Why must people bully gays
That is a really good question and it takes a lot of courage to reach out to ask. Bullying and being teased for being what others perceive as “different” happens to many people. Unfortunately Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender young people or those perceived to be LGBT have a much higher incidence of harassment at school.
People will bully other individuals for a few reasons.
1. They are suppressing their own homosexual identity.
It is true that those in the early stages of coming out are usually the most homophobic. Usually they will talk about who else they know or suspect to be gay, talk about their negative feelings about those “obvious fags or dykes” and be most critical of the “homosexual lifestyle”. Over time they continue on with their coming out process and feel must regret for how they were in their early suppressed stages of being closeted.
2. They are suppressing homosexual impulses and desires.
This is a popular belief that if, “one protests too much” that he himself must have the same issue or concern. In other words, when someone bullies or talks a great deal negatively about lesbians and gays the instant reaction is that they must be gay themselves. A study done on this very topic in 1996 actually proved this to be true. Henry E. Adams, Lester W. Wright, Jr., and Bethany A. Lohr published their research in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology entitled, “Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal?" The study was done only on males and found that men who were most homophobic and held negative views on homosexuality were those who were aroused by gay male erotic stimuli. To read about the actual study go to Wikipedia.org http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latent_homosexuality.
3. They are hiding their own sexual issues of which they are ashamed and disgusted.
Many people equate the word gay with the word sex. They don’t even hear the word gay they hear, “I want to have sex with you.” So those with sexual secrets which they are hiding and feeling shame and confusion for will often target others sexuality to throw off their own sexual issues.
4. They were sexually abused by a male perpetrator.
Many men who were sexually abused confuse that with homosexuality. They refer to their perpetrators as gays and believe the act was of a homosexual nature. The truth is that sexual abuse is never about sex and always about power and control. Like rape, the intent is to use and humiliate the victim using the vehicle of sex. Sadly these male victims are never taught the difference nor understand what happened to them was separate from homosexuality and they take it out on gay men who they project are all predators and perpetrators of sexual abuse.
5. They were put down for their gender expression.
Many men who are insulted and humiliated for not expressing their masculinity in traditional ways often target others who seem effeminate and gay or lesbian. Because they were the recipients of gender bashing they engage in their own gender bashing themselves of others.
6. They were bullied themselves.
This may not have anything to do with homosexuality and everything to do with victim becoming victor. Many people who are bullied as children in the home and/or in school find empowerment in bullying others to shake their feelings of inadequacy. This is a natural outgrowth of being put down and targeted oneself for something about them that is seen as stigmatized. Consequently, picking on another minority who is stigmatized gives a bully feelings of power and removes the spotlight off from them onto someone else.
7. They are deeply religious.
Whether people want to admit it or not, children learn that homosexuality is wrong right in their churches and synagogues. Walk into most Christian churches and you will hear the ministers as well as the teachers and parents talking about homosexuality being a sin. Lesbians and gays or demoralized and talked about as if they are not even human beings. Given this is there any wonder that people view them as easy and acceptable targets to hate and abuse? Studies show the more religious someone is the more negative views they hold about the GLBT population.
8. Their family and culture were against homosexuality and were very verbal about it.
Gays and lesbians from certain cultural backgrounds may be brought up to see LGBT as being wrong. They heard their parents and other adults say, “no child of theirs will be accepted if that is what they are.” I am not at all suggesting that these kids grow up to automatically bully. However the LGBT kids coming from these families and cultures all experience the same post traumatic stress disorders that those who are bullied exhibit. Growing up with such negative and strong hateful messages is a form of bullying.
9. People who simply hate.
I don’t think I need to say much here that most of us don’t know. We often hate what is different and what we don’t understand. I know that that the more lesbians and gays come out and expose others to who we are, the less likely will we be hated.
Are you or a friend being bullied?
Are you or a friend being bullied?
Please know that you have the right to feel safe in your school and that no one ever has the right to bully or abuse you in any way
As far as how to deal with the bullying in your school, you could start by talking with an adult at school such as a the principal, school counselor or school administrator as it is their job to make sure you and others are not being harassed or bullied by students, teachers or anyone and that you feel safe in school, so if you feel comfortable, please bring it to their attention immediately
There are a number of organizations that work specifically in schools to address homophobia and transphobia against LGBT students. One such organization is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) which works to ensure safe schools for ALL students. On their website at www.glsen.org click on "what we do" where you can find programs which may help people in your school become more understanding and supportive of you or someone you know.
You can also contact the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor, 24 hours 7 days a week.
I hope this answers your question. Please let us know if you need any further assistance.
Looking forward to hearing back,
The Trevor Project