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LGBTQ Bullying: Its Effect on Kids and Possible Solutions

"Bullying is killing our kids. Being different is killing our kids, and the kids who are bullying are dying inside. We have to save our kids whether they're bullying or being bullied. They're all in pain" — Cat Cora

 

Children should always feel safe and confident as they learn in school. But sadly, that's not the case for many kids who have to deal with various forms of bullying. The truth is that every child is at risk of being bullied. But LGBTQ kids are more likely to go through the horrors of discrimination than non-LGBTQ children.

If your kid has come out to you, you have a duty to protect them from the name-calling and physical, sexual, or emotional assault they may face. And if your child is non-LGBTQ, ensure they make space for those who are. 

June is pride month — a month set aside to uplift LGBTQ voices and support their rights. So, there's no better time to have this conversation than now. So, let’s get right to it!

 

Top Facts about the LGBTQIA Community and Bullying

 LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual. The term also refers to any sexual orientation that isn't heterosexual. Here are some facts about homophobic bullying that you must know:

  • LGBTQ students report more cyberbullying and physical abuse on playgrounds than straight kids. 

  • 25% of bullied high schoolers and 29% of bullied middle schoolers attempted suicide in 2020.

  • The effects of homophobic bullying are both physical and mental. Physical symptoms include headaches, bruising, weight changes, digestive upset, etc. Bullied LGBTQIA children are also at an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

  • Bullied LGBTQ youths are more at risk of lower grade point averages than students who aren't harassed. 

 

Tackling Religion and Non-Region Based Discrimination Against LGBTQ Kids 

If your religion is against LGBTQIA, realizing that your kid is part of the community can be challenging for you. But you must rise to protect them from the religious stigma they're likely to face.  Here's how:

  • Encourage dialogue and create a safe environment for difficult conversations 

  • Give yourself time to come to terms with their sexual orientation 

  • Protect your child from the opinions of people in your religious circles 

  • Be open-minded and try to learn more about LGBTQ 

  • Say no to conversion theory; that's abusive. LGBTQ kids need to be accepted, not cured.

If you're non-religious, you're more likely to accept your kid coming out as LGBTQIA than religious parents. So, when your child comes out, your primary focus should be protecting them from bullying. You can do this by:

  • Monitoring their social media to protect them from cyberbullying

  • Staying involved with their school and canvassing for inclusive sex education 

  • Watching out for bullying signs like sudden behavioral changes, poor grades, and risk behaviors like drinking, drug use, etc

  • Ensuring that they form healthy relationships and teaching them to cut off toxic friends 

  • Using every opportunity to speak up against LGBTQ bullying and letting your kids know that you love them

Sometimes, you or your partner may have conflicting views about accepting your LGBTQ kids. But regardless, you both must come together as a team to support your child's decision. Know that it's not about you and that your kid's welfare is more important.

Children are smart, and they know when parents are in disagreement. Unfortunately, this can cause them anxiety and complicate the situation. So, while you empathize with your kids, try not to disregard your partner's feelings.

 

These Kids Were Bullied For Identifying as LGBTQIA 

LGBTQIA bullying is a real thing, and these children have witnessed its horrors first-hand:

  • 15-year-old Nigel Shelby of Huntsville, Alabama, died by suicide due to anti-gay bullying 

  • In 2018, 9-year-old Jamel Myles killed himself after enduring gay bullying for a while 

  • Lawrence King, 15, was shot dead in 2008 by his schoolmate for coming out as gay

 

Teach Your Children Tolerance and To Stand Up for Themselves 

"Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself, and then stand up for somebody else." ~Maya Angelou 

Apart from supporting them, your LGBTQ kids must learn to stand up for themselves. You can do this by teaching them assertiveness, boosting their confidence, and survival skills. Ensure that your children speak up and confide in you and their teachers whenever they are bullied.

Also, know that your kids being non-LGBTQIA doesn't mean you have no role to play in preventing bullying. Ensure your child is kind to LQBTQ kids by modeling tolerance through your attitudes. Also, answer their questions about stereotypes and handling differences.

 

Let's Tackle Bullying Together 

Your LGBTQIA kids can handle anything thrown at them if they're sure of your support. So, show them that you love them regardless of their sexual orientation and religious inclinations. 

Also, celebrate pride month by volunteering at a local LGBTQIA community center, educating yourself about LGBTQ, organizing t-shirt design contests, etc.

If you wish to learn more about bullying, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and join our Facebook Group! Also, visit "I'm Just Me Blog" for more informative articles like this one.

 
 

We’ll love to hear your thoughts, personal experiences, and questions concerning LGTBQIA bullying. Your comments may just help another parent.  Please comment below! 

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