Bullying is an extremely complicated — and emotional topic. There is some conflicting evidence out there and it is hard to figure out what is really true about bullying. This article helps us understand some of the science and research behind bullying. This includes that those who are bullied are at higher risk for mental health problems, including suicide. And, those from minority groups such as LGBTQ youth, youth with disabilities, and from racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to be bullied. While there has been some backlash to the topic of bullying, it is important to not lose sight of the very real and horrible impact that severe and chronic bullying can have upon youth who are already made vulnerable through being part of a targeted group. Read more at Oxford Univerisity Press’s article Youth suicide and bullying: what’s the connection?
A new study from New York University entitled “The Effect of Negative School Climate on Academic Outcomes for LGBT Youth and the Role of In-School Supports shows what many of us suspected: That LGBT students have better grades, attend school more and have better self esteem when the school climate is better. As Journalists Resource reports, the aspect that most predicted positive, healthy outcomes for LGBT youth in schools were supportive teachers and administrators. Other predictors of good outcomes were having access to a Gay-Straight Alliance, and a curriculum that included positive images of LGBT people.
This study helps us connect that school bullying and harassment of LGBT youth has a far reaching impact: lower GPAs and absenteeism might decrease a student’s chances of getting into a college they want or getting a job that suits them. It is important for our schools to be safe places for all students to learn, socialize and grow.
Read the full article here.
So often I speak with teachers, therapists, and other allies who want to be of assistance but are stymied by the terminology — especially about the difference between gender and sexual orientation. They’re often practically desperate to ask about these things so they can interact with LGBTQ folks in a helpful way, or at least without being offensive!
Language around issues of gender and sexuality can have real impact. Many times people stifle conversation for fear of saying the wrong thing.
Caryn B. Oppenheim, with support from Safe Schools Coalition, has produced a great new guide that can help teachers, schools, gay straight-alliances, college groups and many others answer some of these questions and problems. With sections on “Fluidity, Categorization, and Vocabulary”, “Coming Out”, “Language and Homophobia”, “Intersections of Identity”, “Testimonies” and “International Perspectives” it should really help you feel more “in the know” as you work in your community. Whether you’re a parent, trying to help your child’s school get more educated about LGBTQ issues, or a gay therapist new to the terminology around gender, this guide will go a long way toward creating some shared language — maybe helping us all understand a little more.