Gay and Lesbian Teens Annette Bontrager Deb Starling Mike Jarema Andy Scott
Tyler Clementi Tragic Cases Constance McMillen
Gay and Lesbian Youth • We live in a society that discriminates against and stigmatizes homosexuals while it fails to realize that a large number of its youth have gay or lesbian orientation. • There are indications that individuals may be aware of their sexual orientation at a very early age – usually formed by adolescence.
Bullying - Types • Bullying can take many forms but it usually includes the following types of behavior: • • Physical – hitting, kicking, pinching, punching, scratching, spitting or any other form of physical attack. Damage to or taking someone else’s belongings may also constitute as physical bullying. • • Verbal – name calling, insulting, making racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, remarks or teasing, using sexually suggestive or abusive language, offensive remarks • • Indirect – spreading nasty stories about someone, exclusion from social groups, being made the subject of malicious rumours, sending abusive mail, and email and text messages (cyber bullying). • • CyberBullying - any type of bullying that is carried out by electronic medium.
Verbal Harassment • 84% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed (name calling, threats, etc.) because of their sexual orientation. • 91.5% of LGBT students report hearing homophobic remarks, such as “faggot,” “dyke” or the expression “that’s so gay” frequently or often. • 44.7% of LGBT youth of color report being verbally harassed because of both their sexual orientation and race/ethnicity.
Verbal Harassment • 13.4% of LGBT students who report verbal harassment do not intend to go to college, twice the figure of those LGBT students who report only rare or less frequent verbal harassment (6.7%). • 82.9% of LGBT students report that faculty or staff never intervened or intervened only some of the time when present and homophobic remarks were made.
Verbal Harassment • 97% of high school students report hearing homophobic remarks regularly from peers. • 53% of students report hearing homophobic comments made by school staff.
“Hell Houses” • A 2006 report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force describes the 'Hell Houses' created by right-wing religious groups as an alternative to traditional haunted houses, with the intention of scaring children into a sin-free life. Homosexuality is featured as a damnable sin in these displays, with depictions of the 'sinner' burning in Hell, a lesbian teenager committing suicide, and a male couple at their marriage being forced to swear never to believe that they're 'normal.' It is estimated that 1.6 million people, some as young as 10 years old, visited 'Hell Houses' in 2006
Cyber-Bullying • 1. Text message bullying • 2. Picture/video clip bullying via mobile phone cameras • 3. Phone call bullying via mobile phones • 4. E-mail bullying • 5. Chat-room bullying • 6. Bullying through instant messaging (IM) • 7. Bullying via websites
Bullying and Homosexuality • In a 2007 study, 86% of LGBT students said that they had experienced harassment at school during the previous year. (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network -- GLSEN) • Research indicates that LGB youth may be more likely to think about and attempt suicide than heterosexual teens. (GLSEN) • In a 2005 survey, students said their peers were most often bullied because of their appearance, but the next top reason was because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression. ("From Teasing to Torment: School Climate of America" -- GLSEN and Harris Interactive)
Bullying and Homosexuality • According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 students... • • Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation • • Nearly half (44.1 percent) reported being physically harassed • • About a quarter (22.1 percent) reported being physically assaulted. • • Nearly two-thirds (60.8 percent) who experienced harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school • • Of those who did report the incident, nearly one-third (31.1 percent) said the school staff did nothing in response
Hate Crimes • A terrorist act is an act of violence perpetrated against a certain group of people. • The purpose of the crime is to harm the victims both physically and psychologically. • The largest minority group in our society that is victimized by hate crimes consists of lesbians, gay males, bi-sexuals, and transgenders (LGBT), who are victimized solely because of their sexual orientation.
Hate Crime Stats • According to the Census Bureau’s 2009 Abstract, homosexuals are far more likely to be victimized by a violent hate crime than any other minority group in the United States. • Hate crimes against gay and lesbian youth are increasing yearly.
Hate Crime Stats • In 2005, 1,171 hate crimes based on sexual orientation were reported by law enforcement agencies. • In 2006, 1,415 hate crimes based on sexual orientation were reported by law enforcement agencies. • In 2007, 1,460 hate crimes based on sexual orientation were reported by law enforcement agencies. • In 2008, 1,617 hate crimes based on sexual orientation were reported by law enforcement agencies. • In 2009, FBI statistics show that 14 hate crimes happen every day against gay and lesbian youth.
Hate Crimes in Schools • The Youth Risk Survey conducted in Massachusetts indicates that 31% of all gay and lesbian youth were threatened or injured at school. • The National Institute of Mental Health found that gay and lesbian survivors of hate crimes showed more signs of psychological distress than did gay and lesbian survivors of non-bias motivated crimes. • Anti-gay prejudice also affects students who are not gay. For every gay and lesbian youth that was subject to harassment, there are four straight youth who were harassed because people thought they were gay or lesbian.
