Over the last few months, as more and more LGBTQ—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
questioning—youth came forward to shed light on their experiences being bullied
and singled out for their sexual identity, the public pointed the finger
largely at their peers. A recent study by Yale University researchers,
shows that notoriously nasty teens aren’t the only ones to blame.
According to the survey, which followed nearly 15,000 teens
through middle and high school, those who identified as lesbian, gay or
bisexual were more frequently punished than their “straight” peers. Even though
LGB youth statistically engage in fewer violent acts, they are 40 percent more
likely than other teens to be singled out by school authorities, police and the
Girls bear the brunt of this treatment. Whether they
identify as lesbian or bisexual, they seem to be called out for punishment—and
punished more severely—than straight females who exhibit the same behavior.
This study is the first time we’ve ever had statistical
evidence that the authority figures who ought to be protecting struggling and
often victimized tweens and teens are actually punishing them simply because of
What can you do?
- Stop the bullying. If you see others bullying anyone, LGBTQ or not, take a stand.
- Be a friend. Now more than ever, bullied tweens and teens
need the support of their peers as they affirm their identities, whatever they
may be. Whether or not you agree with their choices, you can always be a
- Report bad behavior. Whether it’s the class bully or your
science teacher, no one should get away with picking on someone else. Snide
remarks, emotional and physical harassment and abuse—it should all be reported.
Talk to a school counselor or your principal. If they won’t listen, talk to
your parents and go public about the bullying and unequal treatment.
- Raise awareness. Start a Gay-Straight alliance at your
school, or join one already in operation.
What do you think of the findings of this new study, girls?