By Skyler Wolfe
Cougar News Blog
Statistics show that 5-9 percent of teens identify as gay, lesbian, or uncertain. Seventy-eight percent of these students are teased or bullied about being gay. While teens have become more open-minded, bullying about students’ sexuality is still a problem.
There are people at CCJH that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, etc. who are or have been bullied and are scared to talk openly about their sexuality. Teens become isolated and face a large amount harassment and violence. An eighth grade student who identifies as lesbian, talked about her experience about dealing with her sexuality.
“I tried dating the other gender but I could not go through with it because it did not feel right. People who identify as a different sexuality or a different gender should be treated the same ,” she said. “Because we are all the same we do the same things the only thing that is different is that we identify differently.”
Students have long been being treated differently for their sexuality. This problem may be caused because the person who is victimising them may be because they do not understand why the person is like that and cannot change their sexuality. Bullying and harassment has become such a big problem in students’ mental health that it can cause anxiety, depression, relationship problems, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
“As many as 93 percent of students hear derogatory words about sexual orientation at least once in awhile, with more than half of teens surveyed hearing such words every day at school and in the community,” said Jane Riese in her article “Youth Who Are Bullied Based upon Perceptions
About Their Sexual Orientation.”
Twenty-two percent of students skip school for safety concerns and are three times more likely to drop out of school. Teens bullied about their sexual orientation are three times more likely to commit suicide and 30 percent are having suicidal thoughts. In 2003, a study was done and showed that 12 percent of gay students 12-18-years-old have had hate related words toward them, 1 percent of those words have been about their sexuality.
A study done in the 1970 concluded that being gay was no longer considered a disorder and that one’s sexuality is not a choice and cannot be changed. Even though this study was done, being gay was still looked down upon. Even though this generation has become more understanding and gay people have more privileges, OK okay to make fun of me for it, I just let it go. It’s my life not theirs, they can’t tell me what’s right and wrong with me,” said another eighth grader who identifies as bisexual.
Someone’s sexuality does not determine who they are as a person. Teens are struggling to deal with their sexuality and they are being bullied and harassed in school and their community, which are places they should feel safe. Students who are gay are struggling in their everyday lives and should not be judged on their personal preference, especially since they are so young. Teens being bullied about their sexual orientation is more of a problem than it should be.
Editor’s Note: This article is the opinion of the Cougar News Blog writer Skyler Wolfe. It is the first in a series of stories about serious issues such as depression, eating disorders, and women’s rights.