proposition:
"homosexuality is morally wrong".
Social events and invitations should be welcoming to all partners of staff
A support/interest group should be set up for lesbian, gay and bisexual
Other interested staff might be allowed to participate, by invitation.
A "Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual" society be established through the Student
It should have its own intranet pages.
Lesbian and gay sympathetic counselling be available to help
those coming to terms with their sexuality [LLGA].
Arrangements be put in place making it easy for students to make contact
with them [LLGA].
Confidentiality be guaranteed to lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils and members
of staff seeking advice.
This is in line with the most recent Government policy statement
[Department of Education and Skills (2002) #23].
Specific literature be available and on display and available
on the College IntraNet [LLGA].
Directions to support groups (e.g. Gay Switchboard, LGCM, Quest) be clearly
notice boards [LLGA] and the College IntraNet.
Gay themed literature: both novels and non-fiction, be available in the
The issues of "Sex, Love and Friendship" should be covered in Tutor Time
or the equivalent.
rather than sexual attraction, be proposed as the basis of all human relationships.