Hyperlinks - connecting the world together
TheGLSEN website is filled with disturbing statistics about harassment and abuse toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexuals (LGBT) students. Perhaps one of the more disturbing statistics was the fact that two-thirds of LGBT students never reported being harassed and almost one-quarter say they did not report it because they felt that staff would not do anything to help. No student should feel that staff would not do anything to help stop or minimize the harassment. Many schools have anti-bullying policies, but only 18.2% of LGBT students say they go to a school that has protection based on sexual orientation or gender expression.
Rhode Island College's student handbook has some sections that help to prevent harassment of LGBT students. Freedom of speech is encouraged but "racial/sexual attacks and illegal harassment will not be tolerated." (pg. 27) It is curious to note that although there is a section for Sexual Harassment, readers are told to see this page. However, this only details the college's Affirmative Action plan -- not a Sexual Harassment Policy. However, there is a mention about sexuality in the Residential Life & Housing section on pg. 36. "These interactions, whether between" ... "members of different sexual orientations"... "will be tempered with sensitivity and a sense of responsibility toward others. The Harassment section includes (not limited to) "repeated questioning or implication concerning another's sexual activity, sexual orientation, or gender identity" To me, this is severely lacking. So only residents have to abide by these codes?
Teaching Tolerance has an article called 'Homo High' that details how much easier it is for all students, not just LGBT, to learn in an environment without bullies. The articles mentions that there has been some opposition to the idea because people claimed the school supported "separate but equal" by creating an environment just for LGBT students. However, this is not true. Even straight students enroll there for smaller class sizes and a friendlier learning environment. One straight student was uncomfortable, but became friends with some other students and realized that being LGBT doesn't change anything - they are just like you. A Christian group protested at the school and the same straight student who used to pass judgment on LGBT was quick to join in showing that the protesters were wrong.
Perhaps the scariest part of this article was what I was looking for: the extremes bullying has gone to. I'm sure everyone has heard, over the past several years, of cases when teens and young adults committed suicide after being bullied. There were a few well known cases locally within the past few months as well. These are reports the article used: the Minnesota student who was repeatedly harassed by teachers who assumed the student was gay; the 15-year-old Oxnard, Calif., boy who was shot in the head by a classmate after coming out as gay; the Massachusetts 11-year-old who hanged himself after enduring anti-gay bullying at school."
Especially the student who was harassed by teachers, this should not be happening. Does anyone know what it feels like to be treated like this? The kind of pain and emotional turmoil bullies are inflicting on people?
There are sites out there where people post secrets they've kept. While not all, some are related to LGBT. This is a video containing some relevant items from Postsecret.