Anti-bullying programs in school are not only for the benefit of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-identified, and questioning youth. Policies that take a zero-tolerance position regarding anti-gay bullying benefit all students. Homophobic bullying is a health and safety concern for all students. Insisting that our schools are safe zones for gay, bisexual, and trans-identified students helps ensure schools are safe for everybody.
A School Psychology Review
article “’You’re So Gay!’: Do Different Forms of Bullying Matter for Adolescent Males?” mentions a study of over 250 students in grades 9 to 11. The study found when teenaged boys were bullied by being called gay they experienced “greater psychological distress, verbal and physical bullying, and more negative perceptions their schools” than when teenaged boys were bullied for other reasons.
“Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence,” an article published in the American Behavioral Scientist
, contains a discussion of the random school shootings in the United States. Twenty-eight shootings between 1982 and 2001 were reviewed. All of the shooters were white, male teenagers. There seems to be no evidence any of the shooters was gay. In almost every case the shooter was described as having been constantly bullied, beaten-up, and “gay-baited.” The shooters were bullied, because their behavior was not seen to be masculine enough.
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The California court of appeal ruled in favor of Proposition 8, effectively banning same-sex marriages in the state of California. Fortunately, the court ruled that same-sex marriages performed when same-gender marriages in California were legal are still valid, legal marriages.
While gay and bisexual people in the United States are struggling to gain the right to marriage, the struggle for justice is more related to safety concerns outside of the major western democracies. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in many developing countries suffer extreme persecution.
Within Jamaica, homophobia starts at the very top. In a British Broadcasting Corporation interview, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, tries to defend his position that no gay person will be a cabinet member his government. The Prime Minister says he is not sure he wants to live in a country where gay people will ever be able to serve in the cabinet. A minister in the Jamaican Government, Ernest Smith, claims gay people have formed organizations, that they are “abusive” and “violent” on the streets. He goes on to claim that the Jamaican constabulary (police) has been “overrun by homosexuals.” His comments can be seen in a Brianmaxw You Tube video.
In a You Tube video, a gay Jamaican policeman discusses what it is like to be openly gay in the Jamaica. He reports being beaten up by policemen. Another You Tube video is about a battyman (gay man) being beaten up by a crowd of people. Evidently, a crowd of people were using stones and sticks to assault the gay man. According to the video, the police had to fire warning shots to get the crowd to disperse the crowd.
Gay or bisexual people vacationing in Jamaica are advised to be very careful. Being openly gay in Jamaica could be dangerous.
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