LGBT advancements have come a long way over the last decade, but there are still several areas of concern to direct attention to that need help in fixing. One such area that needs to be discussed more is bullying of LGBT people and the long-term mental affects bullying can have on queer people. New studies show that bullying has a devastating effect on the queer community.
A 2016 study conducted by Northwestern University found a direct correlation between young queer adults experiencing signs of depression, PTSD, and other mental health related issues and long-term bullying. The study found that 84.6% of queer youth had been subject to some type of victimization. The study also showed that long-term bullying effects don’t subside just because the ill treatment no longer occurs. Many reported developmental issues and a lack of being able to concentrate in school and life as direct results of bullying.
2013 taught us that LGBT kids are still being bullied at an alarming rate. The rash in teen suicides in the latter half of that year alone showed us that we need better programs and anti-bullying legislation in our schools and government. In a day and age when transgender people are being bullying, singled out, and told they cannot use a specific restroom, this is subjugated bullying at its worse. At a time when conservative lawmakers are trying everything in their power to roll back the advancement of gay rights in recent years, this bullying is felt by and reverberated across the queer community.
This is not something that is going away soon. Neither are the side effects of being bullied. Adults carry the effects with them and deal by self-loathing and depression. Other ways of adults coping with bullying have been through food, bulimia, drinking, drugs, cutting, and other self-harm. These negative feelings often evolve into much worse later on in life, and can body health related issues as well, such as ulcers, heart issues, high blood pressure, etc.
Here’s what we can do to combat this epidemic:
Stop being mean girls. Start with yourself and work your way through your friends circle. Stand up to bullying, teasing, name-calling, branding, social media abuse, and labeling. The sooner the gay community realizes we are all from different walks of life and that’s what makes us beautiful, and the fact that we stand stronger together than factioned and fractioned apart, the better. Queer people can continue to get shit done, like expanding hate crime legislation and tolerance education, changes in the workplace, for instance, if we stick together unified.
Most of us have experienced hate speech and rhetoric thrown in our faces. Just know that you are not alone. There is help out there for all of us. And if you see someone being bullied, step up, say something, and let that person who was an inadvertent victim know that she or he is not alone.