In the King's Speech, the king has been outed against his will, and certainly against that of his wife, the Queen Mother. Much like in the gay community in the Eighties and Nineties, the outing and coming out of prominent figures will lead to a seismic shift not only in the public perception but also in the self-perception of the affected individuals. Ironically, stuttering is blatantly obvious when most stutterers speak, but it's hidden in that it's not talked about.
The movie will have a dramatic impact on stuttering world-wide. Not because of the realistic portrayal of stuttering, but mostly because The King Stuttered.
1) Stuttering is now acceptable. Many influential people did not come out publicly about stuttering. But now even the king stutters, so it's OK for them to say: I am like the king. I have the same issue as the king. Like the king, I overcame obstacles and this made me a stronger person. Check out Sandra Howard's coming out. She is the wife of the ex-leader of the British Conservatives.
2) "Ordinary" people will also come out, or be asked to admit to stuttering. If the king stutters, you are a bit like the king! Many will be proud to be like the king. Don't know why, but they will!
3) Celebrity, especially royal one, sells.Many journalists have to write articles about the movie, which makes them more informed about stuttering.
4) You cannot make fun of stuttering any more, at least not in the UK. Making fun of stuttering means making fun of the king! And making fun of the king is the high treason to the Empire! Onto the gallows of London Bridge!
5) Many journalists are completely clueless about the nature of stuttering, and most of them are copycats, also due to the time pressure they are under. So they will copy from earlier articles and re-shuffle. Luckily, I noticed that most are taking the neurobiological cause, and mostly the there-is-no-cure phrase. Ironically, we experienced the same as in the last century. There is a prevailing theme of the cause, and the journalists just swallow it. Luckily, this time they swallow the "true" one. I take some responsibility due to my lobbying hard for a neurobiological cause over the last ten years at conferences and on this blog. I remember that ten years ago, "neurobiological cause" was a bit of a taboo word. Now of course, I am a bit scared that the social, behavioural and cognitive aspects are lost in the debate.
6) I expect much more funding for the stuttering associations and research. But I fear that the real grass-root consumer associations like the BSA or the NSA will receive little money, unlike the well-connected organizations like the American Institute of Stuttering or the Michael Palin Center.
7) Parents will be less concerned about the future of their kids. Well, even the king managed to live with stuttering. It's not the end of all times.
Finally, I expect that these effects will impact on the well-being of those who stutter. They will have less emotional reactions like fear, shame, and embarassement, because even the king stuttered. But of course, they will still stutter.