Gay Bullying and Gay Teen Suicide
What is the cause of Bullying Gay Teens and what are the consequences?
Something that has become a serious issue and a very sad reality is the bullying of gay teens and the increase in gay teenage suicides related to the bullying. The question and stereotypes that come up when you think about why gay teens may be more prone to suicide than regular teens or that they may just be sissies may seem true at first, but when you compare the way kids and gay teens are bullied now to the way kids were bullied in the 90's and even back to the 50's and 60's its an entirely different type and way of bullying.
The first thing that I want to say is that bullying people because they are gay is wrong. Gay teens are no more sissies than anyone else. In fact they are probably some of the toughest people around. They not only have to deal with the stress of high school that heterosexual teens deal with but they also have to deal with constant fear of not only being outted to their families who may throw them out, disown them or worse, but they have to worry about being attacked and harmed physically just because they are gay. So what could cause the gay bullying and why is it possibly worse or causing more gay teen suicides than we had seen in previous years? Lets think about it.
When you turn on TV you find numerous shows like Glee or Will and Grace or even some cartoons and there are gay characters. The characters are bullied sometimes but they also help to teach tolerance. Unfortunately even though some TV shows effect people's minds and opinions, tv shows like the ones above haven't helped to make gay teens feel more accepted in their schools. In fact it could be the Bully's own homelives that create the issues.
Some parents are not gay friendly or don't educate their kids on gay teens being the same as their kids and why it isn't ok to pick on someone for being gay. Being gay isn't something that people choose, it is the way that people are born. Just like with black people or asian people or women vs. men, you shouldn't pick on someone because they are gay or straight. Education and tolerance need to start at home and parents need to teach their kids to be tolerant of everyone, regardless of sex, gender or race. The next place where people need to step in is in the actual schools.
Teachers and educators often turn their back on teenagers who are being bullied. It seems like if the people bullying the gay teens are the jocks, the cheerleaders and the cool kids, they can pretty much get away with whatever they want. Sure this sounds a bit harsh but wasn't this the case when you were in high school? If you weren't one of the popular kids didn't you watch as they would get away with murder and be able to pick on whomever they wanted to. The difference is that when we were all kids all we had to worry about was some name calling, our picture being drawn on in the yearbook and maybe getting beaten up once or twice after school. Sure it wasn't fun but at least most of us could live through it and when high school was over and we would go off to college it would all be over and we could move on with our lives. It sort of made us stronger, so why is it so much more difficult for gay teens now a days when you have all of these popular shows in the mainstream media making gay people good and gay people being more and more accepted? It is about technology and how it has advanced so much that there is no escape, privacy or time where you are not being bullied.
Teens now are hiding video cameras in each others rooms and in locker rooms. They are uploading videos online and texting nasty pictures of each other to everyone they know. They are placing nasty messages about people in public places and unlike in the 90's and 50's and 60's you cannot erase those messages like you could wash a bathroom wall or cause a rumor to die. Instead these messages may be live and stuck around forever. When we were kids we would go home and not have to hear about the nasty rumors people were spreading. Teens now have to go home an sign online only to watch these rumors continue to spread and sometimes get worse online on sites like Facebook and Twitter and also have to worry about their families and other friends finding out.
When we were kids if we were going to be outted or our parents were going to find something out we would be able to hurry home and erase the message on our answering machine before they could hear it. This would give us time to prepare for it and to be able to tell our parents our way to make it easier. For gay teens it would also give us time to set up a place to be able to escape to in case we would get thrown out or disowned and needed to give our parents some time think. Now kids have to deal with their parents knowing instantly via the internet or texting and not to mention your entire family. Coming out is stressful enough but to have other people do it for you is even worse and to have it happen because someone spied on you and took a nasty video and posted it publicly, that is almost impossible to get over, especially if you have no support group set up.
So what can you do if you have a gay teen and you think that he or she is being bullied?
You can talk to your teen and make sure they know they are loved regardless and that after high school they will get to go to college where the bullying because they are gay stops. You can talk to your local churches and see if they can set up a support group or after school tolerance program. You can find a local chapter of your own Gay and Lesbian Community Center or PFLAG for advice on being a parent of gay children and you can also talk to your gay teen's best friends to find out if anything is happening that they should be concerned with. Finding out and helping your gay teen copy with bullying in the beginning may help to prevent them from progressing to the point where they want to take their own lives. Gay teen suicide from teenage bullying is on the rise and needs to stop now. There are lots of ideas on helping to prevent gay teen bullying and even more important there are certain things you can do to help your gay teen deal with thoughts of suicide.