Saturday, October 01, 2005



Most schoolkids are bisexual. That does not stop 'homophobic bullying' in UK schools.

Some bullies are scared their own bisexuality will be revealed.

Bullies are mentally unbalanced individuals. They may have self-confidence but a lack of maturity.

The lack of maturity means a lack of (A) moderation and (B) compassion.

Victims are often people who have not learnt that:

(1) they are 'superior' to the bullies

(2) they have nothing to worry about concerning their sexuality since most people are bisexual

(3) they are best to totally ignore the bullying and develop a sense of humour.

Why has bullying increased in Britain?

Could it be that some of the top people in politics and the media lack moderation and compassion? ( The most difficult boy he ever had to deal with )


In The Guardian, 1 October 2005, Rachel Shabi investigated the issue.

Shabi refers to the bullying of Andrew Keats which began when he was 13.

Keats told his two 'best friends' he was gay and they told the whole school.

Friends called him a "fucking faggot" or said "Don't come near me - I've seen the way you look at me in the changing rooms."

Professor Ian Rivers, head of psychology at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, says there is a perception that gay people in Britain are now more visible, more socially acceptable and better protected by the law. But, Rivers says, "None of these messages has got through at a school level."

Points from The Guardian article:

According to Kim Keats, her son's school refused to admit it had a problem.

Some campaigners think there is a culture of blame-shifting. Michael Halls at Joint Action Against Homophobic Bullying (JAAHB), explains: "The head of year will say, 'I know the bullying is happening, but the deputy head has a grip on the issue and won't make the school gay-friendly.'" The deputy, meanwhile, blames the head teacher, who blames the school governors, who argue that the parents would likely go berserk if the school were to tackle the issue. In the end, it boils down to the tyranny of one parent who is vocal and a bully over sex education issues, and who believes that kids can catch or somehow be taught homosexuality.

"I'd say that applied to more than 50% of schools in the south-west," says Halls, adding that it is difficult for anyone outside the education system to conceive of how intimidating and powerful can be the "thug parents, in and out of school twice a week, bullying the teachers".

Easier to grasp, suggests Sue Sanders at the campaign group Schools Out, is that homophobic parents do not represent any sort of a consensus.

She points to a Mori poll conducted in 2003, which showed that 73% of parents would be fine with their children being taught by lesbian or gay teachers.

"There is a massive myth that parents would be uncomfortable if we did this work to combat homophobic bullying, but it just isn't the case," she says. Most parents just want their children to be taught in a safe environment - and heterosexual kids are also prey to homophobic bullying.
This is something that came to light in the case of Damilola Taylor, the 10-year-old schoolboy who was murdered on his way home from school in Peckham, south London, in November 2000.

His parents spoke of him being bullied and called "gay boy", adding that their son did not even know the meaning of the word.

Staff at his school, meanwhile, suggested that Damilola was labelled gay by children who had misunderstood the boy's "tactile" and "exuberant" behaviour, a product of his Nigerian background. The police investigation into his murder ruled out the possibility of its being a homophobic hate crime.

Section 28, a Thatcherite law that banned the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities, has a lot to answer for. It was repealed in November 2003 and in any case did not even directly legislate for schools, but none the less it managed to confuse and intimidate teachers over what they could and could not say about gay relationships.

In hindsight, Doug Faulkner believes this law was what stopped his school helping him tackle his bullies. "Homophobia was constantly washed under the carpet - no one ever said it was homophobic bullying, it was just bullying," he says. "Other people were defended against bullying for other reasons, like racism and sexism, but with my bullying, they wouldn't tackle it and because of that I was left to defend myself."

In Bolton in 2001, two schools took part in a project to eradicate playground homophobia, partly funded by Greater Manchester Police. (Several help groups have said that the police are more switched on than local education authorities to homophobic bullying, coming at it from the perspective of tackling hate crime.) One of those schools was Westhoughton High, which took on intensive training for teachers on how to deal with homophobic language, and a specially commissioned play on the subject for its pupils. By punishing pupils who repeatedly used homophobic language - red cards and temporary exclusion - the school created a culture in which it was not acceptable to use homophobic language or to joke about sexuality. So successful was this project that shortly after it was awarded a grant to reach other schools in the Greater Manchester area.

Ali Jarvis of Stonewall Scotland, who ran a pilot programme in one school in Glasgow, says schools do not realise they are already well equipped to take on homophobic bullying. "We point out what the school has done to tackle racism, the bully boxes, buddy systems, mentoring and role modelling ... The core activities to deal with homophobic bullying are the same - it's just a different climate."

To some campaigners, it is not encouraging that education secretary Ruth Kelly receives "spiritual support" from the strict Roman Catholic organisation Opus Dei.

An underlying argument is that so long as lesbian, gay and bisexual adults keep a low profile in schools, any approach to homophobic bullying cannot fully eradicate the problem. Fewer than 1% of teachers, according to Charlesworth at Each, feel safe enough to come out to their pupils; only marginally more do so in the staff room.

FLIRTING BOYS and peeing down the legs of morning suits.

Bisexual animals? Bisexual Moslems? Sex with boys?

Consider the lilies

Ashton-on-Mersey school

British school children

Winston Churchill


Mountbatten, Oldfield, Kitchener, Haig...

Britain's most famous general



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