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  1. #1
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    Sexuality and Gender Boundaries in Bullying

    One of the major issues in bullying among young people is an intolerance for diversity in sexuality in gender. What can be done about this?

    I read an interesting paper recently that said the term "gaybashing" should give way to the term "genderbashing." This idea is based on the idea that many instances of violence against gays, lesbians and bisexuals is actually due to the mob mentality's desire to police gender boundaries - that is, not because they actually see a man having sexual contact with another male, but because they see a male who doesn't fit in with their idea of what a male should be. This author felt that "gaybashing" should apply only when the mob was responding to witnessing an actual homosexual act. The importance here is that sexuality is not the same thing as gender, and not only homosexuals can be "genderbashed" - the victims just act in ways the in-crowd feels is outside the norms of their assigned gender/sex, regardless of their actual sexual preference.

    This does not in any way diminish the hatred directed towards the LGBTQ community. Nor am I suggesting that even if this violence was "merely" directed at LGBTQ persons would it be ok. I am trying simply to point out that this is a much larger issue than just an intolerance for sexual preferences - it reaches deeply into how we gender-train our children and how narrowly we allow children to define their sexuality and gender. And how these narrow definitions are not only causing them insecurity but inspiring violence amongst our kids and youths.

    So, after that long preamble... why is it that kids and young people can't accept people who act outside these norms? What, as parents, are we doing to impress upon them that only people with short hair and blue clothes, for example, are "real boys," and why do they feel the need to harass boys who fall outside this narrow definition?

    Why do challenges to gender norms inspire such venom?

    I think we as parents need to monitor how we talk about these things in front of our kids - do we criticize or make fun of people based on these things? (Do we call women we don't like "butch" or "slut," for example? Do we call our sons "wimps" if they cry more than we'd like?)

    I think gender norms are amongst the most common issues with bullying - either kids are bullied for being too "girly" (boys) or too "butch" (girls), or for girls who are seen as too sexually aggressive or boys who don't seek to conquer every female they spot. Kids who express themselves outside society's acceptable boundaries can be put through hell.

    Any thoughts?


    ***

    Citation for the article referenced can be found here:
    http://www.envplan.com/abstract.cgi?id=d140221
    Last edited by WhyaDuck?; 04-04-2010 at 07:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Gender norms are indeed a HUGE problem with bullying. I don't think it matters what it's called, though, really. Gay bashing, gender bashing, or just plain hate.

    I agree that a lot of the problems stem from how the adults speak. Anyone who doesn't fit into the gender stereotype typically is called some sort of name, whether it is meant in a harmful way or not. Calling something "so gay", when it should be called "stupid" or "ridiculous" or whatever other proper word. It makes them associate the word "gay" with being stupid or bad.

    I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say on this subject, but right now, my brain is mush. So I'll just leave it with remembering Lawrence King, a 15 year old who was shot, during school by another student, for his gender expression.

    http://www.rememberlarry.com/

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idaho4Groenes View Post
    Gender norms are indeed a HUGE problem with bullying. I don't think it matters what it's called, though, really. Gay bashing, gender bashing, or just plain hate.

    I agree that a lot of the problems stem from how the adults speak. Anyone who doesn't fit into the gender stereotype typically is called some sort of name, whether it is meant in a harmful way or not. Calling something "so gay", when it should be called "stupid" or "ridiculous" or whatever other proper word. It makes them associate the word "gay" with being stupid or bad.

    I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say on this subject, but right now, my brain is mush. So I'll just leave it with remembering Lawrence King, a 15 year old who was shot, during school by another student, for his gender expression.

    http://www.rememberlarry.com/
    Thanks for bringing that up, I4G! That whole "it's so gay" thing is really awful - I always ask people what they'd say if the expression was "that's so Jew" instead.

    Making these things pejoratives, even casually and without the intent to harm, is extremely damaging.

  4. #4
    Underline by me on the article below.

    Today is the 1-year anniversary of 11-year-old Carl's suicide. He endured anti-gay taunts, even though he did not identify as gay. Rest in peace, Carl. May some positive end to bullying come from his death.


    Sirdeaner Walker and GLSEN Launch Anti-Bullying Petition

    On the anniversary of 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker Hoover’s suicide due to bullying, his mother Sirdeaner Walker and GLSEN have launched a petition and call to action in support of the Safe Schools Improvement Act, a federal anti-bullying bill with 101 bipartisan cosponsors.

    Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover took his life on April 6, 2009, after enduring constant bullying at school, including being called “gay” and a “******” despite the fact he did not identify as gay.

    http://www.passportmagazine.com/blog...-Petition.html

  5. #5
    Today is the National Day of Silence. Hundreds of thousands of students, grade school through university, take a vow of silence to bring attention to the anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in their schools.

    I participated in the Day of Silence for 2 years when I was in college. Great experience. And it really opens some eyes. We, and many other schools, generally did a "breaking the silence" celebration afterward, symbolizing that although we were silent for the day, now we will stand up and speak to end the silence and suffering.

    "Day of Silence - What are YOU going to do to end the silence?"

    http://www.dayofsilence.org/index.cfm

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idaho4Groenes View Post
    Today is the National Day of Silence. Hundreds of thousands of students, grade school through university, take a vow of silence to bring attention to the anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in their schools.

    I participated in the Day of Silence for 2 years when I was in college. Great experience. And it really opens some eyes. We, and many other schools, generally did a "breaking the silence" celebration afterward, symbolizing that although we were silent for the day, now we will stand up and speak to end the silence and suffering.

    "Day of Silence - What are YOU going to do to end the silence?"

    http://www.dayofsilence.org/index.cfm
    Thanks for this! It's so here today, as well. While I cannot do it with a toddler around, I have done it in the past, and have many friends who participate.

    Very worthwhile thing. Thanks for bringing it here.



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