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Sat Nov 10, 2012, 04:17 PM

WHERE BULLIES ARE BORN: The bullying language of adults teaches a horrible lesson to both straight

and gay teens.

Where Bullies Are Born

I've brushed off gay-related references by the hosts, some funny, some not so funny, all the while convincing myself they're not homophobic at heart. Recently, though, when they unceremoniously and humorlessly referred to Fox News anchor Shepard Smith a ''burglar,'' the moment struck me as one that must be profoundly galvanizing for straight and gay teens alike.

This schoolyard taunt for being gay didn't come in a vacuum; it came on the heels of bullied gay teens shooting themselves in the heads in their parents' closets and hanging themselves from trees in their families' backyards. It came as society is attempting to connect the dots between words and actions in the land mine-ridden journey teens must navigate.

To our straight teens, the message is permissive: ''See, even we adults subtly bully, so go ahead, your gay peers are faggots, flamers, homos, burglars, and they're fair game.'' Almost as if authorized, they go to school and treat their gay equals as anything but, because that's what's done by the adults in whom they place their greatest respect.

[b]Effortlessly delivered comments meant to belittle, ones made by coaches, parents, teachers, athletes, and, yes, sports radio show hosts, set in motion what happens with straight and gay teens in that dark area between words and actions.

Think Before You Speak

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens in the U.S. experience homophobic remarks and harassment throughout the school day, creating an atmosphere where they feel disrespected, unwanted and unsafe. GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey found that three-quarters of LGBT teens hear slurs such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school, and nine in ten report hearing anti-LGBT language frequently or often. Homophobic remarks such as “that’s so gay” are the most commonly heard type of biased remarks at school. Research shows that these slurs are often unintentional and are a part of teens’ vernacular. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt harassment.

Studies indicate that students who regularly experience verbal and non-verbal forms of harassment suffer from emotional turmoil, low self-esteem, loneliness, depression, poor academic achievement and high rates of absenteeism. Research also shows that many of the bystanders to acts of harassment experience feelings of helplessness and powerlessness, and develop poor coping and problem-solving skills. Clearly, homophobic and all types of harassment—and the toxic effects they produce—are whole school problems that all educators must confront.

To address this disconcerting reality, GLSEN, together with The Ad Council, has created the first national multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to address the use of anti-LGBT language among teens. The campaign aims to raise awareness among straight teens about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavior in America’s schools. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce and prevent the use of homophobic language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBT teens. The campaign also aims to reach adults, including school personnel and parents, because their support of this message is crucial to the success of efforts to change behavior among the target age group.

Educators Guide(pdf)

For example, gender-nonconforming and LGBT youths hear anti-gay slurs an average of 26 times a day

Homophobia in Schools Report Finds It's Getting Better

In one of the youngest cases, 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover hanged himself with an extension cord in 2009 after school bullies repeatedly called him "gay." His mother, Sirdeaner L. Walker of Springfield, Mass., now sits on GLSEN's board of directors.

Its 2011 National School Climate Survey finds that use of anti-gay language has continued to decline and, for the first time, victimization of students based on sexual orientation has begun to drop.

In 2001, when there was, according to Byard, "a sea of disrespect," an estimated 84.3 percent of students said they heard daily use of words like "faggot" and "dyke." Today, that number has dropped to 71.2 percent. After hitting a spike in the expression, "That's so gay," in 2007, usage began to drop, in part because of a GLSEN campaign with the Ad Council that was launched in the fall of 2008.

"My first day of high school at orientation, one of the freshmen called the other kid a 'faggot,'" Stein said. "The teacher snapped at him and went off, 'You will never say that again in my classroom or in the school,or I will make sure you are reprimanded appropriately.' That was a powerful experience for me that a teacher didn't tolerate that kind of language."


Amplify Your Voice (Resource)

Position Statement Regarding the Impact of Bullying and Harassment on Gender Non-Conforming and LGBT Youth

The American Psychoanalytic Association condemns bullying in our schools, playgrounds, youth organizations, and communities and endorses education and programs to protect our youth. Gender-nonconforming and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are especially vulnerable targets of bullying. ]For example, gender-nonconforming and LGBT youths hear anti-gay slurs an average of 26 times a day1. Seventy-eight percent of gay or perceived gay youth are teased or bullied in their schools and communities2,3, with thirty-one percent of LGBT youth having been threatened or injured at school in the past year4. This is significantly higher than for their peers. Sadly, four out of five LGBT students say they know of no supportive adult at school5. As professionals devoted to listening to and fully appreciating each individual’s unique story, psychoanalysts are exquisitely aware of the importance of the positive regard of others to help each person reach full potential. We are also aware of the emotional pain and destructive power of invalidation of core identity and the innate human need for love and friendship. Thus, we feel compelled to speak for this vulnerable population.


I did an experiment Meta yesterday. I alerted on 5 posts (that's more than all the posts I previously had ever alerted on, I believe). Four of the posts contained offensive homophobic slurs/language, and one was a sexist slur directed at a woman in another group.

None of the posts were hidden; there were two 3-3 ties, two 4-2 ties, and one 6-0 not to hide.

What many seem to fail to understand is this: It is the perpetuation and adamant advocacy of the perpetuation of using bullying slurs that we mainly see here at DU. They don't realize that we wish to stop commonly using slurs in most every context in order to remove them from usage, as a device that is part of a whole universal effort to curtail bullying as much as we possibly can.

That is a primary direct reason for this post.

My cumulative distress at the continued insistence by some DUers on using slurs that contribute to mass suffering and an alarming rate of suicide among young people, and the repeated refusal of juries to hide these slurs that are so frequently used by both adults and children to bully others, and , is another factor for me posting this.

Although I am grateful to our progressive allies who recognize the reasons why so many of us want to eliminate the bullying language of hatred that causes so much harm, suffering and even suicide among young people, I am deeply disturbed by this other group that does not seem to care about the harm this language continues to inflict upon young people.

I am sickened, and my heart is sad, that some here, (some visibly, some secretly) would repeatedly and adamantly advocate for continuing to use words that have been proven, over and over and over, to be factors in causing suffering and death to so many people, even children.

IMO, the DU jury system is an epic failure, primarily because its basic construction allows for the secret, anonymous expression of hatred and bigotry. It's rapidly becoming a Lord of the Flies type of system. The LGBT community, and the Feminist community, are easily victimized by homophobes and misogynists serving on juries, and there is nothing we can do about it.

I will be taking a break from DU soon after posting this. My jury experiences, and some other experiences, from yesterday on DU have cofused me about this online DU community that I love, and have been a part of for over 9 years. It is my personal opinion that our DU tent has possibly become too large, and,other than within our safe haven groups, there no longer seems to be any way that the LGBT Community, and the Feminist Community, can adequately protect ourselves from deliberate, and non-deliberate ignorance based, attacks by conservative trolls, homophobes, misogynists, and chronic, ignorance based culturally institutionalized insults and bigotry.

peace, love, equality, justice


Mitakuye Oyasin

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Reply WHERE BULLIES ARE BORN: The bullying language of adults teaches a horrible lesson to both straight (Original post)
Zorra Nov 2012 OP
William769 Nov 2012 #1
Vanje Nov 2012 #2

Response to Zorra (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 04:53 PM

1. Don't let them get you down. Yes there are many assholes

But we have gotten very good at taken them to task especially one in particular.

Without your bright shining face here, the sun will shine less.

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Response to Zorra (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 07:19 PM

2. Kick'n it

You can say a lot on DU , but if you call a troll , a troll. it will not stand.
Thank goodness some principles are adhered to.

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