Thursday October 14, 2010 | Bullying & Gay Teens

October 12, 2010 at 10:38 am | Posted in Coming Up | 8 Comments

A conversation about bullying and the suicides of five gay youths across the country in just a few weeks. We’ll talk about the mounting reports of anti-gay bullying and student suicides, and what communities, schools and parents can do to prevent bullying and help the students who are being bullied get the help they need and prevent more suicides in the future. We’ll also hear the personal experiences of a local student who self-identifies as “queer.” She recently shared her views on LGBTQ issues as an invited guest at the White House.

Steve Bentley
– Executive Director, Time Out Youth
Laurie Pitts –  Services Director and Counselor, Time Out Youth
Loan Tran
– 15 year old student who self-identifies as “queer”
Deb Kaclik – Director of Art, Health, and Physical Education and Director, PreK – 12 Curriculum Support at CMS. Also heads the Bullying Prevention and Awareness Program at CMS

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  1. Mike:

    Great program. Your guests are right on the mark when speaking about certain political and religious “leaders” who feel all to free to denounce homosexuality as an “abomination” and as a “threat” that is indeed bullying. Many even equate homosexuals to pedophiles.

    Furthermore, when civil institutions deny gay and lesbians from serving in the military, adopting children, being protected in the work place it sends a clear message that we are “the other”. That does real harm.

    In the past couple of years we’ve even seen the right to marriage equality rescinded in several states. Imagine being a citizen of this country and having a civil right not only denied, but rescinded.

    We are moving forward. However it is a real tough road to travel with many along that road wanting not only to stop progress but to turn back the gains made. The greatest fear, I feel, from those who demonize LGBT folk is that people are beginning to accept the idea that it is normal for some people to be wired as a LGBT person.

    Thanks so much for this program.

  2. In most major companies and corporations, harassing workers because they are LGBTQ is considered sexual harassment and will result in dismissal. Most major universities (the UNC system, for example) have an LGBTQ center (even Rutgers prides itself on being an open, accepting place), and harassing fellow students over their sexual orientation is often an honor code violation, grounds for dismissal from the university. And yet in our high schools, there are principals, guidance counselors, and teachers who deny that their school has any LGBTQ students. Indeed, when students approach them in desperate need of help, they often tell them to stop talking, dressing, acting the way they do — “you bring it on yourself.” Why the double standard? Why do we give middle and high school students the right to torture each other when adults cannot?

  3. It is not a GLBTQ issue it is a bullying issue, kids and adults will find your weakness and that is where they will start and if you react it will get worse . Bullying of any kind verbal, physical, or the new way electronically is unacceptable. ( have lots of other words for how I feel about bullying, I am straight but was bullied in highschool in the 70,s, because I was a big and strong but would not defend my self, was called gay fag queer, (I was 6ft weighed 215 cornfeed farmboy strong as a ox just scared to us my strength and good reason first real fight set 2 grown men to hospital.)final word bullying os anykind is wrong

  4. Thank you so much for this show. I don’t have a child who is gay, but my husband and I are both insensed over the inequality for gays and lesbians. Sexual orientation is not yet a federally-protected class, and until that happens, this community will not be afforded the same rights and protections of others in communities, schools, workplaces, and the military. It is a travesty that anyone would think a child would choose to be gay and put themselves through this kind of pain and ostracization. Our hearts go out to students who are bullied or harassed in anw way. Thank you.

  5. I just want to throw in a word about the rest if us in middle school. I was verbally harassed all through middle school–for being a dork.

    That being said, I very much appreciate this conversation. Going further, being gay has difficulties beyond school. Gays’ rights are not equal. Marriage, childrearing, immediate family rights of partners…these are the difficult realities that gay teens have to look forward to after the adolescent/teen bullying stops.

    But maybe, with conversations like these, if we all pay attention and advocate, those teens will get to get legally married. To share custody of their children, and be afforded all the rights as a couple that straight people enjoy.

  6. I think that kids are called to declare a sexual orientation way too early. Maybe some of the bullying over gender role in teens and pre-teens expresses the bully’s own anxiety about the diversity of role and identity making them question who their own identity. I feel for all of these kids who are having to dress and behave a certain way EARLY on to show that they are fitting into society’s boxes. I think this is a magnification of having to declare who we are and choose a box to check in other aspects of being an American (religious and political affiliation).

  7. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a choice; being cruel to people is wrong, period. If someone feels they must object to GLBTs personally, they do not have to abuse them and wreck their lives to hold that personal opinion.

    Yes, it does have to do with religion for many people, or something that passes as religion that doesn’t deserve to be called such. I was told all that garbage while growing up, that treating gay people equally was the same thing as showing approval of homosexuality, and “giving the devil a foot in the door”. It was explained to me that abusing GLBT people was similar to Amish shunning, and was for their own good and the good of society. There were other people in our church who agreed with the principle but who drew the line at depriving anyone of their job, home, or physical safety, but they got treated as questionable themselves.

  8. There may be some religious impact in some cases but ultimately bullying is LEARNED from parents. Kids learn ethics and respect (or lack therof) from their parents. Bullies look for targets and it’s easy for them to target someone they think is gay. It’s also common for kids in schools to call things “gay” all the time – a shirt is “gay”, a movie is “gay”, etc.

    The Harris YMCA has a non-bullying program where they are requiring ALL parents of children in the afterschool program to attend mandatory bullying information session with a local child psychologist.

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