The Murder of Matthew Shepard • October 6, 1998 • Beaten by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson • Tied to a fence and left to die • Flown via helicopter to a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado • Died five days later
Suicide • The leading cause of death among gay and lesbian youth is suicide. • Gay and lesbian youth are 2 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth. • 30% of all youth suicides are committed by gay and lesbian teens.
Why Suicide? • Gay and lesbian youth not only must survive adolescence, but also develop a positive identity as a gay male, lesbian, bisexual, or transsexual while living in a very hostile environment. • Gay and lesbian youth find themselves living in a society that gives them little positive information about who they are and reacts negatively when they try to inquire. • Gay and lesbian youth must find support among friends who often reject them. • Like all young adults, gay and lesbian youth are going through physical, emotional, and intellectual changes as well as sexual development during their adolescence. • Gay and lesbian youth must adapt socially to their homosexual identity.
Lack of Support • Few administrators discipline students for harassment of gay and lesbian youth. • Teachers may wish to intervene in harassment of gay students, but feel they have not had the training to effectively intervene. • Many teachers fear reprisals because they lack support from their administrations. • In Michigan, 28% of secondary school teachers felt their schools were unsafe for gay and lesbian youth. • Over 50% of national organizations that service our youth report that they do not have sufficient services or resources in place to educate youth on sexual orientation or to support gay and lesbian youth.
Impact of Parental Rejection • How parents respond to their LGBT child can have a tremendous impact on their child’s current and future mental and physical health. • Children who are thrown out of the house or stress and conflict at home can cause some youth to run away.
Impact of Parental Rejection • Significantly higher rates of mental and physical health problems among LGBT young adult who experienced high levels of rejection from their parents while they were adolescents.
Impact of Parental Rejection • LGBT young adults who experienced high levels of rejection were: • Nearly 6 times as likely to have high levels of depression • More than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide • More than 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs • More than 3 times as likely to engage in unprotected sexual behaviors that put them at increased risk for HIV and other STD’s. • - National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion May, 2011
Homelessness • Of the total youth population, 5-10% identify as LGBT. • Of the estimated 1.6 million homeless American youth, between 20 and 40 percent identify as LGBT.
Homelessness • 26% of gay teens who came out to their parents were told they must leave home • LGBT youth also leave home due to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse • Homeless LGBT youth are more likely to: use drugs, participate in sex work, and attempt suicide. • LGBT youth report they are threatened, belittled, and abused at shelters by staff as well as other residents.
Drug Abuse • A 2004 study found that "mostly heterosexual" adolescents and lesbian and bisexual girls are more likely to smoke than their heterosexual counterparts. • A 2002 study found that LGB students who are victims of violence at school have elevated risk of substance abuse. • In 2002, a study was published that found that bisexual students in Massachusetts and Vermont were three to six times more likely to use cocaine than their straight classmates.
Alcohol Abuse • 68% of adolescent gay males use alcohol and 44% use other drugs. 83% of lesbians use alcohol and 56% use other drugs. • According to a 2005 report, alcohol dependence is greater among LGBTQ people, especially for women. The report emphasizes the need for including sexual orientation as a subgroup when monitoring alcohol abuse in population studies.
Recent Prevalence • The odds of substance use for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth are on average 190 percent higher than for heterosexual youth • For some sub-populations of LGB youth, the odds were substantially higher, including 340 percent for bisexual youth and 400 percent for lesbians
Why? • "Homophobia, discrimination and victimization are largely what are responsible for these substance use disparities in young gay people,“ • - Michael P. Marshal, Ph.Dassistant professor of psychiatry at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)
The Federal Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 • Passed in Congress on April 29, 2009 • It expands the 1969 federal hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, and disability. • Previous hate crime laws gave the Justice Department authority to prosecute crimes motivated only by race, color, national origin, and religion. • It is often called the Matthew Shepherd and Thomas Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force • The mission of this task force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender community. • They train activists • They have organized broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation. • The movements think-tank provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality.
The Gay-Straight Alliance • A group devoted to supporting the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender population. • The group enables straight allies of gays and lesbians to show their support of the homosexual community. • Primarily found in schools.
Local Support • PFLAG – Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays • Provides support, education, and advocacy • Is NOT a counseling service • Is NOT primarily for LGBT youth directly, but their support system
Sources • http://www.lambda.org/youth-suicide.htm • http://www.pflagphoenix.org/education/youth-stats.html • http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/18/news/la-heb-suicide-gay-teens-20110418 • http://www.youthprideri.org/Resources/Statistics/tabid/227/Default.aspx
Sources • http://articles.mibba.com/World/4247/Anti-Gay-Hate-Crimes-On-The-Rise • http://www.thetaskforce.org/about_us • http://gaylife.about.com/od/hatecrimes/a/statistics.htm • http://robtshepherd.tripod.com/matt-shepherd.html