GLBT teen suicide
Unfortunately, homophobia is still prevalent in many areas of the world. And it is still an issue here in the U.S. The definition of phobia is ‘fear of’. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary the word first appeared in 1786. The definition is: “fear, horror, aversion,” Modern Latin, abstracted from compounds in -phobia, from Gk. -phobia (in widespread popular use with native words from c.1800), from phobos “fear,” originally “flight” (still the only sense in Homer), but it became the common word for “fear” via the notion of “panic, fright” (cf. phobein “put to flight, frighten”), from PIE root *bhegw- “to run” (cf. Lith. begu “to flee,” O.C.S. begu “flight,” bezati “to flee, run,” O.N. bekkr “a stream”). Psychological sense attested by 1895.
In the U.S., homophobia gained momentum in the late 1940′s and 1950′s when gay people were forced out of government. The Lavender Scare, was often seen in the same light as the communist Red Scare. “…Both groups were perceived as hidden subcultures with their own meeting places, literature, cultural codes, and bonds of loyalty. Both groups were thought to recruit to their ranks the psychologically weak or disturbed. And both groups were considered immoral and godless. Many people believed that the two groups were working together to undermine the government.”
This kind of thinking leads to homophobia, which can lead to violence. Violence leads to gay bashing and bullying.
U.S. students hear the slurs ‘sissy’, ‘homo’, ‘faggot’ on the average of 26 times a day, or once every 14 minutes. I was shocked to read that GLB youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (0ver a third). Almost 50% of transgender youth have seriously considered taking their own lives.
Here are some cold, hard facts about gay bashing and bullying listed on the Trevor Project website:
- Nine out of 10 LGBT students (86.2%) experienced harassment at school; three-fifths (60.8%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; and about one-third (32.7%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe (GLSEN National School Climate Survey 2009).
- LGBT students are three times as likely as non-LGBT students to say that they do not feel safe at school (22% vs. 7%) and 90% of LGBT students (vs. 62% of non-LGBT teens) have been harassed or assaulted during the past year. (GLSEN From Teasing to Torment 2006)
- Sexual minority youth, or teens that identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, are bullied two to three times more than heterosexuals. (Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH 2010)
- Almost all transgender students had been verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened in the past year at school because of their sexual orientation (89%) and gender expression (89%) (GLSEN: Harsh Realities, The Experiences of Transgender Youth In Our Nation’s Schools 2009).
- LGBT youth in rural communities and those with lower adult educational attainment face particularly hostile school climates (JG, Greytak EA, Diaz EM – Journal of Youth & Adolescence 2009)
- Lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents are 190 percent more likely to use drugs and alcohol than are heterosexual teens (Marshal MP, Friedman MS, et al – Addiction 2008).
- It is estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (2006 National Gay & Lesbian Task Force: An Epidemic of Homelessness). 62% of homeless LGB youth will attempt suicide at least once—more than two times as many as their heterosexual peers (Van Leeuwen JMm et al – Child Welfare 2005)
Here are a few projects and organizations worth looking into:
It Gets Better - formed in response to the suicides of teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because their peers suspected that they were gay. Its goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults convey the message through YouTube vidoes that these teens’ lives will improve.
The Trevor Project - The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
Gay-Straight Alliance Network - Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a youth leadership organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources through peer support, leadership development, and training.
Thank you for visiting my blog and supporting this hop. I’m giving away one digital copy of Out Of Bounds – a m/m romance and coming out story that also deals with homophobia. Just leave a comment and tell me your thoughts on this issue. If you want two chances too win, then you can be entered twice by also subscribing to my blog or FB. If the winner already read the book, then the winner can choose from my backlist. It will be a random drawing. The give-away ends May 20th. I’ll announce the winner on my blog in a seperate post and also send the winner an email.
Link back to the blog hop main page – http://www.hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com