View Full Version : Preventing the Bullying of LGBT Children & Youth
09-06-2007, 01:23 AM
I've been asked to consider taking on a new project that I'm very excited about. If I submit my application and get awarded the contract (I'm told that I'd be perfect for it!), I'll be educating educators in the Tulsa area about preventing the bullying of LGBT students. (And I'll get paid to do something I love!!!)
What I'd like is for this thread to be:
1) A place to share your experience of being bullied.
2) A place to discuss ideas to help the LGBT kids, their parents, their teachers, their classmates, etc... to promote understanding, equality & justice in schools.
09-06-2007, 02:23 AM
An older boy once told me, with obvious disdain, “nice girl boots,” at the Catholic school I went to. I told my dad about this and other similar humiliating experiences, and started to cry.
He comforted me and proceeded to explain to me how such experiences didn’t bother him in school and therefore neither should they bother me.
Looking back at high school -- and its a LOOONG way back -- I remember two overwhelming feelings: first, a kind of numbness, second, a constant badgering.
I was hounded constantly during 10th grade by one kid. He was a senior, and after he graduated I could breathe again. The numbness was my way of getting through, of keeping myself from being read as a sissy. It didn't work.
None of the bullying was gay-oriented, but all of it was. No one was gay back then (early '60s), right? But every affront to my person I internalized as gay-bashing. I knew I was gay, and in those days I thought I deserved everything I got. Somehow, I managed to avoid having the crap beat out of me. Very grim experience.
I didn't come into my own until college. It was a shock to be accepted by some of the people there. It was also a shock to find that I wasn't the smartest kid in the class anymore.
So, I guess I'd say: help the kids not to internalize the hatred and make it their own like I did.
09-06-2007, 11:01 AM
I wasn't bullied for being gay, but I was bullied A LOT growing up. I personally recommend looking into "Bullycide" a book written by two English sociologists about bulling in general and how it has resulted in the deaths of children and adolescents, either through suicide or homicide, not to mention the psychological damage it leaves.
One thing that I defintely wished had been emphasized more strongly while I was going up was the teacher and administrator's responsibility to confront bullying for what it is: abuse, rather than telling children that it is a "right of passage." I think that this is PARAMOUNT in eradicating any bullying, anywhere.
Another phenomenon that teachers should be educated about is the general propensity to identify with the bully rather than the bullied. The United Kingdom, which is far ahead of the US in addressing this problem, notes on one of its websites that teachers often identify with the bully because he or she seems "normal" while the bullied child is "different." Because of this subconscious bias, teachers often believe the bully's story and decide that the victim is just being "too sensitive."
09-06-2007, 12:15 PM
As a child I was very small - 4'11" and abut 90lbs at 15 - and somewhat effeminate. I was a favorite target at the all boys high school in Australia, where bullying was considered a "right of passage".
I had a few other friends who were equally as small, one of whom I have written about before. I also had one friend, in particular, who was my "protector" - Pete was a polio survivor with two leg braces and a massive upper body because he moved himself so much with his arms. Whenever Pete saw the bullying, which was mostly pushing around, pantsing, destroying my books and stuff, he would intervene. He had a particularly maniacal look which, when added to his upper body size, made him look very menacing.
Pete became ill and was gone from school for a few months. During that time the bullying became more violent and more frequent. I was often bleeding upon returning to class, and spent an inordinate amount of time in the nurses office.
I am not proud of how I ended up handling the bullying. I learned from Pete about appearing maniacal. One day before class started Madden and Nichols, the two biggest and most virulent school bullies, started pushing me around and ended up using me as a punching bag. They each outweighed me by at least 50 lbs. I lost it, and became a nut job in the process. When the teacher walked in the room, Nichols was in the corner with a bloody nose, and I was sitting on top of Madden's chest flailing at his face. The timing was critical, as given just another minute to get over the shock, these guys would have no doubt pummelled me into a stain on the floor.
The teacher sent me to the Vice-Principal's office - old "Bulldog" Burke - who yelled at me so everyone could hear, but very quietly said, "It's about f-cking time. They'll never do it to you again." Which was, pathetically, true.
The problem was, however, that teachers allowed this to go on for months, and only my temporary insanity stopped it from re-occurring. I happened to have a good teacher in Pete - many others do not. I survived with only passing thoughts of suicide. Two other boys didn't - they killed themselves for the same reasons I thought about it. It was an environment in which "alpha-dog" mentality was almost encouraged - if not actively, at least tacitly - by the teachers inaction.
09-06-2007, 12:34 PM
I was bullied quite a bit in school, and none of it had to do with my sexuality that I know of (since, at the time, I was so confused about what that was I wasn't anywhere near 'out', and since I was bisexual it was easy enough to cruise through since there WERE some guys I was attracted to along with the girls, even if I was baffled over why I was so excited every time I had a sleepover with my best friend... :lol:) but a lot of it had to do with my gender. This is confusing to me, even now. I was never really bullied by other girls - or if I was, it kind of went right over my head *laugh* - but I was marginalized by them. I was shunned because I was far more boyish than any of them.
Recent research into gender study sciences have convinced me that I'm actually bi-gender (both at once! yeesh!) but several of my guy friends insist that I'm not 50/50 - I'm 60/40, with a higher balance of "male" emotions and thought processes than female. Well, I certainly understand men better than I understand women...
But in high school and middle school, the bullying came from guys. (I actually beat two of them up once when they tried to start a fight with me... I'm not sure why they thought I was a good target for picking on.) But the emotional marginalization from girls *and* guys was difficult to deal with.
One of the resources on bullying might actually be "Monster" by Frank Peretti. It's been years since I read it, but it wasn't one of his novels. It was, rather, his autobiography. I read it as a sophomore in college and I remember being moved by it, but that was also the most emotionally tumultuous time in my life, so there's a chance I would've been moved by almost anything.
At any rate, GOOD LUCK, and I'm so jealous that you have the chance at such a cool job! :love: Keep us posted?
09-06-2007, 09:44 PM
I'd love to read this book by Peretti. He also wrote a book called, "No More Victims" about combatting bullying which could also be helpful.
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