You are on page 1of 23


Slide 1

Slide 2

Language has power, how we frame things has a

powerful unconscious effect on how we see the world.

What we say and what we don’t say has power.

for instance using in English the words ‘man’ and men exclusively to

describe people renders women invisible.

History was indeed the story of men until feminists began to unearth all

the hidden women.


And even then, the women cited were predominantly, white, able-bodied

and heterosexual.


So, after nearly 2000 years, we are very slowly beginning to see all

women represented in historical references and the media in the white

western world


Too often we write and talk as if our personal, internal ‘map’ is the actual

‘territory’ in which we all exist.


We use language that excludes others. For instance when someone uses

the word family I might assume they are describing the same type of

family I grew up in.

Inclusive language requires thought and knowledge.

We often ‘don’t know’ what we ‘don’t’ know and maybe because we don’t

want to offend, we are frightened of using the ‘wrong’ words in case we


What we say, when we say it, where we say it, why we say it, how we say

it and who says it,,

Is crucial, for context is all



At the moment there appears to be a powerful attack on the rights of

LGBT + people in several countries which could easily intimidate

educationalists, indeed it is designed to do just that.

As a veteran of Section 28, a law in the UK which made the promotion of

homosexuality illegal, and the promotion of a pretended family

relationship, a phrase, deliberately designed to stigmatise all

relationships formed by LGBT+ people. I am very familiar with such


It was enacted in 1988 and repealed in 2003.

It did a great deal of damage setting an atmosphere which encouraged

homophobic bullying in schools and hate crime on the streets.

LGBT+ people were either made invisible by the media or were vilified .

It is 20 years this year since it was repealed and we have made progress

as LGB people.

But since Brexit the current government have used our community and

particularly our trans siblings as a distraction and scapegoated them, in

the hope we won’t notice their gross inadequacy and corruption.



Many people will know a trans person though the recent census put the

population at 0.5%

Many accept a trans man is a man and a trans woman is a woman. –and

call them by their correct pronouns

SLIDE 7* Pronouns used commonly in the UK

You certainly would not know that listening to our politicians who are

stirring up a very antagonistic culture at the moment.


How they are doing it can be easily demonstrated by the Model that

Gordon Allport came up with in 1954

Slide 8

Gordon Allport was an American Psychologist who in exploring how

fascism and groups like the KLU Klux clan gained traction came up with

this model.

Scale 1, Antilocution Antilocution means a majority group freely make

jokes about a minority group.

Speech is in terms of negative stereotypes and negative images.

This is also called hate speech.

It is commonly seen as harmless by the majority.


Antilocution itself may not be harmful, but it sets the stage for more
severe outlets for prejudice.

Examples are jokes about the Irish, French, blacks, gays etc.

Using labels is such a way that it invites the bystander to make a choice
to be a victim or a bully and of course too many make the choice to be a

So if this is not dealt with effectively we move to

Scale 2 Avoidance

People in a minority group are actively avoided by members of the

majority group. They are ostracised

Scale 3 Discrimination

The minority group is discriminated against by denying them opportunities

and services and so putting prejudice into action.
Behaviours have the specific goal of harming the target group by
preventing them from achieving goals, getting education or jobs housing ,

The majority group is actively trying to harm the target group.

Scale 4 Physical Attack

Graffiti is particularly dangerous as it is visible to all, often in very public

places like schools and streets.

When it remains there the implication is that the community agree with
the hateful sentiments it promulgates

The majority group, vandalise the target’s group possessions, they burn
property and carry out violent attacks on individuals or groups.
Physical harm is done to members of the target group. Examples are
mugggings, lynchings, pogroms against Jews in Europe,


Scale 5 Extermination

The majority group seeks extermination of the target group. They attempt
to liquidate the entire group of people (e.g., Indian Wars to remove Native
Americans, Final Solution of Jewish Problem, Ethnic cleansing in Bosnia,
etc.). Suicide The victim feels they can no longer deal with the attacks
and take their own lives

So can clearly see the crucial role language plays in the destruction of

human rights and how it pervades and informs the culture


I have just written a forward to a new index of words which we hope will

be useful , it is edited by Dr Tony Malone and called the Diversity and

Inclusion Glossary. It can be obtained from the LGBT+ History Month




In it we mention The Social Model of Disability, the work of Mike Oliver,

that tells us that it is society that has disabled people, not their


This places the responsibility on society to be inclusive.


He recognised that people were disabled by the attitudes and behaviours

of our society that ignores the needs of disabled people and builds

structures that puts physical and attitudinal barriers to their accessibility.


I have argued that this, ignoring, and hindering is true for other social

groups who face prejudice. Black and people seeking asylum, women,

LGBT+ people, all face such institutional oppression.

It is our job to dismantle that oppression and using inclusive language is

part of the process.

Being able to label our oppression is vital, it is no surprise that such

words as racism, sexism, ablism, islamophobia homophobia are relatively

recent words.


Homophobia for instance was coined by George Weinberg a

heterosexual in the sixties. who was trying unsuccessfully to educate his

fellow psychologists who he saw not only hated homosexuals but were

afraid of them. Having a word that accurately describes the prejudice we

are facing is the first step to dismantle it.



Then there is the problem of victim blaming language.

Habitually, the press and the media describe hate crimes in such a way.

For example, “The woman was

attacked because she was a lesbian”, tells us that the victim was a

passive recipient of the violence that was caused by her being perceived

as a lesbian.

If the report said “A perpetrator, motivated by their homophobia, attacked

a woman who he perceived to be a lesbian”, we would know that this was

a hate crime, motivated by hate, and the action of a person who made

assumptions that resulted in him acting out his hate.

