Stonewall is investing time, energy and money into normalising homosexuality amongst young people, particularly in schools. One of the key tenets of their initiative is to 'set the meaning straight' with regards to the word 'gay.' We can debate the evolution of language over a pint at the union to our heart's content...
The Millennials don't have it easy. Generation Y were brought up to believe they could have it all, and yet find their employment prospects gloomy, the housing ladder out of reach, and ahead of them an aging population they will be required to pay for in years to come.That, of course, is all before they have to worry about their love lives. As well-meaning columnists wring their hands in angst at the sexting and snap-chatting, teenagers in the UK will be counting themselves lucky this autumn that public displays of affection are their absolute right, even if their parents don't necessarily approve.
The truth is that we all tacitly accept limitations on certain forms of verbal expression for the sake of social cohesion, and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous. Most of us, for instance, are happy to modify our language in the workplace, or when out in public, because we understand that there are broadly accepted standards for polite discourse that differ from private conversation. Why should a school be any different?
Section 28 was a piece of legislation that essentially gave bullies and tormentors the green light to pursue homophobic action against other people- especially on the school playground, and the effect of this was day after day of suffering for thousands of young boys and girls, often leading to tragic conclusions.
After talking to clubs you cannot help but feel that they are dragging their heels on the issue by claiming a need for more time or consultation. For clubs such as Man United, the distinct lack of leadership on this issue is worrying. Laces aside, their ability to reach a potential audience of millions could be pivotal, yet they have no dedicated campaign that deals solely with homophobia.
In the era when AIDS was becoming more prominent and education about LGBTQ issues was needed more than ever, Thatcher's government decided that gays were not full citizens worthy of respect and that they were too much of a threat to be allowed equal rights. Thatcher thus became not only the 'milk snatcher', but also the 'gay dispatcher'.
Every day, lesbians and bisexual women become victims of forced marriage, forced impregnation, honour killings and other violent attempts to either change their sexual orientation or punish them for it. Many feel unable to seek justice, fearing that in doing so they may disclose their sexual orientation, putting themselves at risk of reprisals or even prosecution.
A quick search on Twitter pulls up an unending list of people using the term as a slur outside of its original context as a homophobic insult. The term has been adopted as a synonym to idiot and other generic insults. Whilst this has desensitised the word's meaning, the undertones of homophobic hate still linger unpleasantly.