The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has released a new study that takes a look at the experiences of LGBT youth online. The study highlights the high level of bullying and harassment online, and at a much higher level than thought.
These are a few of the findings on cyberbullying:
Those that have been harassed have significantly lower grades in school, mental health issues and low self-esteem, this included both in-person and online bullying. Studies found that cyberbullying is both prevalent and pervasive among LGBT youth. In a 2011 poll over half of the young people encountered discriminatory language online, and most did not believe that biased slurs as being offensive or didn't know of their impact on LGBT youth.
The study also looked at the time LGBT youth spend online:
In a 2011 GLSEN's climate survey they found that 82% of LGBT youth still face verbal harassment. This revealed that LGBT youth are still vulnerable at school, at home and online. Online resources are extremely valuable to those in communities that don't have support networks or communities. It is essential that the safety of LGBT youth be addressed by community leaders, school officials, and politicians, but the conversation needs to start at home or between the youth and adults.
At the Katy Independent School District school board meeting in Texas Greg Barrett came to talk about bullying. Lance Hindt the school district superintendent was in attendance.
Barrett came to explain that he was targeted as a kid because his name at the time was Grey Gay. “I was bullied,” he said. “Unbelievably bullied. I started out and I had teachers that bullied me, I had kids that bullied me, even the coaches. I had nobody to turn to.”
He then recounts a story about a gang of classmates that assaulted him, shoving his head in a urinal, then they proceeded to kick him while in the fetal position. Barrett continued to talk about how he felt suicidal because of the beating. “Well, I went home and I got the .45 out of my father’s drawer and put it in my mouth. Because at this point I had nobody–nobody in the school system–to help me. Is that the way this is going to be?”
Looking directly at Hindt: “Lance, you were the one that shoved my head in the urinal.” Hindt response was to start laughing.
Hindt's office released a statement completely denying the allegations stating in part that “a bullying incident [that] occurred more than 35 years ago” and accusing Barrett of trying to “impugn my character and reputation.” However, a couple of days later Christopher Dolan came forward that he witnessed the assault and that Hindt was a known bully in both middle and high school. Dolan sated: “I do remember, recall, one incident that happened where Lance Hindt took Greg into a bathroom,” Dolan tells ABC-13. “He was in the bathroom and put his head, into uh, into a urinal." Furthermore, "He was a bully and he let people know that he was in charge. Nobody messed with Lance Hindt, not at West Memorial Junior High and not at Taylor High School.”
Watch the confrontation
There can be many signs that someone is affected by bullying - either being bullied or the one doing the bullying. It's important to recognize the warning signs, and taking action to stand up or stop bullying. There are many who will not ask for help when being bullied, so it's important to reach out to those who show signs of being bullied or are bullying others.
Bullying can lead to major issues, such as depress, substance abuse or suicide. Here are some warning signs to look for.
Signs that someone may be bullying others:
According to a new research letter gay and bisexual youth have a high risk of suicidal behavior. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioned high school students in the United States were at a higher risk of suicide than their straight counterparts.
Date from the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 40% of LGBT youth has considered suicide, 35% has planned suicide, and 25% have attempted suicide. Compared to heterosexual teens only 15% considered, 12% planned and 6% had attempted suicide.
Just fearing how their family or friends may react to their sexual orientation can isolate youth and profoundly harm their mental health,” sociologist Anna Mueller, from the University of Chicago, told Science News.
In a national survey 16,000 youth were questioned, 89% of the participants identified as heterosexual, 2% as gay or lesbian, 6% bisexual, and 3.2% were questioning or unsure. Bisexual teens were the most at risk, with 46% saying they has considered suicide in the past year, according to the study.
Senior study author John Ayers, a researcher at San Diego State University told Reuters "LGBT teens face staggeringly high suicide risk, and we must recognize LGBT teen suicide is a national public health crisis and bring extraordinary resources to bear to address the crisis."
One issue the study didn't address was asking about respondents' gender identity, meaning date for transgender people aren't available.
At some point in our lives we have felt awkward in a social setting. It's going to happen and for some it truly effects them in way we commonly don't understand. This is especially true in the LGBT community. If you have spent any time in the community you understand the pressures placed on you, for some the pressure is intense and caused some to withdraw completely.
An article published by Help Guide titled "Dealing with Loneliness & Shyness: Making Friends if you Feel Shy or Socially Awkward". The article provides information and tips to help overcome social shyness; how to deal with setbacks & rejection, overcoming your biggest fears, tackling social insecurity & fear.
The attitude of some in the LGBT community is that there must be something wrong with a person who is shy or socially awkward. Most are ridiculed, look down upon, made fun of, or ostracized from the community. This leads in my opinion of feeling worthless. How many times have you been at a bar, seen someone and made a comment because that person is quite and sits alone? We tend to reject anyone that doesn't fit into our preconceived idea of what is "normal" (whatever that's suppose to mean).
