Special attention to gay bullying

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MICHAEL Creechan objects to special attention being given to homophobic bullying, saying, “Children are bullied at school for wearing spectacles, having red hair, cross-eyes, freckles, spots and facial def­ormities without anything like the media attention given to complaints from organisations like Stonewall...” (Letters, 16 November)

He fails to appreciate that there are factors which call for special efforts in the case of homophobic bullying.

First, children may be scared to report homophobic bullying for fear the school will inform their parents that they are gay. Red-haired children do not usually fear that their parents will learn they are red-haired.

Second, some of the teachers may themselves be homophobic. In the same-sex marriage debate we heard a lot about the need for freedom of speech for teachers whose consciences will not allow them to do anything that might seem to support same-sex relationships. I have not seen calls for freedom of conscience for teachers to slag off freckles.

Third, the school itself may have an ethos which is antipathetic to children who are growing up gay – for example, if the school’s governing ethos includes a view of same-sex 
attraction as “objectively evil”. I doubt if there are many schools where freckles are thus regarded.

Fourth, there is rarely, in wider society, the hostility to people wearing glasses that there is to gay people. People do not write to newspapers saying that Yes lost the referendum because the SNP is sympathetic to glasses for those who need them, but they did write saying it was lost
because the SNP legalised same-sex marriage. There are not calls at the General Assembly for people wearing glasses to be denied the pulpit.

Paul Brownsey, Glasgow