Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia
“You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!” John Lennon
Cyber bullying is now part of our vocabulary. It’s a disturbing trend that is not going away any time soon. Here are some alarming statistics from the i-SAFE foundation:
1. Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
2. More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online.
3. Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
4. Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.
With the advent of social media, people can take on another identity; connect with thousands without showing their faces to the world. The statistics of face to face bullying has declined, while cyber bullying has increased. It’s terribly easy to bully someone when there is no accountability. Further disturbing is about 9 out of 10 LGBT teens have been the victims of cyber bullying.
I was bullied in grammar school. It was a girl. She taunted me in the halls and threatened to fight with me. I was terrified and too ashamed to say anything, until I developed stomach ulcers and finally confessed what was happening to me in school. The reason this girl bullied me…she liked me and thought I didn’t like her. I don’t know if there was more to the ‘liking me’ or not. I was too naive as a kid, and maybe I had said something to her, or looked at her the wrong way. It lasted a only a few months, but it gave me a taste of how terrifying it is to be bullied. I couldn’t imagine having to go through something like this throughout my school years. And, if it had been today, with Tumblr and social media, I hate to think what she could have posted about me. I was a pretty sensitive kid, and I know cyber bullying would have crushed me at that age.
No child should be subjected to humiliation and fear because of their sexual identity or because they are ‘different’. No child, period.
That’s why I am a believer in the work of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, a national youth leadership organization. The focus of GSA is providing a safe environment in school for LGBT teens.
Their mission statement:
Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a national youth leadership organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources through peer support, leadership development, and training.
GSA Network supports young people in starting, strengthening, and sustaining GSAs and builds the capacity of GSAs to:
1. Create safe environments in schools for students to support each other and learn about homophobia, transphobia, and other oppression.
2. Educate the school community about homophobia, transphobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues, and fight discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.
3. Fight discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.
To read more about GSA: http://www.gsanetwork.org/about-us
To read more about bullying: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/gay-bullying-statistics.html
**Leave a comment about the disturbing trend of cyber bullying or experiences you might have had related to bullying. I will choose one commenter and donate $50.00 to the GSA Alliance in the commenter’s name, and send the winner one digital copy of Out Of Bounds, a coming-out story that addresses the issue of homophobia.**
May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and the reason why this blog’s start date is May 17 – to read more about this day, here is their link: http://dayagainsthomophobia.org/
Thank you for your support!
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John Reeder can’t control his attraction to the sexy Italian baker. But as addictive as the sex is, John can’t overcome his fear of rejection for being gay, and open his heart to a man with so many secrets.
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