Welsh First Minister promises action against ‘totally unacceptable’ anti-gay language

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has thrown his support behind a new campaign to tackle homophobic language in Wales’ schools, branding homophobic language as “totally unacceptable”.

Gay rights charity Stonewall last week launched a new campaign to tackle homophobic language in schools, with the slogan “Gay. Let’s get over it”.

In response to a question from Mid & West Wales Assembly Member Rebecca Evans, on the prevalence of homophobic language and the misuse of the word ‘gay’, Mr Jones said: “I’ve heard it amongst children; they will throw the word around almost freely without thinking about the consequences. It is important of course that we make sure that we reassert that this is totally unacceptable. I welcome Stonewall Cymru’s campaign.”

Mr Jones also confirmed that he has asked school inspectorate Estyn to review the ways that schools are tackling bullying – including homophobic language.

“We have asked Estyn as part of its current remit to carry out a thematic survey looking at the effectiveness of action taken by schools to address bullying on the grounds of protected characteristics, including sexual orientation,” he said.

Stonewall Cymru Director Andrew White welcomed the remarks and said: “The First Minister’s comments support what pupils, teachers and our research has told us about the damaging and too often unchallenged negative use of the word ‘Gay’. We also welcome his request to Estyn and will continue to work with schools and local authorities to create inclusive learning environments for all pupils. Together, we’re committed to challenging homophobic language and bullying across Wales.”

Last week, a survey by Barnardo’s showed 58% of Welsh children have witnessed homophobic bullying.