I wanted to do my second post inspired by a classmates(shortstuff84) post about bullying. I wholeheartedly agree that we do not do enough about bullying. When I was in fifth grade, one of my best friends was called derogatory names like “faggot!” and “gay!” when we went to school together. Till this day, even though she is a heterosexual female, that experience stays with her. I think first, teasing is the problem. And of course, teasing because of your gender preference is also a problem.
But what I would like to note about this story is that it happened so young. My friend was in fifth grade. I feel like those kids who called her “Faggot” and “gay” didn’t even know what they meant! But she sure learned what it meant. I don’t even know why they would call her those terms when she didn’t even “act” homosexual or anything. I think that these terms are just like how we use the word “girl” to demean men. If we tell a man that he is “acting like a girl” then this is perceived as feminine, weak and petty. So this means women = feminine, weak and petty. I think that these terms like “Faggot,” “homo” “gay” sometimes have a negative sting to them. I think maybe we can change this by normalizing these words into our vocabulary much like the word “queer” has many different connotations to it now. I feel that I have learned a lot about the word “queer” and queer in relation to proximity over the course of this semester.
This post is about Iraqi Police who Killed a14-Year-Old Boy for Being Homosexual.
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0505-06.htm. There are so many stories like this but what broke my heart about this story was that the boy was so young.
This story about an angry mob that yanked out the corpse of Madieye Diallo’s, spit on it and dumped it in front of his family’s home is even more disturbing. I think that harmless “teasing” is where acts like these originate from and it is important to teach tolerance at a young age. I cannot stress how important it is. I realized that these are extreme cases in other parts of the world but I am greatly troubled by these stories of hate. I really, really don’t understand how people can be so cruel… I think that we have to continue to not be silent to fight to protect all people regardless of race, culture, gender, sexuality, whatever.
Bullying in schools, specifically high schools, have been becoming more and more prominent in daily news and reports. The numbers have been soaring and the dangers towards these young adults have turned to extreme violence. Whether it is the violence acted upon them, or the violence they eventually used on themselves, students in middle school and high school are so insecure and fragile to those around them.
And why is this even an issue? Because they are different.
Many of the stories stem from a student who is believed to be a homosexual. His/her sexual orientation, or believed sexual orientation, becomes the subject of their demise. Other times it is because they look “different,” because they dress “different,” and because they act “different.” But who defines what is normal and different? Is it magazines with their airbrushed models wearing luxury labels? Is it mainstream stores like Abercrombie & Fitch with their beautiful stick-figure models dressed half-naked? Can we go far enough to say that the reason is closer to home, as in from parents and teachers? But most importantly, when does this stop? And what is going to be done about it?
After Massachusetts native Pheobe Prince hung herself on January 14, 2010, eyes were opened to the insecure and lonely lives of those bullied in school. Her pain was deep enough at 15 years old that she’d rather take her own life than continue the way it was. And the events only continued this year with the suicide of 11-year-old Georgia native, Jaheem Herrera. His suicide was again linked to severe school bullying after he was repeatedly teased and threatened by his classmates. Though these are not the only instances of teen suicide caused by bullying, they are the most recent stories soaking up a lot of attention and outrage.
But even after the repeated severity of these bullying cases, they are not going anywhere, and it seems as though nothing is being done about them. In a recent study by UCLA, one in four young teens are being bullied in some way. Many have been advocating a zero-tolerance stand against bullying in schools, though it has yet to be officially instated in all school facilities. This policy needs to be a mandated law that must be followed in schools all over the country that enacts a severe punishment to those bullying others. Perhaps then we will see a decrease in teen suicides and bullying.
An issue that I feel is often overlooked is that of bullying in schools. It seems that nobody talks about it until some poor kid commits suicide. Then it becomes a hot issue for a week or two in the media, only to be forgotten again. Teenagers have it hard enough, what with going through puberty, trying to be cool and fit in with their peers, and having to deal with schoolwork and preparing for college. Combined with all that pressure, being a gay teenager in high school is ridiculously hard. In fact, there are many statistics proving that gay teens are constantly at risk of mental problems and physical harm.
The Mental Health Association says that LGBT students hear slurs like “faggot” or “homo” once every fourteen minutes each day. Author Anthony Chase conducted a study that found that 31% of LGBT teens were threatened or actually injured in school in 2009 alone. These abuses have very negative consequences on gay teens’ mental health and their education. LGBT kids are up to three times more likely to commit suicide than straight kids. Because they don’t want to deal with the bullying, LGBT students will often skip school. In fact, Mr. Chase wrote that 22% of teens he spoke with had skipped school in the last month to avoid bullies. Similarly, a 1998 study published in Counseling Today showed that 28% of LGBT students drop out of high school altogether, which is more than three times the national average for straight students.
So what can be done to create a safer environment for gay teens? Many high schools have elective classes, so one option would be to create diversity classes that focus on LGBT culture. Schools could form Gay-Straight Alliance clubs or appoint a teacher or administrator to work with gay teens. They could provide counseling, mediation, or just a friendly face that teens can talk to freely. Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to pursue their education in a safe environment.