That’s so gay. She’s such a lesbo. Look at those pants, he’s so gay. What a fag. They’re such a homos.
How many times a day do you hear statements like these?
Approximately 1/4 of all high school students are bullied because of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, or sexual orientation. About 90% of gay teens are bullied… and half of them report being physically harassed by their peers. Most of these kids feel unsafe going to school.
Can you imagine what that’s like?
Teens who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, or Questioning are 3 times more likely to commit suicide, 5 times more likely to skip school, and also very likely to drop out of school altogether. Many of them don’t further their education and go to college because they’re afraid the bullying will continue. I mean, really, can you see why they feel this way? Everyday is a battle for them. They can’t get away from the negative comments, the name-calling, the physical harassment.
Bullying happens lots of different ways:
- Verbal bullying: Calling names and saying negative things to a person’s face
- Physical bullying: pushing, shoving, hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, putting someone in a locker, anything else where you physically harm them
- Cyber bullying: Posting things online about a person, gossiping about someone via social media
- Indirect bullying: Gossiping about a person behind their back, spreading rumors, making comments like “that’s so gay” in front of someone who you know is gay
Whether you realize it or not, if you do any of these things, YOU ARE A BULLY.
Why do we treat each other this way? Like, seriously. When are we ever going to get over this? Will there ever be a day when people don’t feel like they have to pretend to be someone else, or like they’ll have to suffer if they don’t?
Although there is some progress, the LGBTQ community still gets an overwhelming message from society that being gay is wrong. So don’t make things harder for them.
Next time you see someone bullying a LGBTQ peer, speak up. Tell them it’s not cool. Stand behind the kid being bullied and tell the other kids to knock it off. Let them know that you accept them for who they are, and if they ever need anyone to talk to, they can trust you. Bullying is always wrong, and it’s really wrong when it happens because of someone’s sexual orientation. Really, who cares? Why does anyone care about anyone else’s sexuality? Let them be them, and you can be you! Don’t worry about it!
If YOU or a FRIEND are being bullied, here’s what you can do:
- Tell a teacher, counselor, coach, or someone else at school. Tell them everything that’s been happening. If they don’t do anything about it, or you feel like they don’t do enough, talk to someone else. There ARE people who care and who will do everything to help you. You just need to tell them… don’t be embarrassed.
- Let your parents know everything that’s been going on.
- If necessary, tell the authorities and press charges.
- There are several hotlines you can call for help, or even if you just need someone to talk to: GLBT National Help Center (1-800-246-PRIDE), The Trevor Project Hotline (1- 866-488-7386 or text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200 or chat on their website, http://www.thetrevorproject.org), or The National Suicide Prevention Line (1-800-273-TALK),
LGBTQ bullying needs to stop, but it’s never going to if we all continue to say and do things that make it hard on everyone in that community. That means you need to quit saying “that’s so gay” and calling your friends “fags,” even if it is a joke. We’re getting closer and closer to getting past this, guys… but we need to do it together.