Thursday, March 31, 2011

The latest Newsround Special, on Tuesday, dealt with cancer. Other specials have included knife crime, divorce, living with alcohol, depression, poverty, Internet safety, coping with death, and growing up in care.

But one issue that CBBC avoids is homophobic bullying.

An inquest into the death of Dominic Crouch heard that he jumped from a six-storey block of flats. Roger Crouch, Dominic's father, said after the verdict of suicide was returned: "Dominic was clearly upset about rumours that he believed were being spread about him."

Mr Crouch is insistent that his son, who attended a Catholic school and played rugby, was not actually gay.

New sections of the Equality Act 2010 come into force next week.

Amongst the provisions of the Act is that for 'positive action' which is explained in part of the guidance -

‘Positive action’ is when something is done specifically to help someone who has a protected characteristic. There are several different reasons why it may be appropriate to take some sort of positive action, for instance if someone is suffering some kind of disadvantage linked to that characteristic ....

Positive action is not a legal requirement, but CBBC ought to help counter homophobia rather than condone it.

Last month Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Children's, was at the Kidscreen Summit in New York's Hilton to discuss kids' heroes: Are they reflected in children's media? Can we use attributes that kids respect in building the next generation of media heroes and superheroes?

But back here in the UK, CBBC has been resolutely silent about gay heroes and superheroes. Why is it no surprise that kids get upset about rumours of their sexual orientation and, in extreme cases, contemplate suicide?

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