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Who Experiences Homophobic Bullying

Who Experiences Homophobic Bullying


Homophobic bullying can affect anyone, may occur at any age and may be targeted at individuals:

  • Who self-identify as non-heterosexual
  • Who are perceived to be non-heterosexual
  • Who don’t conform to conventional gender norms or stereotypes
  • Who have same-gender parented families or caregivers
  • Who are parents, coaches, teachers and community members who are non-heterosexual

Homophobic bullying can involve physical or mental violence by a group or an individual. It is often aimed at someone who has poor defences and who, as a result, may be significantly upset. Victims may be male or female. What distinguishes it from other forms of bullying is the language that is used. Words like “queer” and “poof” and “lezzie” have been used abusively for many years. They have now been joined by words (such as “gay” and “lesbian”) which were formerly descriptive but which now may be used as general insults. In some youth cultures, “gay” is now used as a derogatory adjective to describe objects and people that may have no connection whatsoever with homosexuality.


Who is affected by homophobic bullying?

  • Children and adults who are perceived to be gay or lesbian
  • Young people and adults who are lesbian or gay
  • Children who have a gay or lesbian, parent or sibling
  • Everyone who teaches or learns in an environment where such behaviour is tolerated.
  • Young people who are sure of their identity as gay or lesbian, especially if they have chosen to reveal this to their peers, are likely to be subjected to some homophobic name calling.

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