Addressing "gay" bullying without supporting homosexuality?

This is something I’ve been seeing in several communities, both Christian and otherwise. Simply put, it’s usually young people using the stigma of calling someone else “gay” as another form of bullying. Generally it happens between young men, although I’ve seen it with women as well. Frequently the targets are completely heterosexual young adults. My concern is that, even in a Christian environment, the reason these kids are getting called “gay” and worse terms is because they refuse to disrespect women! For example, a lot of the guys were making jokes about how much they’d like to get into one of the study abroad programs so they could “study” foreign women. A male friend of mine objected to how they were talking and got called a f***** for it. This is supposedly a Christian group! A lot of them will use it against women too, as will some of the other women, if she rejects their advances.

I understand beliefs about homosexuality, but this needs to stop. It’s promoting a “Christianized” version of the same objectification of women, wrapped up in talk about homosexuality and men’s and women’s roles. But I feel like every time I talk to someone I get stopped because they don’t want to appear to be supporting homosexuality or something.

thank you for bringing this up,this something that should be talked about.:thumbsup:

I find it a difficult subject. Personally, I find all bullying reprehensible and I think it is good that schools fight it. However, the idea of gay bullying specifically is problematic because of the way certain people define it. For some people, stating the belief that homosexual actions are sinful is considered bullying. Meanwhile, how is it more acceptable for a boy to call a girl that didn’t accept his advances a b&$*# than to call her a lesbian? It’s not, in my opinon. So what is the solution? If a school states a no namecalling policy, it’d be rediculous because it’s impossible to enforce fairly. If every kid who called someone a name was hauled out of class to the counselor, no one would ever learn anything. Furthermore, young adults are entitled to find another person distasteful and say so without criminal charges being filed. The problem with bullying is that it begins so subtly that it is often difficult to determine where it went from a dispute between two kids or two groups to a bullying incident. Add to this, the difficulty of the victim frequently being reluctant to talk about it because they are embarrassed that others don’t like them or feel they may have been partly responsible. I personally don’t know how to handle the situation other than to educate the kids on how to be kind to one another and healthy ways to handle confrontations and disputes.

Young people engaging in so-called “gay” bullying are simply bullies. The only way to address this is to create an environment that does not tolerate **any **bullying. By singling out “gay” bullying for special focus, we send the message that other kinds of bullying are acceptable. Most bullying, especially in schools, has absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation or the perception of "gayness’.

Do we?:confused:

From what I remember of highschool the harassment students, especially boys, who were either suspected of homosexuality or openly gay was very common or at least as common as other forms of bullying.

That’s just my personal experience. I was never bullied for this reason but I saw it happen.

Yes, we do. Take for example the day of silence campaign against “gay” bullying. Where is the day of silence against bullying of fat people, or of people who aren’t good at sports, or of the nerds, or of the girls who are taller than the boys in middle school, or of those who can’t afford trendy clothes, of those who are openly religious, etc, etc. etc.?

Another example I have talked about before on other threads: It has become trendy to designate “safe spaces” in college dorms and even in high schools for “gay” or sometimes LGBT,students to go to be “safe” from bullying and harrassment. No other group gets this special protection. If you are being bullied for another reason, you don’t get to go to a designated “safe” place, you just follow the normal channels - tell a teacher, speak to a counselor, hope you don’t get beat up for tattling.

From what I remember of highschool the harassment students, especially boys, who were either suspected of homosexuality or openly gay was very common or at least as common as other forms of bullying.

The stats are all over the place but the APA states that 27% of teen bullying is for “not conforming to to sexually stereotypical behavior”. This would include “gay” bullying as well as bullying those who might not be seen as masculine or feminine enough. No one disputes that 27% is high but that means that 73% of the bullying is for other reasons.

apa.org/education/k12/bullying.aspx

In my highschool days, the more common forms of bullying were due to not being part of some clique or being “too much” of something - too smart, too religious, too fat, too skinny, etc, or for being introverted. The shy get bullied a lot.

