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Education is the key?
#1
I happen to have a little faith in education. Present young people with facts and give them the opportunity for discussion. Even better follow it up with a whole policy and action. Two news stories today struck me as contrasting approaches to the effectiveness of education. I wonder if either of them is not really a story at all?

Quote:The Safe Space programme will seek financial support from Europe, as well as match-funding contribution from the Welsh education sector, in order to deliver activities aimed at reducing the instances of homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying and improving the equality for students and adults in the Welsh education system.

It is pioneered by the Wales LGBT Excellence Centre whose chief executive Federico Podeschi says: “Safe Space was already piloted with over 1500 students receiving incredible feedback and demonstrating a 90% decrease in instances of homophobic bullying in the schools that participated in the pilot.

“This is a tremendous achievement which proves that education is key to stamp out bullying in our school and deliver sexual orientation and gender identity equality for future generations." more
In the other a Tory (naturally) city counsellor in Bristol criticised Stonewall's work in schools (specifically Sir Ian McKellen's schools' visits to two schools ) saying that
Quote:if one single child ends up being bullied who wasn't bullied before because of this, then it will mean to say that this hasn't worked. more
Apart from the obvious difficulty of determining why people have been bullied, I would have thought that getting kids talking about the issues and the existence of verifiable evidence of a decline in incidences of homophobic bullying would be quite an important consideration in deciding whether the programme has worked or not.

How would you have felt about having Magneto or Gandalf come into your school? Would it have made life more difficult for you?
#2
Meh, schools are ideological state apparatuses that reinforce dominant ideologies determined by whoever the powers may be, which in our democratic societies would be the voting bourgeoisie and corporate interests.

If we want to stop significant levels of homophobic bullying, the best tactic is the reshape the dominant ideological discourse, homophobes have to be painted as inferior bigots to the point that it becomes socially unacceptable to be homophobic. That is when bullying will start to disappear, you can't police bullying behavior directly you can only try to shape how people police their own behavior.

Edit: so yes, education is the key, both of the touchy-feely affirming kind and of the aggressive anti-bigotry kind.
When a subject is highly controversial — and any question about sex is that — one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one's audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.
- Virginia Woolf
#3
Depending on which version of the story you can glean from this report Mr Windows has either jumped or was pushed from Bristol City Council. I like this bit ...
Quote:"Chris will use this time to better acquaint himself with the aims of Stonewall."

Stonewall is waiting to hear from him.

A CONSERVATIVE councillor who was accused of homophobia after comments about the actor Sir Ian McKellen has been suspended by his own party.
#4
This week the odious Melanie Phillips has been banging on about how gays are in danger of becoming the "new McCarthyites" in our pursuit of fairness.

Gayness mandatory in schools: Gay victims of prejudice to become new McCarthyites | Mail Online

How much more bright was today when I read the brilliant Johann Hari's article asking why it is wrong to try to protect gay children.

Johann Hari: Why is it wrong to protect gay children? - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent

Quote:... When I was a kid in the 1980s, (homophobic) sentiments were so widespread that a law – Section 28 – was passed to resolve them, and the cowed critics were derided as “the loony left.” Today, the opinion polls show 80 percent of the British people support gay marriage, and the people offering these views are regarded as the loons. It’s worth pausing and saying to all the people who have been open to persuasion and have changed their minds on this question: thank you. It’s incredibly moving to see how many heterosexual people have rallied to the defence of gay people, and it’s a reminder that we will never go back now.

But this anti-equality shouting still has an effect. It stops many schools from pursuing sensible policies that would save kids like Jonathan Reynolds, for fear of being accused of “political correctness gone mad” – so it’s important to answer the arguments now.

These critics don’t appear to understand what homosexuality actually is. In every human society that has ever existed, and ever will, some 3 to 10 percent of the population has wanted to have sex with their own gender. This is a fixed and unchangeable reality. The only choice is whether you are pointlessly cruel to them, or accept their harmless difference. Homosexuality is “normal sexual behaviour”: it occurs wherever human societies exist. It is not engaged in by a majority, but using that logic, Jews and Muslims are “abnormal” in Britain too – an ugly and foolish claim.

Informing children about these facts can’t make them gay. Nothing can. You can no more teach a child homosexuality than you can teach them left-handedness. Oddly, the homophobes seem to understand this about their own sexuality, but not about other people’s. I once asked Michael Howard, the architect of Section 28, if he would be gay now if he had been taught to be as a child. He moved very anxiously in his seat and mumbled something incoherent.

In order to justify their desire to discriminate against gay people, the few remaining homophobes have concocted a scenario where they are The Real Victims. They can say what they want, set up churches or mosques that preach what they want, and turn away gay people from their homes every day of the week if they so desire – and I would defend every one of those rights to the last ditch. There is only one thing they can’t do. They can’t choose to offer a service to the general public, and then turn people away on the basis of race or sexuality. They can’t put up de facto signs saying ‘No blacks, no Irish, no gays’ at their B&B....
#5
very well said. indeed. thank you mr. sticky for this post
#6
I don't know what's happened to Melanie Phillips over the years, when she wrote for the Observer I admired her rigorous logic and only occasionally disagreed with her conclusions.

I don't know if they're still there but when I read the comments on that piece a couple of days ago they were about 99% hostile to her preposterous position.

Her examples are ridiculous. How can teaching children about sea horses and emperor penguins promote anything gay? She seems to think that a species where the male takes care of the young, produced by heterosexual mating, promotes teh ghay. She's obviously barking.

I find it strange that she's married to that Joshua Rosenbeard bloke we see on the telly from time to time. He always seems rather logical and sensible to me. I can only conclude that the sex must be out of this world.


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