Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Anti-gay bullying most pervasive
This month two 11-year-olds, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Springfield, Mass., and Jaheem Herrera of DeKalb County, Ga. - neither of whom identified as gay - committed suicide after anti-gay harassment and bullying at school. "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers," the Salt Lake Tribune reports, adding that "two of the top three reasons secondary school students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression." The Tribune was citing research by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
and Harris Interactive. New York Times columnist Charles Blow cites even more data in an eloquent column, "Two Little Boys," where he considers why bullying of any kind, including what Carl and Jaheem endured, is so devastating for kids: "Children can’t see their budding lives through the long lens of wisdom - the wisdom that benefits from years passed, hurdles overcome, strength summoned, resilience realized, selves discovered and accepted, hearts broken but mended and love experienced in the fullest, truest majesty that the word deserves. For them, the weight of ridicule and ostracism can feel crushing and without the possibility of reprieve." GLSEN's latest study, its just-released "Harsh Realities," can be found here.