Make the language clear

17th March 2006 at 00:00
While I understand that the quotation that modern languages are "gay - for women, not men's stuff" is attributable to the survey you cite (TESS, March 3), I am disappointed that you chose to headline your leader comment "Real men do learn a language".

Rather than challenge pupils, and teachers who allow such statements, to explain how a language can be gay, or to explain what men's stuff is, by extending this link you pander to the idea that being a gay man means you are not a real man, whatever that is.

Not only is this outmoded but deeply offensive. There are many pupils in schools in Scotland who daily suffer homophobic abuse and torment, sometimes from teachers who view themselves as "real men". Young gay pupils are also more likely to attempt suicide or leave school at 16, fleeing homophobia, than their heterosexual counterparts.

Bearing these in mind, I expect a higher quality of journalism from your paper and a clearer focus on how to encourage boys to do languages other than "persuade" them that they are not gay if they do so. Apart from the fact that some of them will be gay, we should be instilling in them a sense of equality and acceptance and not encouraging prejudices.

Graeme McNaught Dalgety Street, Edinburgh

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