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Petition the BBC over homophobic language

August 5th, 2006

Dr Petra

A petition has been launched for the BBC Board of Governors to reconsider decision to uphold complaint over Chris Moyles’ use of word ‘gay’ as a derogatory remark. You can sign it here.

More information (from the petition’s website) is below.

THE PETITION
“The word “gay” now means “lame” or “rubbish” among young people and need not be offensive to homosexuals, the BBC Board of Governors has ruled.”
Yahoo UK & Ireland News. Wednesday 6th June

Speaking on Radio 1’s Breakfast show, presenter Chris Moyles rejected a ringtone by saying, “I don’t want that one, it’s gay”. Following a listener complaint, the BBC Board of Governors ruled in favour of Moyles, stating that they believed he had not used it homophobically. The verdict has brought condemnation from Stonewall, School’s OUT! and anti-bullying groups. By failing to uphold the listener’s complaint against Chris Moyles’ derogatory use of the word ‘gay’, the BBC is condoning its misuse and validating homophobia amongst an audience of impressionable young listeners. This decision by the BBC Board of Governors is homophobic, reached by a board with no openly gay representative.

The use of the word ‘gay’ to mean anything that is without value and substandard is now so prevalent in the vocabulary of children (even at a primary school) that many adults fail to challenge it because they believe it has lost its negative connotation. Language changes all the time, but this is not simply the mutation of an adjective that once defined something that was ‘bright and showy’ or ‘carefree’. In young people today we are seeing an abuse of the definition for a community of people. The word ‘gay’s devolution as a derogatory word is, according to School’s Out, “rooted in the idea that being gay is a bad thing which it is acceptable to ridicule.”

Chris Moyles has an audience of thousands of young people. The use of language on his show reinforces and stimulates the language of thousands of UK teenagers.

Claire Anderson of the Stamp Out Homophobia in Schools Campaign, says ‘Victims of homophobic bullying will be made more vulnerable to abuse if there is any acceptance among staff or pupils that a derogatory use of ‘gay’ is not a homophobic attack.’

And how are lesbian, gay and bisexual young people going to feel about their own sexuality if they constantly hear it referenced (homophobically or not) in such a negative way?

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