One of the problems that parents of gay children encounter includes bullying from other family members and peers at school and work. Teen suicides related to gay bullying is one of the sensitive LGBT issues nowadays that need special attention. So, what exactly is gay bullying? What are its possible effects? How can you support a gay child who's being bullied? Find out below.
In general, bullying is generally defined as being repeatedly subjected or exposed to intentional negative actions of a certain individual or a group of people. Negative actions can come in the form of threats, direct insults or sometimes, physical violence. In addition to this, gay bullying usually includes sexual assault and harassment. Recent studies and researches have shown that almost 80 percent of the LGBT community experience gay bullying at some point in their lives.
Gay bullying has various effects to gay children; it ranges from self-esteem problems to suicidal tendencies. Almost, but not all, gay children react negatively to gay bullying. Negative effects include feelings of isolation, low self-esteem, depression and thoughts or actions related to suicide.
Aside from the ones mentioned above, gay bullying can also lead to higher incidences of marijuana and alcohol use. Gay teens usually get involved in these kinds of vices as a way of coping.
Here are five strategies to deal with bullies:
1. Be a Good Role Model
The lack of support from the family and the community can further worsen the effects of gay bullying. As a parent, it is important for you to not to get affected by the negativity from the bullying as well. You should be a good role model to your gay teen.
2. Encourage Confronting the Bully
Confronting the bully is one of the most effective ways to deal with all forms of gay bullying. However, do not confront the bully yourself. Ask and encourage them to be up front with the bully involved. Bullies feed on your gay child's fear and lack of conviction so it is best for you to tell your gay child to talk and make it known to the bully that he is not afraid. Once your gay child stands tall by himself, the bullies will more or less leave him alone.
3. Report to the Authorities
Reporting to the authorities is another way of fighting off bullies. Encourage your gay child to report whatever case of bullying he encounters at school. He needs to know that it's okay to report bullying right away to teachers, guidance counselors or even the school principal.
4. Talk to Your Child
You can also talk to your gay child that it's okay to be different and there's really nothing wrong in being a homosexual or transsexual. Assure his that being different from other people does not have to be something he should hide and be embarrassed about. The moment he understands that it is alright to be different, the greater the likelihood of him being able to deal with a bully.
5. Encourage Honesty
Lastly, it is also best to encourage your gay child to be honest. At
first, he might tell you that there's nothing wrong and lie about the
bullies not bothering him. Tell your child that you won't be able to
help him deal with bullying if he doesn't talk about it openly to you
and other family members.