Why Am I Being Bullied?
You are not alone, for it has been estimated that 3% of all students are Gay, another 10% are Transgendered in some way, and a great many (but unknown percent) are Bi-sexual. That works out to more than 56,200,000 in the U.S. alone. The GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered) populace however, is not the majority. Therefore people that fall into these categories are referred to as sexual minorities.
Being of a minority can have it's disadvantages which might include harassment, unequal status in the eyes of some of the majority, and bullying, in particular. These are but a few examples of prejudices that may exist for you along the way. You need to know that if your minority tendencies become known by other people, at school or at work, you will be at high risk of being assaulted for just being different, and not in the majority.
In the past, there was virtually no protection for anyone being bullied, or worse, even at school. It was felt that bullying was actually part of a young person’s own responsibility; they needed to learn how to cope with it. Please, do not take this lightly, as the schools are just now putting programs in place for your protection. You cannot count on them yet. If you are working, your employer may not have any program at all that would protect you against being fired or from another employee bullying you.
Laws are changing, schools are adopting new policies and are starting to recognize new moral and ethical standards. Some employers are beginning to adopt new policies regarding sexual minorities. But keep in mind, these things are not all in place as yet.
There are new standards being developed, redefined moral responsibilities, and ethical and legal obligations to provide for equality in schools and else where. It is unfortunate however, true equality is not practiced by everyone, nor everywhere.
Schools must provide for equal access to education and protection and to preclude prejudice and discrimination. You may not be denied your basic rights under the constitution, and you have a right to a public education without disruption due to non-conformity to the majority.
It should be apparent that if you expose your sexual preferences, you possibly will be subject to ridicule and mistreatment by other students. Even though this is morally and ethically wrong, some will have a puritanical mentality that they, and only they, are right, strengthened by a majorities biased opinion. Keep in mind that your focus should not be for survival, but on education.
A very close relationship with your school counselor is in your best interest. You need to go to your school counselor and fully explain your situation. Be totally honest about everything; your counselor, and others of the staff, will then have the responsibility to deal with others and provide for your protection, in addition to the path for your education. Just keep in mind that other people can be cruel, selfish and uncaring, but it will not be the staff of your school. They are your support; it is required of them.
You, however, need to know about yourself; gather as much knowledge as you can. Read everything you can find that pertains to you.
Schools are limited as to what they can do and how far they can reach. You will not be spending 24 hours a day in school, and what you say and do in and out of school will have a great bearing on how people treat you. You must also understand that to be what you are, can be offensive to some people. You must proceed in life carefully so that you will not fall victim to hate crimes and discrimination.
Problems you may experience at times may seem very severe. But problems are controllable, and can be corrected, for as long as you live. As terrible as it is, the fact remains that the suicide rate for sexual minorities is very high. It is reportedly that these rates are three times higher than the general population. But there is help for everyone should a time ever come when someone feels so desperate as to take that permanent step of suicide, regarding a temporary problem. It's just not worth it.
The following is a paper presented by the National Association of School Psychologists. It remains unaltered, and it is excellent. It should be required reading.
Bullying: Facts for Schools and Parents
By Andrea Cohn & Andrea Canter, Ph.D., NCSP
Bullying is a widespread problem in our schools and communities. The behavior encompasses physical aggression, threats, teasing, and harassment. Although it can lead to violence, bullying typically is not categorized with more serious forms of school violence involving weapons, vandalism, or physical harm. It is, however, an unacceptable anti-social behavior that is learned through influences in the environment, e.g., home, school, peer groups, even the media. As such, it also can be unlearned or, better yet, prevented.
A bully is someone who directs physical, verbal, or psychological aggression or harassment toward others, with the goal of gaining power over or dominating another individual. Research indicates that bullying is more prevalent in boys than girls, though this difference decreases when considering indirect aggression (such as verbal threats).
A victim is someone who repeatedly is exposed to aggression from peers in the form of physical attacks, verbal assaults, or psychological abuse. Victims are more likely to be boys and to be physically weaker than peers. They generally do not have many, if any, good friends and may display poor social skills and academic difficulties in school.
Anderson, M., Kaufman, J., Simon, T. R., Barrios, L., Paulozzi, L., Ryan, G., Hammond, R., Modzeleski, W., Feucht, T., Potter, L., & the School-Associated Violent Deaths Study Group. (2001). School-associated violent deaths in the United States, 1994-1999. Journal of the American Medical Association, 286, 2695-2702.
Banks, R. (1997). Bullying in Schools. ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education. (EDO-PS-97-17). Retrieved October 7, 2003 http://ericeece.org/pubs/digests/1997/banks97.html
Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, B. (2001) Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth: Prevalence and Association With Psychosocial Adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2094-2100.
Olweus, D. (1993). Victimization by peers: Antecedents and long-term consequences. In K.H. Rubin & J. B. Asendorf (eds.), Social withdrawal, inhibition & shyness in childhood. Hillside, NJ: Erlbaum.
Olweus, D. (1994). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.
Weinhold, B. & Weinhold, J. (2000). Conflict resolution: The partnership way. Denver, CO Love Publishing Co.
Batsche, G. (1997). Bullying. In Bear, Minke & Thomas (Eds.), Children’s Needs II: Development, problems and alternatives (pp. 171-180). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
Bonds, M & Stoker, S. (2000). Bully-proof your school. Longmont, CO: Sopris West.
Garrity, C., Jens, K., Porter, W., Sager, N., & Short-Camilli, C. (1994). Bully-proofing your school. Longmont, CO: Sopris West.
Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Webster-Stratton, C. (1999). How to promote children’s social and emotional competence. Sage.
National Mental Health and Education Center for Children and Families (NASP)www.naspcenter.org
Safe and Responsive Schools Projectwww.indiana.edu/~safeschl/
Safe Schools/Healthy Students Action Centerwww.sshsac.org/
National Resource Center for Safe Schoolswww.nwrel.org/safe
This article was developed from a number of resources including the chapter by George Batsche.
© 2003, National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814.