More than half of queer teens in the UK are bullied at school according to The School Report by gay rights organization Stonewall. The study found that 55% of British youngsters aged between 11 and 18 experience homophobic bullying at school. Most shocking is that 56% of the surveyed 1,600 queer pupils have tried to deliberately harm themselves, including cutting and burning themselves. Almost 25% of those surveyed even tried to take their own life at some point (compared to 7% of all young people).
Despite the figures being down on the last report in 2007, which saw 65% of gay teens admitting to being victims of homophobic bullying, there has been little improvement in occurrences of anti-gay language; 99% said they hear phrases like ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ in school.
“I think some teachers – particularly those who were trained a while ago – think, mistakenly, that it is unlawful to teach children about homosexuality. Others dismiss homophobic bullying as banter,” said Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill. “When a child is bullied for having ginger hair or being black, at least parents or carers can provide support at home, but many young people who suffer homophobic bullying don’t have that. Many feel so isolated they withdraw from education.”
The Guardian has more on the topic…
Gay, transgender, and gender nonconforming youth are significantly over-represented in the American juvenile justice system—approximately 300,000 gay and transgender youth are arrested and/or detained each year, of which more than 60 percent are black or Latino. Though gay and transgender youth represent just 5 percent to 7 percent of the nation’s overall youth population, they compose 13 percent to 15 percent of those currently in the juvenile justice system.
These high rates of involvement in the juvenile justice system are a result of gay and transgender youth abandonment by their families and communities, and victimization in their schools—sad realities that place this group of young people at a heightened risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline.
Despite the disproportionately high rates of gay and transgender youth entering the juvenile justice system, America’s schools, law enforcement officers, district attorneys, judges, and juvenile defenders are not equipped to manage the unique experiences and challenges that these young people face. As a consequence, the system often does more harm by unfairly criminalizing these youth—imposing harsh school sanctions, labelling them as sex offenders, or detaining them for minor offenses—in addition to subjecting them to discriminatory and harmful treatment that deprives them of their basic civil rights.
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The Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, sometimes referred to as the “Kinsey Scale,” was developed by Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues Wardell Pomeroy and Clyde Martin in 1948, in order to account for research findings that showed people did not fit into neat and exclusive heterosexual or homosexual categories.
Interviewing people about their sexual histories, the Kinsey team found that, for many people, sexual behaviour, thoughts and feelings towards the same or opposite sex was not always consistent across time. Though the majority of men and women reported being exclusively heterosexual, and a percentage reported exclusively homosexual behaviour and attractions, many individuals disclosed behaviours or thoughts somewhere in between.
Graphic by Michael J DiMotta
As Kinsey writes in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948): “Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats…The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.”
The Kinsey Scale can’t be considered the ultimate measurement of sexual identity of course since it won’t tell you that someone might be sexually attracted to girls but romantically favouring boys or the other way around. Not to mention all the shades of the rainbow in-between gender, gender-identity, sexuality, attraction and so forth.