by Madalina Olteanu, Bucharest

by Madalina Olteanu, Bucharest

LGBT and bullying

03 May, 2019

by Madalina Olteanu, Bucharest

Childhood can take a toll on a person's mind if trauma occurs, especially when it comes to bullying. Since it has always been present in the world, its effects are clear regardless of the nationality, sex and age of the one who is being picked on, proving that education is essential and can never be provided 'too early'.

The tendency of assuming sexual orientation that parents have ever since their children learn to interact with others is rather obvious, even from kindergarten - the way they talk about their children's 'crushes' and the way they support them in this aspect, all while saying it's only 'child's play' reflects their hopes of having an offspring that never questions societal standards.

But how is this damaging? Firstly, it creates an unrealistic image of how people should be in a child's eyes. Boys like girls, girls like boys and that's about it. Anything else is just an early deviation that should be looked down on - it will probably disappear once maturity occurs, so there's no reason to worry about it.

Sadly, things aren't that simple. Schools have been burying tens of years of abuse, with no one even thinking about the consequences. For example, high school students from the North Bend School District, which is 100 miles away from California, have reported that gay and lesbian students had to go through constant bullying and received punishments from the school's principal just because of being a part of the LGBT community. These punishments consisted in forcefully reading the Bible.

Another sound example would be the situation of LGBT students in the Philippines, where a Child Protection Policy had to be designed in order to diminish the cruelty gay students had to face just because of their orientation. They also passed an Anti-Bullying law in 2013, in the hope of preventing further harm.

However, things aren't looking better in 2019. Recently, a young American boy of 15 committed suicide because of anti-gay bullying, catching the attention of numerous celebrities who donated for the boy's funeral and showed support for his grieving mother. One of the celebrities had even attended the Miami Beach pride parade 10 days prior to the incident.

The 2014 Romanian study 'The phenomenon of bullying in schools' showed that almost half of Romanian children (%46) have been victims of this vicious behavior, while also stating that most schools don't even take bullying seriously. This makes you wonder - if children are being picked on regardless of the reason why it happens, what could gay children possibly go through, given the general mentality?

Bullying has always had an incredible impact on people's self-esteem and perspective, this being one of the main reasons why most gay children suffer from depression, social anxiety and have trouble integrating. This is also one of the main reasons why so many of them end up having unhealthy coping mechanisms during adulthood, maybe without even realizing it. So how can we, as a society, get rid of such a toxic practice? Nothing but love, respect and education could save the youth - and the change starts from the very comfort of each family's home.