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LGBT Bullying Statistics

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

Most sources agree that the LGBT population is more likely to become the target of bullying than the heterosexual population. This lesson will provide information about LGBT bullying as well as some statistics.

Being Gay and Being Bullied

Since a young age, John found himself to be different from other boys around him. As he grew into his teen years he was more preoccupied with fashion and art rather than girls and sports. In middle school, John was taunted for being girl-like, called all sorts of names, and identified by his peers as gay. John endured these taunts in silence for almost a year before he finally spoke up and told his parents. His parents contacted the school and measures were taken to ensure John's bullies would receive appropriate punitive consequences.

John was one of the lucky ones. Bullying cases often don't have happy endings. Such was the case for Tyrone Unsworth, a 13-year-old Australian boy. Tyrone was bullied so relentlessly for being gay, that he took his own life in November of 2016.

Bullying and the LGBT Community

While bullying can occur at any age, and in any venue, it tends to be experienced most amongst those in middle and high school, gradually tapering off as teens move into adulthood. This makes teenagers who identify as LGBT especially vulnerable.

Research studies consistently show that individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT), are subjected to bullying approximately 75% more often than those who are heterosexual. Bullying takes place when a person or group of people directs hostility and aggression toward another person or group who they perceive as being inferior or weaker in one way or another. Bullying can take place in a number of different ways such as:

  • Calling people names such as gay, lesbo, and queer
  • Preventing people from entering social circles by ostracizing them
  • Directly engaging in a physical attack or assault

Cyberbullying

In addition to the ways described above, advances in technology have created a new outlet for bullying. This type of bullying is referred to as cyberbullying and it involves bullying that takes place utilizing technological devices. The following are some tools used by those who cyberbully:

  • Sending derogatory text messages
  • Using social media websites to expose someone as LGBT
  • Sending email messages to harass someone

Cyberbullying differs from bullying because it can literally take place at any time of the day or night, and cyberbullies can find ways to use an assumed identity to keep themselves anonymous. Information that is sent out electronically is also very difficult to retrieve or remove once it has entered cyberspace, which makes the impact of cyberbullying potentially long-lasting and in some cases even permanent.

LGBT Bullying Statistics

Let's take a look at some of the statistics related to members of the LGBT community who experience bullying:

  • Over 40% of LGBT youth have been subjected to cyberbullying
  • LGBT youth are about three times more likely than heterosexual youth to attempt suicide
  • More than 25% of LGBT youth who are bullied stop attending school
  • LGBT youth are more likely to engage in risky and questionable behaviors (i.e. abusing drugs or alcohol, running away from home, etc.)

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