Stand Up! - Don't Stand for Homophobic Bullying
How to Stand Up to Homophobic Bullying
Unfortunately, many people face homophobic bullying at school or work, in public, or even at home. You can make a difference and make school and other places safer. Intervene when someone is being bullied and say something. If need be, get other people involved or talk to an adult in authority. When talking to the victim of bullying, be kind and validating of their experience. If you’re wanting to make a larger impact, get involved in advocacy in your school and community.
Confronting the Bully
Intervene immediately.Don't allow a bully to continue harassing someone for being or appearing homosexual. If you see or hear something, do something right away. Don’t wait for someone else to step in, be a leader and step up.
- Being gay should never be the butt of a joke. Whether it’s true or not, it’s disrespectful to make someone feel undervalued.
- You can say, “What’s going on here?” If you’re being bullied, say, “Why would you say that?”
- If the person who is being bullied asks you to stand down, then respect the request. Just make it clear that what you observed was not appropriate and that you support the person being bullied.
Say something.If you hear someone bullying another person or making a joke about someone being gay, let them know you find their words offensive. Let them know that their behavior is wrong and hurtful. If you’re being bullied, you can stand up for yourself, too.
- Say something like, “It’s not okay to say that,” or, “That’s not the kind of thing you make fun of. Not cool.” If you’re standing up for someone else, say, “Don’t gang up on her like that.”
Tell an adult in authority.If you’re scared, unsafe or are unable to intervene for someone or to stand up for yourself, say something to an adult or authority figure, like a teacher, parent, or employer. Say something right away. Tell them what was said, who said it, and to whom. Ask them for help as soon as possible.
- For example, say, “Jordan is making fun of Mal and calling them gay. Can you come quickly?”
- Make sure someone with authority intervenes or learns of the incident. This might be a school principal or dean. If bullying occurs at a workplace, tell a manager or human resource person.
- If the first adult you tell about the incident is dismissive, then find a different adult and tell them.
Handle online bullying.Some people use social media to bully others. If bullying occurs on social media, take a photo or screenshot of it for evidence. If possible, report the inappropriate content to the website, your parents, law enforcement, and/or another authority figure who can do something about it.It’s up to you if you want to respond to the remarks. You might say, “Not cool” or, “Please delete this. It’s offensive.”
- If you’re a parent, inform the school and/or the bully’s parents of the behavior.
Helping a Victim
Involve others.If other people are around, rally them for support. If several people come to the person’s aid, the bully will likely back off. There’s strength in numbers. If you’re being bullied, avoid going places alone and try to have someone with you between classes or at lunchtime. Whatever you do, don’t escalate the situation and bully back. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
- Have multiple people telling the bully to back off or stop bullying. People can say, “Leave her alone” or, “Back off.”
- Try repeating to yourself, "Only an insecure person bullies others," to stay assertive without bullying the person in return.
Lead the person away.Interrupt the bully or call the person being bullied away. You can also lead them away from the bully. If the person is shaken up, put your arm on their shoulder and walk with them. The important thing is to get them away from the situation.
- Simply say, “Hey, come over here.” You can also say, “You don’t need to listen to that” or, “I need your help with something.”
- If you’re the one being bullied, find an escape route. Look for a friend to walk with or get out of there on your own.
Reassure them.Make sure they know that people care about them. Not everyone is homophobic or wants to hurt them. In fact, lots of people are likely willing to support them for who they are, regardless of their sexuality. Say that sexuality is never something to make fun of and is really not anyone’s business.
- Just because one person is hateful doesn’t mean all people are hateful. Remind the person that they are loved and care for by many other people.
- Try extending a kind gesture, such as inviting them to lunch or writing them a supportive note. This can be extremely helpful for the person.
Supporting Social Change
Start or join the Gay-Straight Alliance.Many schools have a club called the Gay-Straight Alliance. The goal of this organization is to bring respect to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. People who are LGBTQ and those who are straight can unite to support one another. People who are straight can learn to be allies to LGBTQ people and stand up for them when they feel threatened or bullied.
- If your school doesn’t have a Gay-Straight Alliance, you can start one! Contact the organization to learn more.
- If you’re a teacher, offer to volunteer as a staff member.
Enlighten the ignorant.Even bullies can change their minds with some thoughtful conversation. However, don’t go right into talking about facts and statistics. Get a person to be more open-minded by having them share something about themselves. Bonding over a project, shared interest, or goal can help to bring people closer together. By reflecting on something that makes them feel good (like a success, positive feedback, or a great experience), people tend to be more open-minded to other perspectives and ideas.Then, talk about how bullying is hurtful, and that sexuality is none of their business.
- If someone makes a homophobic joke or slur, be quick to shut it down. Even when meant to be funny, these comments can be hurtful.
- If you’re a parent or teacher, correct any inappropriate comments and make sure kids know it’s not okay to joke about gender identity or sexuality in a negative way.
Show your support.If you know someone who gets bullied, ask them what you can do to help. They may want someone walking with them to classes or have someone to sit next to on the bus. Be available to people who are bullied and be an advocate for them. If you are being bullied, don’t be afraid to reach out to people for help.
- Let them know you’re willing to be there for them and stand up for them.
Participate in activism.Get involved in campaigns that encourage people to stand up to homophobic comments. Spread awareness of LGBTQ issues, mental health problems, and personal safety.
- November 14-18 is Stand Up Awareness Week Against LGBTQ Bullying. See if you can get involved in your school or local LGBTQ safe space.
- See if there are local organizations in your town that support LGBTQ rights and awareness and join in.
QuestionWhat biblical references support LGBT?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI don't know the exact verses, but several places in the bible say that you must love everyone ("love thy neighbors"). Also, one of the main stories in the bible is obviously about Jesus dying for our sins. In this story it says that no matter what the sin, they are all equal, and there is nobody except for Jesus and God himself that haven't sinned. So, even though the bible says that homosexuality is a sin, so is lying, and who hasn't lied before?Thanks!
QuestionMy friends and classmates are calling random things gay, and it's really hurtful. They just tell me it's a joke and brush it off. The teachers won't do anything about it at all. What should I do?Christine CanigulaCommunity AnswerTell them you don't think that word should be used as an insult or a joke, seeing as somebody in this class or one of their friends could be gay, and it could hurt their feelings. You can take this to your parents or your principal if this continues.Thanks!
- If the person expresses a desire to hurt themselves, take this seriously. They may actually mean it. LGBTQ kids are at a significantly higher risk for suicide than heterosexual kids.
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