Homophobic Bullying with Words

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The Effects of Homophobic Pejoratives and Verbal Abuse of Gay, Lesbian Bisexual High School Students Stephanie D. Butcher American Public University System


Intolerance of homosexuality can have serious psychiatric affects for gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers. Lesbian and Gay teenagers have high rates of assault, substance abuse, and suicide. This study examined the words most commonly used by a number of high school freshmen when “slagging someone off” or talking behind someone’s back in a negative manner. Homophobic responses were the highest. While some teens use words like “gay” loosely to describe things today, the casual use of homophobic words can have devastating effects on gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers.

While trying to deal with the everyday challenges of being a teenager, gay,lesbian,transgender and bisexual teens are additionally subjected to various forms of harassment,threats, as well as violence daily. Anti-gay slurs such as “homo”, “queer”, “faggot” and “sissy” are just a few of the terms these teens here on average about 26 times a day or about once every 14 minutes. (Bart,M. 1998) Homophobic bullying can have detrimental effects on a teenager’s mental health as well as their social developments. The use of verbal pejoratives directed at gay,lesbian, bisexual youths runs rampant in many parts of the world. Local and national media only broadcast the most severe cases where a teenager has either been murdered for his/her sexuality or the bullied victim has committed suicide or killed other students. Verbal abuse is more often ignored by schools until such tragedies occur forcing them to address the issue. The article I chose to review was titled “ Naming the “outsider within”: homophobic pejoratives and the verbal abuse of...