Monday, August 28, 2006

What is Newsround waiting for?

Last year Anthony Walker, an 18 year old boy was murdered in a barbarous and vicious racist attack. Those responsible for the attack were caught and punished.

On 9 May this year a 15 year old schoolboy was brutally attacked by a gang of about six teenagers. He didn't die, but was badly injured. This wasn't a racist attack - it was a homophobic attack. One of the attackers was recently sent to a young offenders' institution.

Kids are bullied everyday because of their perceived sexuality. Some, like that 15 year old, are physically attacked. This is why education experts agree that homophobia should be tackled before it takes root, and that means at Key Stage 1. Yet what does Newsround say? Nothing at all. That's right, Zero - Zilch - Nada. However you want to put it, Newsround simply refuses to acknowledge the existence of lgbt people, thereby discriminating against them and making them more susceptible to victimization.

Newsround condemns racism. But these days homophobia is also a real problem which needs to be brought out into the open and condemned. It leads to low self-esteem and depression amongst lgbt kids - something the Newsround Extra programme on 'Depression' shown on 13 March failed to mention. And few schools in Britain are free from homophobic language or bullying.

So what is Newsround waiting for? Must a schoolboy or schoolgirl be killed in a homophobic attack first? And even if that happens will Newsround cleanse the report of its significance by not saying why he or she was attacked? Will they continue to invisibilize lgbt people just as they've been doing for years?

How much longer can BBC bigotry continue before someone there has the guts to stand up to it?

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