Saturday, November 22, 2014

Last week's CBBC programme about 13-year-old Leo was introduced by Katie and Dodge T Dog. -

Katie: Now, as part of our 'Bye Bye to Bullying' week on CBBC, we have a brand new episode of My Life coming up next. It's all about Leo, who was born a girl, but lives his life as a boy. We follow the highs and lows of his journey as he tries to apply for a new passport - one which may officially recognise him as a boy. Here's Leo's story.

There's a brief summary of the programme in my previous blog entry. The documentary makers went to some considerable trouble to explain the concept of transgenderism, using coloured graphics to illustrate the points being made. We were shown pink figures wearing dresses but with blue-coloured brains, and blue figures with pink-coloured brains.

Trans people in diagrammatic form

Some very important issues were omitted - in particular the documentary failed, as CBBC usually does, to consider the issue of sexual orientation. Bearing in mind that the number of young people who are LGB is somewhat greater than the number of trans people, it was unfortunate that the producers didn't appreciate the need to carefully explain the difference between being gay/bisexual and being trans. I have attempted to raise this issue with Kez Margrie but, as yet, haven't heard back.

On Wednesday 19th November Katie was joined in the CBBC presentation studio by Tallulah Greive, who plays Lauren on Millie Inbetween, and by CBBC bully, Hacker T Dog, ironically wearing a 'Bye Bye to Bullying' T-shirt -

Tallulah Greive and Hacker (19/11/2014)

Katie introduced Our School as part of CBBC's anti-bullying campaign. Approximately five minutes of the programme dealt with homophobic bullying - an issue also covered on the previous evening's Newsround bulletin.

In the Our School episode Jessica and classmate Libby have been called names by an older boy at Conyers School. They report the incident to Year 7 Manager, Mr Livesey. Apparently the boy had tried to insult Jessica by calling her a lesbian.

Jessica: .... who cares if I was a lesbian, it wouldn't interfere with my life. I wouldn't be upset about it.

Mr Thoburn (narrating): As Year 7 are about to find out, using "lesbian" or "gay" as an insult is a serious kind of bullying. ... The School have invited Shaun Dellenty, a Deputy Head from another school, to talk to Year 7 about what happened to him when he was their age.

Shaun Dellenty told the Year 7 assembly that he realised he was gay at a fairly young age. And at secondary school he got bullied right from the very first day.

Mr Dellenty: During my time at secondary school I was spat on, laughed at, punched, kicked, hit, pushed, and I was told that I would go to hell. All of that by the time I'm your age. How do you think that might affect somebody - a young person, how do you think that might affect them?

After the assembly the kids talked about what they'd heard.

Shaun Dellenty taking a Year 7 assembly at Conyers School

Mr Thoburn: The assembly has really got the Year 7's thinking, and the discussion carries on in tutor time.

We then saw Class 7AG discuss discrimination and being called names. The teacher, Mr Glendenning, asked the class never to use the term "gay" in a derogatory sense.

Jessica: If you get name-called, that's a sign of bullying. I would just go and see your Deputy or your Head Teacher, tell them what's happening ...

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