October is National Bullying Prevention Month. In support, Be Unlimited is taking a major stand against bullying. We hope that you stand with us.

Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power. Most often, it is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms: physical bullying (hitting or punching), verbal bullying (name-calling, teasing), social or emotional bullying (exclusion, hurtful gestures), or cyber-bullying (negative messages via e-mail or text messaging).

Verbal bullying is the most frequent form of bullying experienced by both boys and girls. Often, even among young students, this form of bullying can involve negative language that is sexual in nature.  Sometimes, this sexual language refers to another person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation (for example, targeting an individual as being “gay”).


The following bullying-related statistics are based on perceptions about sexual orientation:*

  • As many as 93% of teenagers hear derogatory words about sexual orientation at least once in a while, with more than half of teens surveyed hearing such words every day at school and in the community.
  • Negative name-calling and harassment about sexual orientation can be harmful to all students. Three out of four students who are bullied with such remarks are not identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ). These derogatory comments are often used broadly to inflict harm in a school setting.
  • 78% of gay (or believed to be gay) teens are teased or bullied in their schools and communities, a percentage significantly higher than for heterosexual youth.
  • According to findings from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety report, in 2003, 12% of students ages twelve to eighteen reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them, and 36% of students saw hate-related graffiti at school during the previous six months. One percent reported that the hate-related words concerned their sexual orientation.
  • A national survey of 760 students, ages twelve to seventeen, indicates that the most likely group to be bullied are “kids who are gay or thought to be gay.” Most teens (78%) said that they disapproved of anti-gay teasing or bullying.
  • In a nationally representative sample of nearly 3,500 students ages thirteen to eighteen, one-third reported that students in their school are frequently harassed because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation.

The negative impact of bullying:*

  • Bullying and harassment can have negative effects on the development and mental health of LGBTQ students, such as extreme anxiety and depression, relationship problems, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide. These students are also at much greater risk of physical assault than other children and youth.
  • Students who had experienced anti-gay harassment are four times more likely than non-harassed youth to be threatened with or injured by a weapon.
  • Twenty-two percent of LGBTQ students had skipped school in the last month for safety concerns and are three times more likely to drop out of school.
  • LGBTQ students are also at risk for not getting the support they need when they are being bullied due to their perceptions that adults at school may have intolerant attitudes or may not provide confidential help in which to deal with their situation. Four out of five LGBTQ students say they know of no supportive adult at school.
  • LGBTQ students are two to three times as likely to commit suicide as heterosexual students and may account for a startling 30% of all completed youth suicides. These students are also more likely to experience suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts than other students.

No one deserves to be bullied.   Let us be a resource.  If you are a LGBTQ youth yourself, or if you know of a LGBTQ youth who is currently struggling with bullying, consider calling one of the helplines listed below.  There are trained professionals waiting to help.

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.  If you are a youth who is feeling alone, confused or in crisis, please call The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR for immediate help.

There’s help at the end of the line when you call the Boys Town National Hotlinewhich is not just for boys, by the way. Whether you’re a child, teen or parent, they can help. 1-800-448-3000.

2NDFLOOR is a confidential and anonymous helpline for New Jersey’s youth and young adults.  If you need to talk about an issue or problem that you are facing, call 2NDFLOOR at 1-888-222-2228.

If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, please call 911 immediately.

Remember, you can rise above where you are now.  Your bullying experience does not have to last another day.  Speak up.  Get help.  And believe that things will get better.
*Selected source material: The Hazelden Foundation

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