It’s a sad but predictable phenomena
First, a youth (or a series of) commits suicide as a result of homophobic bullying and/or, increasingly, cyberbullying. Second comes the coverage of the event in the media, and any follow-up coverage with pertinent pieces of info the public might want to know (usually pertaining to the victim, their family or the perpetrator(s)) shortly thereafter. Then, third, often before or simultaneous to the coverage of any legal or potentially legal ramifications usually comes precisely what I am engaging in now: The reflection pieces, the what-does-this-all-mean-and where-do-we-go-from-here-? pieces.
Cyberbullying and LGBTQ youth
According to one recent survey:
“In the online survey of 444 junior high, high school and college students between the ages of 11 and 22 — including 350 self-identified non-heterosexual subjects — 54 percent of the LGBT and allied youth reported being victims of cyberbullying in the 30 days prior to the survey.
Among the non-heterosexual respondents, 45 percent reported feeling depressed as a result of being cyberbullied, 38 percent felt embarrassed, and 28 percent felt anxious about attending school. More than a quarter (26 percent) had suicidal thoughts.”
These results and implications are consistent with other studies which examine cyberbullying amongst LGBTQ youth.
The suicides of Jamey Rodemeyer and Jamie Hubley
For those who are not familiar with these recent suicides, you can read the following coverage from The Gaily:
The what-do-we-do-now? and where-do-we-go-from-here? part
Address homophobia in whichever means you can, whenever you can as Obama recently did.
Make comments that cause young and impressionable LGBTQ youth to question their worth as human beings with comments like Michelle Bachmann did, or remain silent if you are part of an organization that prevents gay youth and their allies from starting gay/straight alliances at their schools.
Write down your thoughts and share them with others. Get the youth in your life to do the same.
Ok, full disclosure: I work for definetheline.ca. We are an academic team based primarily out of McGill with federal funding and partners including Stanford’s School of Law, Big Brothers and Sisters of Canada and the Lester B. Pearson School Board here in Montreal. We aim to engage various stakeholders on the issue of cyberbullying (which is officially not a hyphenated word and has been recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary, in case you didn’t hear!) We are pro-education and anti-censorship. We are looking for teachers or administrators to blog for us (once or on an on-going basis) and for youth to create content in just about any form to share on our site. All contributors will get credit for their submissions. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, check us out online, or get in touch with us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.