Bullying Towards Queer Youth
An essay exploring what it's like growing up as a queer student in school in America.
Dear next President,
School can be hard for anybody. It’s overwhelming, no matter how old you are. Throughout the year, students focus on making friends, staying close with their family, and keeping up with homework. Imagine struggling with all of this, but in addition, being forced to keep a secret so big, that you worry if you tell anyone they won’t accept you. Imagine that this secret you’re keeping is about you, about who you are, but you know that even the people you trust most will never look at you the same way again. They might even hate you; throw you out of the house, call you horrible names, and never even try to understand what you’re telling them.
This isn’t the case for all kids in the LGBTQ community, but according to the website called No Bullying, “64 percent [of LGBTQ youth] felt unsafe at school due to sexual orientation,” and “44 percent felt unsafe at school due to gender identification.” While this may just seem like numbers on a screen, these are kids. Kids who don’t feel safe in their school because of who they are. They are afraid of what their classmates might do to them because of who they love. Many of these kids feel different from their friends. Like they don’t belong, or that they’re doing something wrong. People still think the LGBT community is a very small part of the population, but according to Out.com, a recent study shows that less than 50% of teenagers identify as straight. And 56% knew at least one person who goes by gender neutral pronouns. This means over 50% of teenagers are either queer, or questioning their identity.
No matter what age you are, it’s never a positive experience to hear people making fun of, or threatening your identity, directly or not. When someone is bullied, physically or verbally, it can easily impact their ability to focus at school, think positively, and stay mentally healthy. According to the Center for Disease Control, “A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7–12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers.” These queer teens aren’t just being harassed in their place of learning. They feel isolated, rejected, and discriminated against by their classmates and even their parents. Students who aren’t accepted, and are being bullied tend to miss more school, and understandably do worse in academics. Bullying causes students to lack focus, not develop complete social skills, and become less accepted by peers.
There are a lot of problems that the LGBT community have to deal with such as bullying, rejection, and ignorance. It may seem like there’s nothing you can do to help, but there is so much you can do. Many students feel like they are alone, or broken, or that they will never be welcomed. Surprisingly, the major issue here is ignorance. Ignorance from both children and adults. This lack of education can result in the LGBTQ youth to mocked or even thrown out of their home. People tend to form an opinion about queer youth with little information. They think we can choose who we are when we can’t. They think hatred is the way to “solve” this, when acceptance and love is the only answer. The only way to get rid of this ignorance is through education. All of these hateful people think this way because they think it is a choice, or the community is just looking for attention, when out sexualities are biological. Nobody can help who they love, but not everybody understands this.For the youth, it is so important for them to know, They are not broken, they are not alone, and they are welcomed by so many people. It is you duty to tell them that they are loved and accepted by so many, even if it’s not by the people around them. That we are not different because of who we love. You need to find a way to express this in a way that we will see, and in a way that it will make our lives better. Whether it’s through supporting organizations, or publicly talking about it. You have the power to make our lives so much better.
Thank you for your time