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Consequences of Homophobic Bullying

Consequences of Homophobic Bullying

It is not sexual minority youth who are inherently at-risk; rather it is the pervasive societal culture of homophobia and heterosexism that threatens their health, safety, and well-being. The sexual minority youth report more emotional and behavioural difficulties such as:

  • Children who experience it have their education disrupted
  • Higher symptoms of depression and externalizing behaviours
  • It can be a particular problem for teenagers who are confused or unsure about their own developing sexuality
  • Less social support in both their family and peer group contexts when compared with their heterosexual peers
  • LGBTQ youth felt less cared about by parents and less connected to their families than heterosexual teens, and for lesbian and bisexual females, less connected to school
  • LGBTQ youth were less likely to participate in sports and physical activity, and reported higher levels of computer time
  • More hostile peer environments and experiences of victimization; greater rates of bullying and sexual harassment
  • Schools that ignore it, or deny its existence, are not helping young people to develop a concern for the welfare of minorities and tolerance of difference
  • Some victims are driven to the edge of despair or beyond, with lasting consequences for their emotional health and development
  • Their self-confidence may be damaged and, as a result, they may never fulfil their academic potential
  • They may be unable to concentrate in schools on lessons because of feelings of fear or anger
  • To be current smokers, to have tried alcohol, or to have used drugs
  • To be sexually experienced, and more likely to have either been pregnant or have gotten someone pregnant
  • To have experienced physical and sexual abuse, harassment in school, and discrimination in the community
  • To have run away from home once or more in the past year
  • To have reported emotional stress, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal attempts
  • Suicide is the number one cause of death for sexual minority youth inNorth America.
  • When bisexual youth reported high family and school connectedness, their probability of suicide attempts was much lower than for bisexual teens with lower connectedness, even when they had strong risk factors for suicide such as a history of sexual abuse and current symptoms of emotional duress


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