Homosexual bullying is common due to the many misconceptions associated with the lifestyle. Homosexuals have been harassed because of their sexual orientation for decades. The lifestyle they choose is something many people either refuse to acknowledge or plainly choose not to accept. The United States is one of the least tolerant when it comes to accepting the lifestyle of gay and lesbian couples. There are few states who actively and openly tolerate gay marriage or the co-habitation of gay couples.
Being gay is not a choice nor is it a mental illness. It is an active part of the characteristics and personal traits that make a person who they are. Some men prefer men and women prefer women, It does not make them evil, mentally ill or a hazard to society. Homosexual people are conscientious, loving, caring and compassionate individuals who just so happen to desire the attention of members of their own sex in both personal and sexual relationships.
The Stigma of Being Homosexual
In the United States over the past several years, the “moral majority” has taken upon itself to attach a stigma to homosexuality. It is their goal to convince the public at large that homosexuality is a sin against God and man as well as an abhorrence that must be systematically destroyed and removed from mainstream society. Part of the stigma associated with being gay and that has led to homosexual bullying on a variety of levels is simply the fact that many people are uncomfortable with seeing two members of the same sex exchange affection.
Christians, especially believe that homosexuality is a wrong and that the Bible strictly prohibits individuals of the same sex from becoming involved in a committed, sexual relationship. What is ironic is that the United States is known as one of the most lenient countries when it comes to the acceptance of religion, but is the most restrictive when it comes to the acceptance of members of the gay and lesbian community.
Individuals who proclaim to be gay or lesbian are often refused positions they are more than qualified for and prevented from renting homes or apartments, simply because of their sexual orientation. Another ironic aspect of the equation is that many homosexual individuals are active members of the Christian community, the same community that shuns and rejects their lifestyle.
The Role of Religion
As early as the 1950’s Christian evangelists and ministers were proclaiming that the gay and lesbian lifestyle was a direct abomination against God. They used several verses within the Bible to strengthen their argument. Many churches refused gay and lesbian individuals membership into their church because of their sexual orientation.
While Christians enforce the concept that others should not be judged, in the United States, they are the first to point to gay and lesbian individuals and proclaim their lifestyle is inferior to that of Christians and other God-fearing people. Homosexual bullying by church officials, ministers and priests has become so rampant over the past few decades that the gay and lesbian community has started to band together to fight for their rights.
In other countries, homosexuals are treated as equals in almost every aspect. The main difference, comes from how religion is practiced and allowed to affect the lives of the people who are affiliated with the religion in question. Little concern is given to a person’s sexual orientation as long as their believes and precepts are not imposed on others. In the United States, however, religious organizations from almost every denomination attempt to control the public’s perception of homosexuality by turning it into a sinful and morally corrupt lifestyle.
Gay Bullying Out of Fear
Bullying gays and lesbians is often done out of fear. People have been mistakenly told in the past that being homosexual is a choice and that the person can choose to be straight if they wanted to. This is not the case. Being gay is something a person is born into, much like being born male or female. It is not simple a “choice”.
Another common fear that was perpetuated long ago was the misconception that being “gay” was a disease. It is not contagious, nor can someone be influenced into becoming gay or lesbian. A person who is straight will continue to like the opposite sex no matter who they associate with, work with or become friends with.
Much of the stigma and fear attached to gay people comes from years of misconceptions being spread about what being gay really means. Individuals raised in intolerant homes have been brought up to believe that homosexuality is wrong without ever being given a reason why. Many parents conform with the beliefs of the Christian church, even when they do not attend church regularly or belong to a specific faith. It is just accepted as morally right and, in that respect, should be frowned upon.
Along with the fears created by misinformation, more has been added with the introduction of the HIV/AIDS virus. The spread of the disease has had a dramatic effect on how individuals perceive the gay and lesbian lifestyle. Although there are other ways for the disease to be transmitted from one person to another, the gay community is being held responsible for it becoming so widespread.
In recent years, gay and lesbian rights groups have been responsible for educating the community and fostering new awareness when it comes to how the homosexual is perceived and tolerated. Gay and lesbian individuals who at one time were afraid to let others know their sexual orientation, are now embracing it. Melissa Etheridge, George Takei, Ellen DeGeneres and other celebrities are proudly proclaiming who and what they are.
Individuals who are members of management in large corporations are now coming forward to prove that being gay does not imply inferiority. They strive to promote the rights of all individuals to be able to choose their own lifestyle and live in whatever fashion they so choose. More and more people are coming forward who have hidden their sexual orientation. As gay and lesbian rights organizations step up their efforts to remove the stigma attached to the lifestyle, homosexuals have less fear about letting others know about their sexual preference.
Homosexual Bullying, Depression and Suicide
The rate of suicide among members of the gay and lesbian community is still extremely high. Individuals who are constantly bullied by others often exhibit signs of depression, low self-esteem and worthlessness. Add to it the harassment that many members of the gay and lesbian community experience on a regular basis and the risk of suicide steadily increases. Many homosexuals admit that the bullying and harassment they receive directly affects how they feel about themselves. Although few admit to having thoughts of suicide, many exhibit various forms of self-destructive behavior.
Gay and lesbian activists are stepping up attempts at creating support groups and suicide prevention hotlines that would give individuals a place to turn when they begin to feel overwhelmed with how society, co-workers and anti-gay groups treat them. Homosexual organizations are gaining popularity with people in the community who accept their lifestyle and encourage them to speak up against sexual harassment and gay bullying.
In today’s society being homosexual does not carry with it the same amount of angst, hatred and persecution as it did in the past. Individuals are encourage to explore their uniqueness and be proud of who and what they are. This level of acceptance is continuing to spread and has even gotten the attention of religious leaders across the world. While the religious leaders may not like or believe in the homosexual lifestyle, they are in agreeance that each individual has the right to be who and what they are without fear of judgment, retaliation, persecution or harassment.
Although homosexual bullying is still rampant in many areas of the United States, the continued efforts of gay and lesbian organizations is increasing awareness of several aspects of the lifestyle. Individuals who are hiding the fact they are homosexual are being encouraged to embrace who they are. It is the hopes of the organization that through becoming more vocal will help to raise awareness of the situations the gay and lesbian community must face on a regular basis.
The homosexual community is working to change the public’s perception of their lifestyle. By educating the community and correcting the common misconceptions that are already in place, they hope to prevent bullying and harassment of all gay and lesbian individuals.