Take a Stand Today Against LGBT Bullying

Are you wearing purple now? I am. Today marks GLAAD’s Spirit Day, where folks are urged wear the color to support the far too many LGBT youth getting bullied.

The statistics don’t lie. More than†60 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual middle- and high-schoolers feel uncomfortable or unsafe because of their sexual orientation. The numbers of trans youth feeling unsafe at school are even higher, at 75 percent. This hurts their GPAs, self-esteem and life goals to pursue higher education. And, the most sobering statistic comes from the Centers for Disease Control: LGBT youth are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual, cisgender peers.

Nevertheless, folks too often treat common-sense efforts to protect all kids like a political game. As demonstrated earlier this year, nearly half of the Senate voted down a bill that would ban discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools. If the bill had passed, LGBT students would have the same protections as those being discriminated against based on sex, religion and race. Expanded protections should’ve been a no-brainer. Even homophobes claim they prioritize the safety of children.

Since too many are failing to step up to the plate, here are a few ways you can help prevent bullying of LGBT youth in schools:

1. First things first: Start wearing purple.

Started by Canadian teen Brittany McMillan in 2010, Spirit Day intends to remember LGBT youth who died by suicide and stand with bullied kids in general. Join the likes of the White House, Oprah and Facebook by wearing purple or coloring your social media accounts purple today to show your support.

2. Intervene when they’re young.

A recent study shows that kids who later identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are bullied as early as fifth grade. Even though they may not yet have an inkling about their sexuality, they face nearly twice the amount of harassment as kids who later identify as straight. Experts stress the importance of keeping an eye out for possible bullying and creating a safe, respectful environment where kids feel comfortable talking about their sexuality.

3. Push for a curriculum that’s LGBT inclusive.

According to GLSEN, schools that have lesson plans that include positive mentions of LGBT people are friendlier to their students in sexual minorities. Students are less likely to use anti-gay or -trans slurs (specific insults for bisexuals weren’t tracked), and LGBT kids are half as likely to miss school because they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

On a related note, supporting students starting gay-straight alliances in their schools has similar benefits. A better climate may even help teachers who are LGBT themselves, as many are less likely to stand up against bullying in fear of outing themselves.

LGBT bullying in schools and anywhere for that matter is unacceptable and can manifest most extremely in suicide and other violence. Let’s stand for better.

As Spirit Day’s founder McMillan says in the Advocate, “There are quiet struggles happening all around you. But please reach out, because no one should feel like they donít belong or donít matter, especially not because of who they are.”

Photo Credit: NYC Pride Parade 2012

30 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Janis K.
Janis K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Kathryn Irby
Past Member 2 years ago

I'm never afraid to speak up!!! Thanks for sharing.

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Charles Wallis
Charles Wallis2 years ago

TFTS

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Beth M.
Beth M2 years ago

I've seen bullying firsthand. Imagine being in school all day and not being able to use the bathroom for fear of being beat up.

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Karen H.
Karen H2 years ago

Stand together. When Westboro Baptist started their nonsense at Oak Park High School in Kansas after a transgender student was named Homecoming Queen, the students banded together. Over 200 students, plus community members, formed a “Wall of Love” and chanted “Long Live The Queen!” as they followed the Westboro Baptist minivan out of town.

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Beth Wilkerson
Beth Wilkerson2 years ago

my son was bullied when he was a youngster... there is no excuse for it

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Mark Vaughan
Mark Vaughan2 years ago

If you hold parents and administrators accountable for the actions of the children in their charge, then suddenly, we will see a big change, and very fast. The phrase "Boys will be boys" is code for "The Faggot got what was coming to him."

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Mark Vaughan
Mark Vaughan2 years ago

Hold parents and administrators accountable for the actions of the children in their charge, and see how fast things change.

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Roberto MARINI
Roberto MARINI2 years ago

thanks for this article

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