A reader writes:
I find it interesting that the same behaviors we call "bullying" for young people can result in criminal and civil charges for adults. Even similar verbal assault in a work environment would likely fall under sexual harrassment laws binding to the employer. But for kids, it's simply the more benign word "bullying". I'm not suggesting kids be prosecuted as adults, but I wonder how much it normalizes the behavior and lets adult authorities off the hook.
From what I recall of of the few peer-reviewed journal articles out there, sexual orientation victimization (SOV) is visited on GLBT and non-GLBT young people alike.
It's defined as physical and verbal assault based on perceived homosexuality or gender nonconformity. Most victims have yet to identify as GLBT, particularly in middle school, where it is reportedly most intense. Randomized-controlled trials found that the health outcomes (depression, suicide ideation, substance abuse, school performance) to be significantly more pronounced for those who eventually identified as GLBT. Perhaps this is due to the greater likelihood of the gay young person internalizing the abuse. It may also be that perpetrators may eventually identify as GLBT themselves, thus calling into question what intervention is happening with perpetrators even if the abuse is reported to an authority.
It would seem a given that all victims would benefit, however targeted messages such as the one from Dan Savage would seem most beneficial and needed for those young people who eventually grow up gay.
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