Gay Minnesota teens report rampant school harassment

Categories: GLBT

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Given the the vehemence with which anti-gay activists oppose anti-bullying measures in our schools, the results of a new survey hardly sound surprising: Straight Minnesota teenagers think it's fine to bully their LGBT classmates.

What's worse, some teachers are leading the way with homophobic remarks.

The National School Climate Survey published by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network found that a fifth of gay Minnesota teens reported being physically harassed, and four out of five say said they were verbally assaulted, in 2009. That's the latest year for which statistics are available.

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Most of the kids surveyed said they could identify at least one teacher or school staff member in which they felt safe to confide. But the survey also found that 14 percent of the kids said they heard teachers bandying around homophobic comments like "dyke," and "fag."

Only about a third attended a school with a comprehensive bullying/harassment policy that included specific protections based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The saddest part: Most kids who reported being bullied didn't consider it worth their time to tell teachers or staff. And of the kids who did report being bullied, most said nothing changed after reporting the incident.

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Jane Olmsted
Jane Olmsted

Neutrality? Neutrality is a way to permit what's wrong. I am sick to hear about this, but not entirely surprised. My three boys attended middle school in Champlin in the early 1990s and although none were gay, one was harassed to the point of antidepressants. I HATED the way the boys in the neighborhood baited each other, and all the administration would say was "If they can make it through middle school, high school will be better." Apparently not. I urge people to be clear that sexuality is not a neutral issue. Protect the young. No matter what people may think about gay rights, surely NO ONE wants to see pre-teens and teens driven to the point of death from what could have been prevented with a little kindness (and institutional insistence of respect).

Jonathan in Duluth, MN
Jonathan in Duluth, MN

It's 2011.  I came out at 15, in 1990, told I would either die of AIDS or suicide.  Today, I no longer believe that, but I can say definitely that I could have died of loneliness, anger, lack of healthy contact with other gay people; never once did I expect to have hardly met anyone (at all) during all this time.  I'm saying this because when I came out, I physically had to go out and meet other gay people.  Today, gay people (not just youth) aren't coming out at all - rather they are hiding online, living a false life, with no intentions of ever getting out there and socializing.  As frightening as it was for me at a young age, I am so glad I developed the social skills I did to be around other gay people.  I had other gay people looking out for me, who I KNEW were there, and that meant alot.  I feel that gay people today do not care about other gay people at all, because they sit at home behind locked doors and pulled blinds likely passing by these other gay people they talk to online everyday in real life, yet do nothing to stop the homophobic comments, say nothing to calm a suicidal person in crisis, have no hand held out for a scared gay person with nowhere to call home.  Gay people truly don't give a shit about the health and lives of other gays.  We did a great job with that when HIV/AIDS began; no other community would have knowingly (and irresponsibly) infected each other the way we did.  We didn't even ask for names - nor were we honest about HIV status.  The other guy doesn't care.  He thinks you're a stupid queen just like straight people do. 

Bottom line: this 'it gets better' shit is just that - bullshit.  Gay people don't care what happens to you.  YOU have to care what happens to YOU.  Gay marriage is great if you can find someone to marry.  The other 95% of the gay population who will never find anyone to enjoy this with must understand what our lives will entail - rather than fight for gay marriage that will benefit typically affluent gay couples (who don't want anything to do with the community) gay people MUST become smart about finances, housing, employment, education, health, and aging.  Most of us will have no partner and no kids to help us when those days arrive.  We will be the first few generations of gays to become 'elderly', as HIV is now on the shoulders of other groups of people since gay men largely know how to protect themselves and each other for the most part. 

I really don't know what to say about the bullying.  I felt like that was a very hopeless time in my life, except for after I came out and found that the gay community was as rejecting and cold as the society I wanted to badly to escape from.  Imagine having nowhere to fit in.  What I did was take post-secondary classes at a community college, and since I kept my grades up, I was able to sidestep those last two years of high school while getting college (and high school) credit.  I strongly suggest this to anyone having problems in high school.  Please don't quit.  You are moving towards a future where it's going to be expected you have a masters' degree.  If you can get these first two years completed at community college while still in high school (and it's free!) - DO IT!  You'll find a much better atmosphere as well.  As alone of a picture that I paint for you, please don't take my dry humor seriously.  Yes, it's lonely.  It's depressing sometimes.  But my family is so supportive and if you don't have that, please hang in there...so many of my friends parents DID come around.  So much will change for the better, believe that, but also know that this is not an easy life.  Let me say that again.  Being openly gay, unapologetic, telling both the bitchy gay people and the Jesus-freak str8 people to f*ck off isn't always easy, but you will wear that as a badge of honor.  And you'll be a better person for it.  You will be someone's role model someday.  I promise you. 

-Someone who was once exactly where you are now, who didn't see any light, but eventually found it (and lives in Duluth! It DOES get better in just about any city)

Zeroisanumber
Zeroisanumber

I thought that it was already assumed that gay teens were harassed. Isn't that the point of all the media attention that bullied kids are getting?

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

See, us conservatives also need special protections. I feel harassed by liberals everyday.

Gays DO NO WANT EQUALITY!

You can't have special protection laws, and claim you're only asking to be equal.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

I'm glad when children are dying you find its a good time to pretend to be a victim.   It shouldn't be a partisan issue when kids are dying.   If you are a human being you should want to make sure children have every chance in the world to become fully developed healthy adults no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.      It's just awful how hateful and mean right wingers are.   It's sad how Republicans have way more Bradlee Dean in their hearts than Jesus Christ.   

Jason
Jason

Kirk just continues to burn you boneheads!  I normally just sit back and laugh, but you people, opposing kirk just because he's kirk, are making yourselves look stupid.Look at what he has said.  With that reasoning, you can't argue with him.  He's right.  kirk has said the obvious.  Equal is equal.  Getting extra shit, of any form, that others cannot, is discrimination.  

zerofor
zerofor

Maybe you'd feel less harassed if you spent less time as an internet troll. And why do conservatives need special protections if you keep saying you're the majority? And where's your proof that gays want special treatment? Make sense or calm down.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Why would YOU argue with "conservatives getting special protections"?I thought, per liberals, this was a blue state, thus making "conservatives" minorities.Are you admitting the liberals have been lying about MN being a blue state?What about all those polls, that show majority public liberal support.Are those polls all fake.What do you think.

Isn't the purpose of the liberal agenda, to give everyone of a "group" or "class" or "race" or "gender" something special that others don't get.  (bigotry in it's finest)And then they call it "measures to support equality"What is"equal" about giving someone, something, that another CAN NOT GET?

Gays don't want "EQUALITY" because they wish to have special criminal laws that apply to only them.  Harassment is harassment right?  Gays don't want "EQUALITY" because they wish to have special employment laws that apply to only them with special punishments and civil lawsuits.Gays don't want "EQUALITY" because they wish to have special events just for them. (kinda like the KKK)  If you show up and disagree with their message, you will be harassed by them. And here is the kicker; they cant be charged with a "hate crime" against a heterosexual, even if a group of them beat a heterosexual. How does that work? Doesn't sound very "equal"Am I starting to make "sense"?

"All we want is equality" Their own requests for "something special" prove otherwise...

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