LGBT bullying can take a toll on the lives of a person. Children, who are perceived as a gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender, are more likely to skip school. They are also likely to use drugs and engage in risk behaviors. Furthermore, they are more depressed and they more likely to think or attempt to commit suicide. The risks are the same for people who hide their sexual orientations.
But what can a community or school do?
Schools must develop a clear policy on LGBT bullying. It should be added to their overall bullying policies. With that in mind, it should encourage students to treat everyone equally and respect everyone’s sexuality.
In a survey, schools with clear policies on LGBT bullying reported having less severe harassment problems. They also said that their students feel safe at their school and they are less likely to skip class.
Communities with anti-bullying policies must consider making it clear that when someone bullies a person based on sexual orientation, he/she will be reprimanded, worse, expelled.
Schools and communities should also consider training their staff and volunteers on how to prevent or intervene when someone is harassed because of his or her sexual orientation.
Schools can also create safe and supportive environments for kids and youth who belong to the LGBT community. They could start building a Gay-Straight organization or alliance. This kind of organization will assist them in reducing the stresses and hazards for this youth.
Adults must also consider discussing issues about LGBT bullying with youth. Unfortunately, some parents convey an attitude of indifference. As a result, they avoid the subject. Sometimes, their silence would mean that they accept LGBT bullying.
When a child reveals of having a same-sex attraction or relationship, it is a chance for the school professional to inform and help the child by providing him/her resources on how to deal with it. It is also an opportunity for the adults to assist them in overcoming the tensions.
LGBT youth and other people who are perceived as a lesbian or gay, are teased and bullied by their own peers. Educators and parents can help them in coping with this abuse and make a difference in their lives.
Even though LGBT bullying is increasing, the positive responses to actively prevent it are also increasing. It is possible through the various partnerships of several organizations to counter this type of bullying.