Shyness is invariably a suppression of something. It's almost a fear of what you're capable of. Rhys Ifans
Being shy shouldn't be a barrier to being who you want to be. There should be an understanding that we grow up in different environments and cultures. Some even suggest that social media has caused an entire generation to lose the ability to engage in social situations.
Maybe we should examine our own behavior towards others, instead of excluding other's simply because they tend to stay to themselves. Make an attempt to understand and engage.
Most gay men understand what's it like to be bullied as a youth. I remember the constant bullying from 6th thru 12th grades. It was every day, and how I survived it I'll never know. This bullying followed me well into late my 20's, it changed how I viewed people in social scenes, and I spent years trying to run from those feelings.
It wasn't until I went to complete my masters degree that I realized how ill prepared I was to deal with most social situations. I was withdrawn, quite and very shy I didn't make friends easily, and in public social settings I was a total "wall flower". I didn't think that I was good enough for anyone, I wasn't attractive and I had little self-worth for myself. I felt completely isolated, here I was hundreds of miles from home. My parents lived in New Orleans and here I was at the University of Michigan.
It wasn't until I was in the last term of my masters degree that I sought help from Mr. Nickolas, he was my adviser and I remember going into his office and the lowest point I ever felt. I couldn't understand why after all these years I still felt the same way. How could what happened in school still affect me? What was wrong with me?
What I had to do was face my past and stop trying to run from it. Learn to love, respect myself and understand that I was stronger than I ever thought. It would take two years of therapy to completely understand what happened, and to leave that in my past.
Today I reflect on that time of my life and know that I will never allow anyone to hurt me that way again. It's the reason I am so direct, blunt and honest. Never again will I cede control of my life to anyone for any reason. Bullying has affects that last much longer and effects our lives in ways we never think of.
How do we deal the bullying? How do we protect and help those in need?
Ditch the Label a anti-bulling website has some good advice on how to deal the bullying. It's worth reading.
Image purchased form istock.com and used for commercial use only.
Drug use in the LGBT community is a well know issue, however, for many this is the only escape they have to relieve the rejection from their own peers. I came across this article How Dose Social Rejection Contribute to Addiction? The statics are frightening when you really look at the numbers. The use of drugs in the LGBT community are quite alarming as seen in this addiction report. While this is an older article it is just as important now, especially since we are exposed to social apps that put an undue burden on physical appearances. Now I'm not implying that social apps are the main cause, for many it has allowed many to express themselves more freely, and find people who are into the same things they are, however, the fact remains that when you look at profiles you see some pretty harsh requirements for "hooking up".
But let's put that aside. Even in the bars or other social scenes there's this since of I'm better than you, or you don't fit in (whatever that's suppose to mean). Now even I understand that not all drug use can be contributed to social rejections. Many people use drugs for various reasons, such as, sexual abuse, or mental or physical violence. There are many reasons to be honest.
So, how do we address this issue of social rejection? It has must start with us a community, to accept everyone for who they are and not judge. What are your thoughts?
Originally a six part series on asexuals and their fight for equal rights and acknowledgment in the LGBT community. The entire series was an intriguing look into a misunderstood segment of society. "Asexuality: The 'X' In a Sexual World" was published in Huffington Post by Dominique Mosbergen in 2013 and updated in 2016. It's a in depth look covering topics such as; What is asexuality? Is asexuality a disorder? along with their battle for LGBT inclusion.
Do we as a culture turn our backs on a segment of society because we might not understand what asexuality is. Because they prefer to noT engage in sexual acts, does that make them less worthy of our compassion or friendship?
What are your thoughts? Should someone who is asexual be included in the LGBT community?
I've often wondered how some drag queens feel about transgender women. This article written by Zack Ford for Think Progress really takes a look at the different world between transgender women and drag queens. For me I believe there is a vast difference. For example transgender women live their lives as women, have made or want to make the transition from male to female (not all transgenders elect to go through with the surgery), as for drag queens this is an art, a way to express themselves, or has become a part of their lives as an alter-ego.
But is there a divide between transgender women and drag queens? Most of the drags queens I know are very accepting, spend a lot of time working hard to break down barriers or stereotypes both inside and outside of the community. Now I will say that I've heard some drag queens bitch, complain and put down a transgender women who want to perform along side of drag queens.
So, is there really a divide between transgender women and drag queens? Or is this simple a myth pushed by a few in the LGBT community? What are you thoughts?
I came across an article written by Kevin Maxwell in 2016 for the Independent. The article focusses on discrimination against non-white members of the LGBT community in London. So how does that pertain to New Orleans? It is a fact that the LGBT community in New Orleans is segregated and at times highly racist. For example, in the past 9 years I have only come across one Asian, and he’s a personal friend. Aside from that I have never seen an Asian in the LGBT community. The same can be said for black and Latinos in the community. Why is that?
The following article "Racism is rife in the LGBT community. Gay People cannot call for equality while discrimination against others" is a reflection and a well-established truth in the LGBT community, not just in New Orleans, but in many cities around the United States.
So, what do you think? Have you experience racism in the LGBT community? Tell us your story.