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Views & Voices

LGBT kids do not choose to be bullied

Monday, January 23, 2012

The bullying of LGBT children has become a common theme of late, with state governments around the nation addressing this controversial topic.

Just this past Friday, Phillip Parker — a 14-year-old boy from Tennesseetook his own life because of the constant harassment and degradation that allegedly went unaddressed by school officials.

Countless others have taken their lives over the past few years, because of the torment that their fellow students inflict upon them because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.

In response too many of these tragic deaths, religious individuals across the nation have decided that instead of addressing the topic of LGBT bullying directly (a.k.a. punishing the bully), it is the fault of those students who are LGBT that they are being bullied. These people assert that if those students would be “normal” (straight), they would not be bullied. But because these children have “chosen” to be gay, it comes along with the territory that they would be bullied for that “choice.”

To these individuals, the increased rates of suicide, depression, and substance abuse of LGBT teens is a direct consequence of their choice in sexual orientation.

Because they believe that there is something inherently disordered about a homosexual sexual orientation or a differing gender identity, they “logically conclude” that such a disorder has other consequences — a gay kid commits suicide, not because he is bullied because of his sexual orientation, but because he knows that there is something intrinsically wrong with him. That the tormenting words of the bullies are true, that he is a “fag” and that he somehow made the choice to be one.

The psychological torment associated with such a belief drives many LGBT children to depression and even suicide.

When you are told that you have chosen something inherently disordered, yet do not even recall making that choice, you start to believe that there is something wrong with you; that you are “damaged goods”. To these children, there seems to be no hope, because no matter how hard they try, they cannot change the feelings and attractions that they have.

I know what the kids feel, because I have been there.

From my first recollection of having a “crush” (I was six, so I don’t know if crush is the best word) on the tour guide at Disney world, I knew that I was different. Though I was home schooled, and thus escaped much of the daily harassment that LGBT children go through, I was exposed to some through sports leagues.

I was told I was a sissy, a girl, and made fun of for sitting with my legs crossed (and this was in a religious league). I have known the hopelessness of being told that something was “wrong” with me, and that I was living in rebellion. I have tried to change my sexual orientation (8 months’ worth of trying), and could not make myself “normal.”

I barely escaped with my life, some days just wanting to end it all because I could not live with myself, knowing that I was gay, yet trying to come to grips with the messages that were being flung at me by my religious community, my family, and my friends.

In my last post, I discussed the notion of power when it comes to rights, responsibilities, and protections of vulnerable minorities. The new tactic by religious leaders, state legislators, and religious individuals of blaming the victim for anti-gay bullying ties well into this power framework.

If these individuals recognize that such bullying exists and that it must be addressed, their very conception of homosexuality and gender identity as “disordered” and “sinful” must also be addressed.

No longer will it be appropriate to tell these children that they made the choice to be gay and that they must live with the consequences of such a disordered choice, for instead such children will need to be protected and validated. Such validation goes against the entire pyramid of Judeo-Christian superiority, where ‘traditional morals’ must be enforced even if such morals destroy the lives of countless children, families, and churches.

Thankfully, the American public is waking up to the fact that bullying, no matter if it is because of ones’ sexual orientation, weight, race, or creed, is wrong. They know that the fault for bullying lies not with the victim, but instead with the oppressor.

And it is because of this that I know that the virulent rhetoric of fundamentalism, which blames the oppressed instead of the oppressor, is increasingly falling on deaf ears.

But till such voices are finally regulated to the fringe, I must ask — how many children must we lose before the American people fully recognize that being bullied because of one’s sexual orientation is wrong?

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know needs support, please don’t hesitate to call the Trevor Project‘s Lifeline at 866-488-7386.

© Kyle Luebke.
For more by Kyle Luebke, click here to visit his blog.
Opinions and advice expressed in our Views & Voices columns represent the author's own views and not necessarily those of LGBTQ Nation. We welcome opposing views and diverse perspectives. To submit a article, column or video, contact us here. Due to the volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee publication.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. no they dont.

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:00pm
  2. no kid deserves it

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:00pm
  3. EXACTLY what my college told me after I got death threats. I had the audacity to come out as trans, so that’s basically a free pass to hurt me, right?

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:01pm
  4. What Kristen said – NO ONE deserves to be bullied.

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:02pm
  5. yepper…i do not deserve to bullied either no matter where i’m at….

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:02pm
  6. These “religious” groups are not religious at all they are CULTS!!

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:02pm
  7. thats terrible…

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:02pm
  8. fight back.

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:03pm
  9. NO ONE deserves to be bullied.

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:04pm
  10. No one ever deserves to be bullied, everyones different in their own ways, and bullying really should end.

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:04pm
  11. someone needs to tell these chirstian cults that jesus is a zombie – as he came back form the dead….

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:11pm
  12. The title is nice, but the comments by the religious people in the article were upsetting. To say that a child who “chooses” to be gay should expect things to occur is asinine. As we all know no one chooses to be gay. And no one deserves to be bullied. Ever!

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:21pm
  13. thwy dont becoz some bulling causes suiside because the kids get tired of being bullied tht they give up and kill there selfes i mea n somethimes i feel tht way

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:21pm
  14. Sadly, in a lot of places homophobia is still much more acceptable than homosexuality. However, being gay isn’t a choice. We all are who we are. If you are gay, straight, bi, transgender and you are perfect the way you are. No one has the right to change you. Be who you are, be proud of who you are, love yourself for who you are! <3

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:23pm
  15. Did I miss something…..I didn’t read that part where Christ said it was ok to bully some select few. Making it harder for me to practice “love thy neighbor”. they make it so challenging to continue the love.

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:45pm
  16. I’d like to get hold of some of these……idiots, they would soon find out it’s not the LGBTQ people that they have to worry about.

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:53pm
  17. seriously? so the message that is essentially being said is that it’s still ok to bully (orientation aside). What type of teaching is that?

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 8:07pm
  18. can I just say, Duh

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 8:19pm
  19. Hallaluyer!

    Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 9:28pm
  20. I never did understand why LGBT kids are bullied and tormented so much, I find it very sad that we as a nation can’t see what is happening here. Wake up people and demand that LGBT people are protected against this.

    Posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 12:00am