Deeply Concerning

July 13, 2011

This blog post is *ancient*, and preserved only for historical record.

Right. This is important. I want you stop what you’re doing and read this. It won’t take long.

I’ve just witnessed another act of homophobic bullying amongst school children.

Sadly this time, they weren’t in uniform, so tracking down the school responsible is going to be somewhat harder. What I can tell you is that there were 4 boys, three black, one white, and all very troubling.

The thing that troubles me most, as gay man living in london, is that if these kids are to be believed, then we are all under threat.

As the kids boarded the bus, three of the kids goaded the other one with chants like “dirty queer” and “fuckin battyboy”. This alone troubles me.

I thought that now that Section 28 has been repealed, that schools are supposed to encourage a level of tolerance and acceptance. This is evidently not true of these kids.

I think we need to do something about this. Together. Not as a group of gay people trying to right the wrongs of the school curriculum, but as members of society.

I genuinely feel bad for the kid they were harassing, that kid being merely an echo of my former self.

One of the problems I experience when I see these types of incident is that I don’t always feel comfortable to intervene. Last time was a different case, the kids were all in Holland Park School uniforms, so if any of them tried anything funny, I’d have at least some idea where they were from.

These kids today looked and acted a lot tougher. I tried my best to listen in to their further goading and haranguing over their tinny R&B sodcasting, but didn’t really get very far.

The general high-level overview of it is “You’re different, we don’t like that. You’d better die before we kill you”. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that kind of talk is pretty bad for teenagers who by that age, really should know better.

So. Here’s an interesting idea. I’d like to know what the actual problem is.

Are schools not handling homophobia, when it comes up, do they brush it casually under the rug, like my old school did?

Do they have any out gay members of staff who are prepared to act as a positive role model for students? I know as sure as hell that this would have helped when I was having similar problems.

What exactly are kids taught these days with regard to homosexuality? I mean, when I was at school it was very glossed over. Something along the lines of “There are these people called homosexuals. What they do is bad.”

I would like all of you to write a letter to the Headteacher of your local school. If it’s one that your children go to, then that’s all the better. I want you to ask them the following questions.

  • What does the school do to combat homophobic bullying?
  • What level of teaching is there with regard to homosexuality?
  • Do you have any out gay members of staff who act as outreach to gay kids growing up?
  • If not, why not?

Usually, I’m pretty proud of London. It’s a great city.

Sadly today, I feel let down by the city and its future generations. It’s deeply concerning, and up to us to do something about it.

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Written by Tom O'Connor, an AWS Technical Specialist, with background in DevOps and scalability. You should follow them on Twitter