Stamp Out Bullying

  NOBODY.....should have to live with being bullied just because they different.  Sometimes kids say things and make fun of other kids, not realizing how cruel it is and hurtful it is.   Put yourself in the other person's shoes - if you wouldn't like being treated that way, then why do you think others would?   If you are a teen who is being bullied, TALK to someone about it, call the hotline listed at the bottom of this page - but don't keep taking it and don't continue to suffer in silence because you're afraid.  Having the courage to speak up and get help may save your life.  If you are a teen who has observed others bullying or making fun of someone, report it to a teachers, parents, school officials or local authorities so corrective action can be taken and measures put in motion to prevent it.  Start a group at school to make others aware that bullying is wrong and won't be tolerated.  If you know someone who is a victim of bullying, step up to the plate, be their friend and try to help and support them.  It's a tragic thing to live life thinking that everyone hates you.   Being gay or being different in other ways is not a reason to hate someone.  Despite what some of the religious and political leaders claim, being gay isn't wrong, it's not a crime, it's not a disease. It's the way some people are born.  People don't have any control over the color of their eyes, hair or skin, and they don't have any control over sexual orientation either.  It's just a part of who they are.  And they shouldn't have to live in fear because of that.  Every life is precious. Every person is unique and special in their own way.  So PLEASE.....let's all work together to stamp out bullying and make the world a safer place for everyone.

The following is an excerpt from an article in Ladies Home Journal:

 September 9: Billy Lucas, age 15, of Greensburg, Indiana, hanged himself from the rafters of his family's barn. September 19: Seth Walsh, 13, of Tehachapi, California, hanged himself from a tree in his yard. September 22: Tyler Clementi, 18, a Rutgers University freshman, jumped off the George Washington Bridge in New York City. September 23: Asher Brown, 13, of Houston, Texas, shot himself in the head. These four boys didn't know each other, but they did have something in common. They'd been bullied at school, and one by one, they all apparently came to the same conclusion: If you're gay or thought to be gay, life just isn't worth living.

September's gruesome trend raised pressing questions. Homosexuality appears to be more widely tolerated than ever: Fifty-two percent of Americans consider it morally acceptable, according to a recent Gallup poll. Kids can join gay-straight alliance groups at more than 4,000 high schools and more than 150 middle schools nationwide and find advice and support online. Yet according to the Journal of Adolescent Health, about one-third of gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens report an attempt at suicide. Why are so many still driven to try to take their own life?

"Despite recent cultural shifts, kids still get the overwhelming message from society that homosexuality is not acceptable," says Scott Quasha, PsyD, a professor of school psychology at Brooklyn College. It's not uncommon to hear fierce condemnation from politicians and preachers as they debate gay civil rights. Homosexuality is compared to incest, bestiality, even violent crime. "This trickles down into the schools, where bullying occurs," says Dr. Quasha. "A gay child is an easy target for classmates looking to make trouble."

Antigay bullying is something all parents should be concerned about, says Merle Bennett Buzzelli, who oversees the public school antiviolence program in Akron, Ohio. "The victims are not just students who are actually gay," she points out -- the abuse is also directed at straight kids who don't quite fit gender norms. Tomboyish girls and guys who show interest in, say, gymnastics or dance are often called the same names -- and subjected to the same ostracism and attacks -- as their gay and lesbian classmates. There's no evidence that Billy Lucas was gay, but he was "different," classmates said. Because of that, bullies called him "fag" and told him he didn't deserve to live. Of course, for kids who do experience same-sex attraction, the use of the word gay as an all-purpose put-down is just one more painful indication that they don't fit in, whether or not they look or act any different from their peers, says Dr. Quasha.

"Being a teenager is tough enough," says Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), a national organization. "There's so much peer pressure. And when you're constantly getting messages that you're not okay, the pressure can just be too much. For some kids, it's hard to imagine that life will ever get better."

 If you are a victim of bullying and feeling hopeless or helpless or know someone that is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) exit disclaimer.

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