In recent surveys conducted in UK and several European countries, it has been found that there is a direct result between homophobic bullying and mental health. LBGT Bullying has such an effect on bullied students to the extent that almost 20% of LGBT Bullied students surveyed have attempted suicide at least once.
50% of those LGBT people surveyed (all the under the age of 25) had experienced bullying in schools. 27% of the respondents had tried self harm at least once and more than 50% had serious suicidal thoughts.
Because of their actual or perceived sexual identities, respondents were asked if they had ever experienced any of the following at school. Their replies were as follows:
57% were ‘outed’ as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB)
78% experienced rumors and/or gossip about them and 73% experienced name calling
47% faced intimidation or harassment. As one respondent says “I’ve had a death threat sent to me saying how someone wanted to‘…shove a knife up my arse and inmy throat…’ because I’m gay.”
As for the results of these experiences at school, 65% of the respondents said they felt less confident, 53% reported feelings of depression and an astounding 33% thought of committing suicide.
Ninety six per cent of gay pupils hear homophobic remarks such as ‘poof’ or ‘lezza’ used in school.
Did their performance at school suffer the brunt of homophobic bullying?
50% said they struggled to concentrate
49% chose not to participate in class activities or answer questions
37% thought they achieved lower marks for their work
around 36% resorted to skipping classes and 13% changed schools for fear of continuous homophobic bullying.
If that study is an indicator of the state of Homophobic Bullying in schools, which means that half of the LGBT student body is facing homophobic bullying. Around two in five gay students who experience homophobic bullying think about suicide as a direct consequence.
Only half of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils report that their schools say homophobic bullying is wrong, even fewer in faith schools at 37 per cent.
When young people tell someone about the bullying, in most cases (64%) telling someone does nothing to stop the bullying from happening but makes it escalate.
One student reports “I was knocked unconscious with a thrown calculator in maths class once. The teacher did nothing.”
Homophobic Bullying is bullying executed by people who do not agree with the individual’s sexual preference. Homophobic bullying is also referred to as gay bullying or gay bashing.
Why Does homophobic bullying happen?
Homophobic bullying happens sometimes because people are afraid of what they do not understand. Since it is different, a lot of people in society do not want to accept it. Because of this, no one wants to be seen with someone who is a homosexual. In other instances, some parents pass on their hate for homosexuals to their children while other parents teach their children to accept everyone as they are and never to shun anyone for being different.
Sexual orientation is a person’s sexual identity as it relates to the gender to which they are attracted. Sexual identity terms have been abbreviated and are now commonly referred to as LGBTQ or the LGBTQ community.
LGBTQ does not include heterosexual individuals. Heterosexual or “Straight” individuals are attracted to the opposite sex.
Homosexual terms are each represented by a corresponding letter of the alphabet:
L – Lesbian – woman who is attracted to females.
G – Gay – male who is attracted to males
B – Bisexual – male or female attracted to both sexes.
T – Transgender – A person whose self-identity doesn’t conform to conventional typing. An example would be a person whose gender was designated at birth based genitalia but feels that the true self is the opposite sex or a combination of both sexes. (Non-identification or non-presentation as the sex one was assigned at birth).
Q – Queer – An umbrella term for persons who feel outside of norms in regards to gender or sexuality but do not wish to specifically self – identify as L, G, B or T.
Bullying is an aggressive and unwanted behavior inflicted upon a vulnerable child or teen and is usually repetitive. It can be physical, emotional, verbal, or written as a text message or email. Foul or explicit language, hitting, tripping, ignoring, staring, pushing, name calling, stalking, are all examples of bully tactics.
Like all forms of bullying, homophobic bullying can occur in different ways such as emotional, verbal, physical or sexual.
Some of the more common forms of homophobic bullying include:
Verbal bullying (being teased or called names, or having derogatory terms used to describe you, or hate speech used against you)
Being ‘outed’ (the threat of being exposed to your friends and family by them being told that you are LGLBT even when you are not)
Indirect bullying (being ignored or left out or gestures such as ‘backs against the wall’)
Sexual harassment (inappropriate sexual gestures, for example, in the locker room after PE or being groped with comments such as, ‘you know you like it!’)
Cyber bullying (being teased, called names and/or threatened via email, text and on Social Networking sites)
Mayock, P.et al(2009)Supporting LGBT Lives: A Study of the Mental Health and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People.Dublin: Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and BeLonG To Youth Service. p. 17, 18, 85 & 94.
The experiences of gay young people in Britain’s schools By April Guasp, Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge