We all know that bullying has become more than just a problem that every kid must go through. Bullying has transformed in a catalyst that contributes to the suicide deaths youths in this country at an alarming rate. LGBT youths are especially susceptible to bullying and suicide because of the existing difficulties of being gay along with homophobia and harassment. The question here is which method is more effective in killing our LGBTQ youth, physical bullying or cyber-bullying?
Before we go any further a few stats are in order to show this discussion has not come a moment too soon in saving LGBTQ young people from torment and an isolated death. These statistics come from The Trevor Project which all are encouraged to learn more about and get involved wherever you can.
LGB youth are 4 times more likely, and questioning youth are 3 times more likely, to attempt suicide as their straight peers. (2011, CDC, “Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance”LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are up to 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection. (2010, Family Acceptance Project™ “Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults”)Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt (2007 , The American Association of Suicidology, Grossman, D’Augelli, “Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors”)
Approximately 20% of the students report experiencing cyberbullying in their lifetimes.Mean or hurtful comments (13.7%) and rumors spread (12.9%) online are the most common types of cyberbullying.
Let’s start this discussion off with physical bullying. In this case "physical" refers to a person having to be in the presence of the one being bullied. This form of bullying will take place more at school or away from home in regards togay youth. This also means bullying is limited to one person to a small clique but the harassment, whether it be physical touching or verbal, is done right there in front of the child’s face. They go to school, with impending doom, knowing they are going to suffer this torment daily. In most cases, one can understand why a child would feel like death is the only way out.
Cyber-bullying deals with internet and mobile phones. Now that this world is connected to each other, in degrees closer than we could possibly imagine, nobody is safe from being bullied including gay youth. The internet is a place where those who are socially awkward and not belonging can find a place to be “accepted” within social media. Unfortunately, bullies have found their way into this venue as well which dispels the myth that bullies are just dumb sport types that care more about popularity than grades.
A bully, on the internet, has virtually unlimited resources and methods to harass a gay teen. The torment doesn’t stop when gay youths leave school. It continues in the place where someone, who is gay, can find peace. A bully literally can have thousands of people join into the cause of constant torture to an LGBT young person through data and wireless means. Also social media can allow more people to connect and take the disturbance from cyber-space back to the physical form of bullying. That means more people to help with "in your face" harassment of a gay youth to send them to the afterlife.
Which one of these methods is more effective in guiding gay teens to the path of suicide the fastest? Is it standard bullying which includes physical and verbal methods or is it cyber-bullying where the masses of thousands can come together to take pleasure in a gay young person’s pain?
Whether the dirty work is done in person, online or both; the LGBTQ youth of today are dying by their own hand from a disease that parents and adults want to label as “growing pains.” Hopefully they know you can’t grow if you are dead.