The woman may or may not be a lesbian and may or may not have

fought back. But the description of the event would be accurate, if



Defining the crime by the motive of the criminal makes it clear where the

responsibility for the crime lies.


The accurate description sounds clumsy.

This is because we have become used to language that blames the victim

and not the perpetrator; that describes the victim as a passive recipient of

a crime and leaves out the actual criminal/perpetrator.

Is it any wonder therefore that our legal systems ignores the rights of

such victims ?



If our language blames the victim then it is hard to

reframe our attitudes and beliefs.

Even with the laws in place, victims often blame

themselves, when they are victims of discrimination or attack and they

don’t report it to the authorities.

When victims do report an incident or crime to the authorities, they often

experience a response that either ignores the report or delays taking

appropriate action or obfuscates the issues.

Sometimes the authorities actually sabotage the correct proceedings.

The passive, victim-blaming language, therefore, reflects the reality that

society does blame the victim!

A recent example in the UK was the murder of Brianna Ghey. A crime

unfortunately totally predictable due to the ant trans atmosphere in the


country. The police against all the guidelines in place in dealing with

serious crime immediately stated it was not a hate crime. Thus denying

the reality of so many trans people who are regularly abused and


In educational institutions we further obfuscate as we call hate crime -


When the same behaviour would be a hate crime if it happened on the



The effect of such victim blaming language encourages internalised

homophobia, sexism, disablism, transphobia, and racism.

Society’s rules are enacted through language; our laws use this same

language. So, if we want to change the reality of hate crimes and unlawful


discrimination going unacknowledged and un-punished, we must change

the language!

As teachers we have a massive responsibility.


Children are not born racist, homophobic, ableist, misogynistic, they are

taught it so it our job to educate out prejudice.


Language undermines the appreciation of our diverse culture by the way

we can imply judgement by the use of term like ‘normal’.

It’s a simple word that carries a great deal of weight. It invites us to

approve of something, to see it as healthy, unthreatening and correct.


The word abnormal is used to describe the unhealthy, when applied to


It has been used to describe people with a disability, people who describe

themselves as LGBT+ and criminals.

The term subnormal has been used to describe people of colour and

women when trying to justify enslaving them or depriving them of rights

reserved for white, cis, heterosexual, able-bodied, middle or upper-class


To judge the ‘normality’ of a person is a very powerful tool in the hands of

the elite.

When it is used to exclude those not in the ‘elite’ group, then the ‘under-

class’ results.



Over the years I have promoted the use of the words “usual” and

“usualise” to replace “normal and “normalise” in order to suggest words

that do not imply a hierarchy. I see them as more neutral terms, without

the history of promoting exclusion and oppression.


So we at Schools OUT UK supply resources, lesson plans, for teachers to

usualise LGBT+ issues throughout the curriculum and for all ages to

enable students to be introduced to the reality of LGBT+ people as an

everyday occurrence. Whether it is an English or Maths lesson it is an

easy task to drop in examples that indicate the existence of LGBT+

people. We would encourage teachers to consider using the same idea

for other groups that have been deliberately hidden. and or discriminated




It is a step along the way to decolonise the curriculum and make visible

that what was made deliberately made invisible

Institutional oppression exists in many of our educational establishments.

So training for all staff to effectively deal with all forms of hate crime be it

verbal or physical is crucial .

It needs to be focused on educating rather than punishment.



A zero tolerance programme is useless when you are not backing it up

with inclusive education that informs students about difference and

celebrates it.

This requires a comprehensive audit of materials we use to teach, posters

we put on walls and the language we use, to ensure we are being


Where the resources do not exist then skilling up our students to do the

research to find it, working with local museums and archives who are

beginning to recognise their responsibility to be inclusive is a vital and

very successful.


We have seen such projects existing in our LGBT+ History international

festival OUTing the past.


Our schools and work places need effective practises that encourages

reports of discrimination and transparent ways of dealing with it.

Regular surveys asking students and all staff, what, where and when they

see/hear discriminatory language behaviour.

To whom they reported it and what the outcome was, gives us vital

information to base our work to eliminate it


We started LGBT+ HM in the UK after 15 years of a law that was

intended to silence and invisibilise LGBT+ people, section 28

Our intention was to not only make us visible but to

Claim our Past


By providing resources that introduce people to the rich heritage that

LGBT+ people in all their diversity have left us.

Celebrate our present

By providing the spaces, museums, archives unions corporates, theatres,

educational institutions etc to explore and celebrate LGBT+ culture and

visibilise us

Create our future

Continue the much-needed work to ensure that all LGBT + people in their

full diversity have the means and support to live healthy, productive lives.

And importantly work towards creating a safe inclusive society that has

dismantled institutional oppression.

We are now working with a variety of countries around the world

supporting them to have their own LGBT+ History Months and Cuba held

their first one last year! I was very honoured to open your 11th LGBT

History Month on yesterday

Slide 25


It was an amazing event and the month is a wonderful opportunity to

visibilise and celebrate LGBT experience and contribution to society.

I hope you feel rededicated to the vital work to support all human rights.

Such rededication is vital for whatever rights we have in our countries

now, they are fragile.

The Conservatives are on the march and we can see that by hook or by

crook they are determined to undermine our human rights and attack


So I urge you to join unions, work with charities and organisations that

work to undercut the right, and celebrate and support the discriminated


And, be the beacon of light that disperses ignorance and prejudice.


SLIDE 26 slide

Slide 27 end


You might also like