That’s just my personal experience. I was never bullied for this reason but I saw it happen

I was.

I thought this thread would be objecting to homosexual people being bullied.

Turns out it’s about how to stop people, who are “innocent”, from being accused of being a “gay”. :eek:

I would define gay bullying as bullying gay people. Not sure how supporting homosexuality could come into the scenario in the OP.

Well…it’s not just objecting to people being accused of being gay. It’s objecting to the whole culture that equates heterosexuality with objectification and improper models of male/female behavior. It’s the idea that a straight male must objectify women, and that a straight female must accept harassment from men.

The problem isn’t just that kids are getting bullied, though that is a big issue. It’s the promotion of a whole toxic mentality under a cover of heterosexual masculinity and femininity. It’s allowing a culture where masculinity is equated with violence and objectification, and femininity with weakness.

Basically, the problem is we have a culture where certain virtues are being associated with homosexuality where they shouldn’t be. And then in discouraging homosexuality we end up discouraging these virtues, because we aren’t looking at what’s going on.

I would describe what you’re suggesting as sexism/misogyny.

Suggesting these virtues are homosexual in themselves I would say was stereotyping too.

To be clear: I’m not personally suggesting that these virtues are homosexual. I’m saying that there’s often a perception that they are. I do agree that it’s just plain sexism, but it’s sexism that is often going under the guise of “promoting heterosexuality” or somesuch. (Remember that these are incidents that are occurring at Christian communities.)

So how do we go about promoting authentic masculinity and feminity without sexism? We can’t just accept androgyny in the name of avoiding bullying.

Making it clear that certain words aren’t acceptable. Just as you don’t use a certain word that begins with n and refers to black people (or d and refers to Italians, or P and refers to the Polish) as a casual insult, you don’t use a certain word that begins with p and refers to a certain part of the female anatomy, or a certain word that begins with f and refers to gay people as an insult.

And just as you don’t complete that someone’s action was “so Irish”, you don’t complain that things are “so gay”.

I don’t understand why it is such a hard issue to say “Treat people kindly; don’t use parts of their identity as an insult.”

I think there are two issues and the titled does not reflect the problem in the OP (as Lemon Lime mentioned). Bullying is always inappropriate, regardless of the reason. Calling people names as a way of separating them from your clique, is a mild form of bullying, but nonetheless it is something no Christian should be a part of. Youth leaders can address this as a moral issue in a Christian setting, but it is hard to address in a public setting. In other words, it is hard to make every kid like every other kid. Yet even in a secular setting the morality of this can be addressed.

The suicides among youth have lead us do strive for answers, but the root cause is hard to address. There will always be some children that kill themselves because they are not accepted. There will always be some children that are not accepted by the ones they want to accept them. When can have all sorts of rules and programs to lessen this effect and chip away at the symptoms that lead to suicide, but we can not change the basics.

Ok, and I mean this seriously, what do you suggest as a replacement? When teen boys say “that’s so gay” they don’t generally mean homosexual. It is more a comment that the other teen was not acting in a masculine fashion - did not “man-up”. Do you really think that you can get teen boys to say “that was not very masculine of you”?

It all well and good to say, as one local school does “It’s not ok to say 'it’s so gay;” but what do you offer them instead? Because it is equally **not ok **for teens,especially boys, not to be corrected when they exhibit unmanly behavior. I don’t mean macho; I mean real masculinity - the kind we **want **our kids to develop.

Iif you ban certain words, new ones will be invented. Not that I think that we should not ban the words you mention, but it will be an ongoing job, like stacking bags of sand against a flood that keeps getting higher.

I think “gay” would be a hard word to ban. The concept of “manning up” is going to always exist. How about:

“Your man card is hereby revoked.”
“That’s the second unmanly thing you did today.”

The whole issue goes beyond that. The problem is that boys are being taught that “real men” treat women as objects. That’s what needs to be addressed.

There’s no obvious reason why specifically talking about one kind of bullying automatically sends the message to kids that another kind is okay.

