Guide for gay adopters cited parent who condemned 'retarded homophobes'
The UK's leading adoption charity has been forced to apologise for using the word "retarded" in its guide to adoption for gay couples.
The Pink Guide to Adoption for Lesbians and Gay Men, brought out by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), cited a gay adopter who condemned critics of same-sex adoption as "retarded homophobes".
In the book, the carer advised would-be adopters: "Don't worry about society. Children need good parents much more than retarded homophobes need an excuse to whinge, so don't let your worries about society's reaction hinder your desire and ability to give a child a loving, caring home."
The extract was quoted on the BAAF's website. The word "retarded" was later removed after it provoked an angry response from the learning disabilities charity, Mencap. The BAAF also said it would pulp the 100 advance copies of the book already received, and amend the rest of the print run to remove the word.
Ismail Kaji, a Mencap spokesperson, said: "As someone with a learning disability, I find the word retard highly offensive. It is unacceptable and a disgrace that a state-funded agency is using such outdated, discriminatory language. There would quite rightly be outrage if a racist word were used in a government pamphlet so why is abhorrent disablist language so often overlooked?"
The BAAF admitted that the use of the expression was "not appropriate", but stressed this was a quote from an adopter and did not reflect its views. A spokesperson said: "The use of the word 'retarded' is not appropriate and it is regrettable that we put that up there.
"It has now been removed from our website, but we do still stand by the sentiments behind it. It is strong language but they are not our words, they are the words of the carer. It just reflects the strength of their feeling against the homophobia in society. This is how same-sex couples feel."
There has been a steady increase in gay and lesbian couples seeking to adopt children since a 2005 law change there were 80 same-sex adoptions in England in 2007-08.
Guardian, 14th May 2009