Addressing "gay" bullying without supporting homosexuality?

I agree with you here. However, we are talking about a population of youth who are allowed to drop the F-bomb with impunity in all kinds of company, who don’t think S**T is even vulgar and who regularly take God’s name in vain as part of their regular conversation. We let this happen to our language. Schools don’t care anymore. So many teachers have told me, “That’s just the way kids talk these days”. So all of a sudden we expect polite speech - but only when talking to or about homosexuals or when referring to a person’s masculinity or feminity? It’s an unrealistic goal.

Sorry, but any group that thinks it’s ok to use the F-word in front of elementary school kids doesn’t get my compasssion when they feign offense at the word “gay”.

This is what I usually hear, too.

I think genuine masculinity involves talking politely.

Well, it does not preclude polite speech, to be sure, if that is what you mean, just like masculinity is not contradicted by gentleness. However, not all men are alike in this regard.

Now hold on a minute. I don’t know about your experience, but from my own (which is observing at three different high schools, going to my father’s classes at two different high schools, and student-teaching at another high school; I won’t cite any of my Catholic school experiences because that’s obviously a different bag) cursing was totally unacceptable.

When student teaching I tried to present a bit of a tough edge but I’m really a softie, so I tried to avoid giving detentions, but I was pretty clear on the kind of language you could and could not use (“Don’t let me hear that again…”). I certainly wasn’t unusual in this regard; I’ve never been in a high school classroom where cursing was accepted or allowed.

Now I was once in a college class where a kid absentmindedly referred to Douglas MacArthur as a [blank]-up when answering a professor (he wasn’t wrong). That was so unexpected that everybody stared at him, but since it was a normal part of his vocabulary, he hadn’t even realized he’d cursed, and nobody really knew what to say so what just moved on.

Point taken. But I’m not suggesting all teachers talk about is gay bullying. Just that it deserves a good mention given its prevalance.

I brought this up because you asked (rhetorically?) why gays get special treatment and kids bad at sport don’t. It’s because being gay is associated with significantly worse life outcomes than being bad at sports (…I think…).

I wasn’t aware of this. Can you post a link? Was this one study or several?

Not necessarily. A common form of bullying I remember in school was to call a boy a girl. Even though it was pretty obvious to everyone he wasn’t a girl it was still pretty bad to have your masculinity made fun of.

I think giving more protections to one minority makes sense if worse outcomes exist for that minority group than for others. And if the minority with the worse outcomes is a large minority it makes even more sense.This is not the same as neglectling the others or denying their unique problems.

Bullying is an attempt to dominate, intimidate, frighten, and control – at least verbally, and by implication physically. I don’t agree that ethnic and other minority-group slurs are, in themselves, “a form of bullying.” They’re a form of hatred, but unless they rise to the level of a personalized campaign, and take on a threatening air as well, the slurs themselves are not by themselves “bullying.”

I agree with Corki that all bullying is equally obnoxious and intolerable, whether it’s targeted to members of a minority group/sub-culture, or whether it’s directed merely to an individual for strictly random, personal reasons.

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.

Name-calling has no place in the classroom, and no role in anything children should be learning in school. Every school I have observed or taught in has had a policy of no name-calling in the classroom, with sending a child out being the minimum penalty. If you didn’t have a zero-tolerance approach to such disruptive behaviour, no one would ever learn anything.

The only time I ever had to officially write a child’s behaviour up for serious consequences was when they called another child a f**. This was in a free, non-selective Catholic secondary school in a rough area, and my actions were completely in line with school policy. The senior staff followed up appropriately, and the child was cross with me for a few days because their father chewed them out. I explained to the other students, and later to the child themselves, that while name-calling is always wrong, some words are particularly bad because of their history, and so you should never use them. I reminded them that they probably knew some other words that they’d never use.

You don’t help children by pretending this stuff is okay. And you don’t create a positive learning environment by allowing them to do and say whatever they like.

Picking on other people is always wrong, and you don’t get to pretend that it’s okay because of some other actions being a sin. You don’t have to think prostitution is a positive choice to object to people calling women ‘whores’, or even to object to people being horrible to prostitutes. You don’t have to agree with indifferentism to object to people of other religions being bullied. And you don’t have to agree with gay sexual behaviour to strongly object to bullying of gay children and the use of offensive words associated with being gay or effeminate. You don’t have to agree with gay sexual behaviour, or even with eroding of many differences between men and women, to object to gender policing of children and other bullying behaviour.


You’ve expressed much better than me the point I wanted to get across. I just wanted to 100% agree with you.

I respectfully doubt there is any school anywhere in the world that truely has a zero-tolerance name-calling policy. Are you honestly trying to tell me that if a teenage student told you that another kid called him a jerk, you would have the offender pulled out of class? How many days of suspension does calling someone a klutz if they fall in the classroom get? Realistically? Kids call each other names all the time and so do adults. Right or wrong, I don’t believe for one moment that there’s any school that equally enforces a name-calling policy for all students, all names, and in all contexts.

That being said. I don’t think that name-calling is okay. I think that a a zero-tolerance policy is unenforcable and anyone who tries to enforce it will be required to resort to hearsay, witch hunts, and selective enforecment and will inevitably end up losing all credibility with students and parents.

What’s the solution? I think the best you can do is teach the students the proper way to treat each other and resolve disagreements with each other, explain the terrible effects bullying has on individual students and the school environment as a whole, and make staff aware of how to spot the signs of REAL bullying. (Not calling a classmate a ‘bimbo’ when annoyed at her.)

I’m concerned about the emphasis on gay-bullying because I think it is driven by a belief system that is perfectly fine with even the most profane of name-calling, as long as a person doesn’t have the audacity to say that homosexuality is a sin.