I think the reason for this is because the boy bad at sports typically isn’t killed because he’s bad at sports .You also have to keep in mind that because the suicide rate (among other things) is so high amongst young gay people, probably not as high among people bad at sports, that may be why they get special treatment.

As someone who was bullied I’m sure you know bullying behaviour tends not to fall into nice subtypes. The boy teased for being skinny is often called a f** .

Also, that 73% could break down into smaller subtypes of bullying. It could still be the case the “not conforming to sexually stereotypical behaviour” is the most prevalent form of bullying (Not saying it is but that 73% figure needs to be broken down further).

I do not think that is related to the issue of using the word “gay.” I do not believe there is a correlation. Yes, someone might be called “gay” in your original scenario, but it could just as easy be an insult for wearing the wrong shirt or watching the wrong TV program. Likewise, other insults are used to belittle women. Thus, there really is not correlation. Both are issues that can be addressed, but tying them together does not address them.

So let me look at what you say is the big issue, namely, the objectifying of women and the pressure on boys to join in. I do not think this is the same issue as bullying, but it is important. The thing is, emphasizing gender differences is important. Men and women are different. “Male and female created He them.” Our gender is inherent in us. So, a boy does need to learn to “man up.” Mysogyny occurs when this is done by the belittling, objectifying or mistreatment of women. My own son reported on a boy getting in trouble at his school for throwing a marker. I asked why he thought it was bad (thinking of the property damage to the clothses) and he said it was really bad because it was done to a* girl *and Boys should never be mean to girls. Now that is my definition of manning up.

Not to be combative, but from my experience you’re pretty off-base. At least amongst football players and other male athletes, the word used in that case was either an extremely hateful word for homosexuals which begins with f (and I think we can agree that that sort of language is totally unacceptable) or an extremely crude word for a part of the female anatomy that begins with p (and I think we can agree that this is also totally unacceptable; on a side note, I think its interesting that even among teenagers in a locker room, a synonym for that beginning with c is considered completely inappropriate and vulgar).

“Gay” tends to be used where you’d use “lame”.

It all well and good to say, as one local school does “It’s not ok to say 'it’s so gay;” but what do you offer them instead? Because it is equally **not ok **for teens,especially boys, not to be corrected when they exhibit unmanly behavior. I don’t mean macho; I mean real masculinity - the kind we **want **our kids to develop.

I think genuine masculinity involves talking politely.

There’s a saying “inspect what you expect”. If you put all of your emphasis on “gay” bullying and ignore or tolerate other bulllying, the message is going to get accross that one group is protected more than others.

I think the reason for this is because the boy bad at sports typically isn’t killed because he’s bad at sports .You also have to keep in mind that because the suicide rate (among other things) is so high amongst young gay people, probably not as high among people bad at sports, that may be why they get special treatment.

The suicide rate among young homosexuals is another topic entirely. It may or may not be related to bullying. There seems to be research both ways. Among homosexuals who report being bullied, one of the bullying “acts” they report is that someone used the the term “gay” in their presence. So, if someone calls a movie character “gay”, all of the homosexuals within hearing distance feel bullied? This speaks to a much larger and different issue. If someone calls me a “*itch”, I might feel bullied but if somone uses the word in my presence - no. But for young homosexuals, it seems there is a different perception. The reason is likely much deeper than a bullying one.

As someone who was bullied I’m sure you know bullying behaviour tends not to fall into nice subtypes. The boy teased for being skinny is often called a f** .

True, but if he is not homosexual, he will probably be more hurt by being called a stick and weak than by being called a f**.

Also, that 73% could break down into smaller subtypes of bullying. It could still be the case the “not conforming to sexually stereotypical behaviour” is the most prevalent form of bullying (Not saying it is but that 73% figure needs to be broken down further

That could be but it’s a little bit like saying that since African Americans are the largest minority in the US, we don’t need protections against discrimination for Asians or Hispanics. Attacking a problem by addresssing the largest minority is not as useful as addressing the entire group or even the majority.

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