thomaswalesIn the UK and following the Equal Marriage Bill being passed last week, the LGBT community are almost equal in law. However sadly Homophobic language and slurs are at an all-time high; we often hear this language on a daily basis in one way or another and many see it as ok.
The biggest challenge to face LGB&T people are the attitudes towards the community and the language used in everyday situations by everyone
Within our Schools more than 99% of LGBT young people have heard the phrases “That’s so gay” or “You’re so gay” (Stonewall, The School Report, 2012). This use of the Homophobic words often goes unnoticed and unchallenged!
When I was at school a few years ago this language was to my despair totally ignored by those entrusted to teach us. Three out of Five Lesbian and gay young people have skipped school as a result of being bullied.
Teachers should pay attention to these figures and take action, the amount of support and resources to support teachers and their school is massive and easily available but rarely used. The use of homophobic language whether in jest or not is still the first refuge of homophobic attitudes that can lead to bulling!
Wherever we look anti gay language is being used, according to the popular site NoHomophobes.com which is designed to look at every tweet we send via Twitter for Homophobic related language recorded that 293,703 tweets were sent last week containing the negative gay American phrase ‘faggot’.
With all these negative phrases going around freely in society the LGB&T community believe it is wrong to be themselves – We need to tackle this problem and get the message out loud, proud and clear that this is simply not true.
Everyone should be proud of who they are regardless of their sexual preference or mannerisms and be open about who they are.
The alarming increasing amount of self harm or suicides among you LGB&T individuals and those who are questioning their sexuality in the media is simply shocking and I feel disappointed that our government and society in general has not taken to the impact needed against Homophobic language.
However LGBT people are now trying to reclaim these Homophobic Slurs for their own. You’ve heard of the Four Poofs and the Piano, course you have – they were entertainers from BBC’s ‘Friday Night with Jonathan Ross’ and if you haven’t the clue is in their name. There are four gay singers who can play the piano. This is not the only example of where we have reclaimed language that is so often used in an offensive manner for ourselves.
We tend to see this commonly in our nightlife; weekly events such as ‘HOMO’ and ‘Queer-do’ are prime examples. These two nights in Leeds Misson2 nightclub are aimed solely at LGBT party goers.  Even our nightclubs are named after negative terms such as QUEER (Manchester) and the famous G-A-Y, like words often associated with race and racism is it now time when the LGB&T community reclaim and re-invent such negative words as their own.
The use of this Language is normally casual and not offensive, or meant to be offensive. However we shouldn’t accept this kind of negative homophobic words. The Oxford English Dictionary in itself defines the word ‘gay’ as meaning foolish and un impressive without attaching a negative tag to the definition like which is done with the word ‘nigger’.
There is a fine line to walk between re-inventing a word and making sure that negative uses of the same word are identified and made clear.  An online petition is campaigning against this definition, I would suggest you to sign this and see what impact we can make. Sign it at www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/oxford-dictionary-remove-the-adjective-definition-of-gay-meaning-foolish-stupid-or-unimpressive 
Changing our society begins at changing the way we educate and as our most formative years are spent at school,  it should be at school that our young are taught about negative and positive uses of words.
It is especially so when these words can have such an impact on vulnerable members of our communities who are already struggling to come to terms with their feelings.
Simply let’s make it clear from an early age that using some words negatively is wrong!
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