I was harrased and stalked by a football player who litteraly followed me around calling me “f@g”.

I was later told that he was homosexual himself!

Years later he approached me with an apology and an indecent proposal. Which of course I rejected.

I’m sorry those things happened to you.

It was in high school many moons ago it’s ok . I just worry about the ones now in jhigh scholl , esp public schools.

Why on Earth would a zero-tolerance policy on namecalling mean that a child was suspended because another child said they called them a klutz? Zero tolerance has nothing to do with the severity of the punishment, nor the level of evidence required. It is to do with the certainty of immediate consequences, which is what matters when you deal with teenagers, so that a problem is not allowed to develop. As I said, I only ever had to do an official write-up once: nobody ever used that word in my classroom again. I rarely had to send students out, and when I did so it was clear that it was the immediate consequence of their current behaviour. Some namecalling might just lead to a warning, some might lead to immediately being sent out of the classroom until the rest of the class is settled and working, when I’d speak to the student and possibly bring them back in.

Zero tolerance is about never letting the behaviour deteriorate, by intervening promptly and with full support of senior staff. It’s about clear rules. It has nothing to do with whatever bogeyman system you’re proposing, and it works. It not only let me teach maths more effectively in a rough area, it taught the children about acceptable behaviour, which a Catholic school should obviously be teaching, and it prevented bullying and victimisation in the classroom.

Appropriate expectations: teenagers are capable of behaving well.

I have in fact heard of private schools (not Catholic) with a zero tolerance policy where the maximum penalty could be expulsion.

Now maybe they wouldn’t do this on a first offense but it at least puts the parents on notice that if the kid participates in bullying and gets expelled the tuition money won’t be refunded.

Maybe that’s a little strong but it’s better than in my school days when it was “boys will be boys” and the bullies could bully all they wanted.

That was me as well. I’m pretty much over it now but it still bothers me thinking about it.

It’s important to think about that.

When Catholics post on here and say we shouldn’t have anti-gay bullying policies because (this, this, and this), well, the person being bullied might not even have SSA. It’s not right to call someone bad names like you mention in any event, and when it’s used just because, for instance, somebody doesn’t play sports, it adds the element of unfair stereotyping.

No surprise.

The incident I know of, the kid who was the biggest anti-gay bully was spotted, as a young adult, in a gay bar.

Sometimes I think it’s the kid that really does have SSA that feels he has to be a bully to take the heat off himself.

The incident I know of, the kid who was the biggest anti-gay bully was spotted, as a young adult, in a gay bar.

I believe Freud calls this reaction formation - basically a defence mechanism where a person feels an impulse, represses it, and its energy finds an exaggerated release by being projected onto someone else. </end little psychology nerd moment>

This may sound like a silly question, but I’d like to know: what is masculine, according to your definitions, and what is feminine? Unfortunately in the world I see around us today, ‘masculinity’ is defined by objectification of women and how much porn one watches, and ‘femininity’ necessitates weakness and acceptance of male harassment. Obviously, these are false definitions. So I’d like to know what masculinity and femininity really are, because they aren’t defined anywhere else except in negative stereotyping.

You quoted me in your post, the first part of the quote attributed to me was said by me, the other part was not.

There is no different category of bullying that belongs to “gay” bullying. What all bullying is, is exploitation, in which the exploiter uses others to make himself or herself feel less inadequate and project their own failings – and anger about their own shortcomings – onto others. The source of bullying is not limited to one gender or the other – nor, will I add, to any age group. Bullies come in all ages and in both genders. The schoolyard/classroom version is only one of many categories. There are all kinds of environments – including office settings with little oversight – in which adult bullies reign and thrive. Like school bullies, they feel so insecure about their own power-base that they create an artificial air of power by which they dominate and oppress, often threatening their victims overtly or by implication with dire consequences for not submitting to their power. People who feel truly competent in their personal and social niche have no need to resort to something as demeaning to the human person as bullying. Bullying is a reflection of insecurity, or the prospect of real or imagined insecurity. It is a lowering of self and others to the “laws of the jungle” in which brute power (dominance) is the operative factor.

Bullies create enormous evil, wherever they are allowed to operate: they poison the environment and cause injustice. Their prime victims are those whom they perceive as most vulnerable, which would include anyone who is socially vulnerable, such as a member of a minority group of any kind, and such as a person who is not “armed” emotionally (someone who is kind and non-aggressive, who has no taste for combat). They project their vulnerabilities onto conveniently vulnerable victims.

As evidenced in spousal abuse, bullies will continue to exploit unless forcefully stopped. The victim often cannot leave the environment (or if he or she can, the bully will merely find another victim). Gays are most often simply a target of convenience, and nothing else. They are not a “special category.” Nevertheless (again) the evil of allowing bullying to become an unaddressed example mandates that authorities with courage and commitment take charge. That is not solved by creating a special category but by adults taking responsibliity for unacceptable abuses by those underneath their own authority.

Bullies are impervious to words and regulations (supposedly “stiffer” ones against “gay” bullying). Words and regulations are a cop-out on the part of authority figures. Only severe and practical actions and consequences, including physical removal, will restrain bullies. As an adult currently being bullied by another adult, and with no recourse on my part to any higher authority figure, I know exactly what the dynamic is.

Apologies; it was a typo.

Guys were teased for being nerds, geeks or virgins wayyyyy more than for being homosexual when I was in high school in the nineties. And that was an all male high school, full of testosterone.

When we called someone a " @#!*% " it was simply a derogatory remark. There was no implication that the person was gay. It was like calling him a “loser.” Why address only homosexual slang, when other derogatory terms are just as bad?

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