This Morning: Gay - Let's Get Over It

Will Young fronts a campaign to educate pupils about homophobia

18 November 2013:The charity, Stonewall, is launching a campaign to try and reduce homophobic language in schools. The five-year plan - called 'Gay. Let's Get Over It', is launched in conjunction with National Anti-Bullying Week and is fronted by singer and actor, Will Young, who says when he was growing up in the 1980s he saw the word 'gay' used in a negative way. .

Will is concerned that in schools today the issue is not being addressed and he was joined in the ITV This Morning studios to discuss the subject by Rosie Ellingham who also had a negative experience at school.

Rosie vividly remembers being only nine years-old and being called a lesbian at school when she herself didn't even know what a lesbian was. At the time, she was unaware of her own sexuality; she assumed that being a lesbian was a bad thing because she was being bullied for it, and it left her with negative feelings and unable to talk to anyone about her sexuality as she grew up.

As a result, she thinks that the homophobic language - of the kind used at her school - affected her identity .

Holly suggested to Will that the issue of racism is dealt with severely in schools now but that sexuality differences are not. Will said that there is still a negative connotation to being gay - phrases like, 'Oh, that's so gay,' are said in a negative way.

Will told us that 60% of teachers don't challenge homophobic language used in schools, and that just under 60% think that it's used so much - they cannot challenge it.

(Previously on ITV This Morning: Should you abort a disabled child?)

More alarming statistics from Will; 23% of young gay people will try to kill themselves, and 56% will self-harm.

Will said that we've come so far with gay rights that we have to look at gay language - because if you're a gay person growing up and hearing gay language used as a derogatory term you are immediately going to think that you are defunct. No one is born using the word gay as a negative term - you are taught it.

He said the message was to teach young people about homophobic language - about what is homophobic, and that it is wrong.

Another startling statistic from Will - the word 'gay' is used 42,000 times a day in a negative way.

They referred to the James Arthur/Twitter story this week about homophobia and James now withdrawing from using Twitter and Will said it seems that in rap music it's OK to use homophobic language - but if he wrote a racist poem he'd be attacked straight away.

Will finished by saying it's about educating people to think - and it makes a huge difference.

Aurora James is a single parent, published author, professional journalist, keen home cook, and yo-yo dieter. An expert at family budgeting, useless at DIY, so an avid viewer of ITV This Morning.