Homophobic Bullying in Schools

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Updated: Aug 21, 2023
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Bullying is defined as hostile behavior due to power variation. A motivation of bullying is prejudice, which can originate from a belief about a certain religion, race, or sexual orientation. Similar to cyberbullying, homophobic bullying has become more prominent in schools in recent years. In a 2016 study conducted by Toomey and Russell, 16.5% of homosexuals aged between 13 and 21 had been physically assaulted because of their sexuality. Strikingly, 49% of these students had experienced cyberbullying. In a 2006 observational study by Rivers and Cowie, 82% was found to be verbal abuse.

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Homophobic bullying has detrimental consequences: anxiety, depression, academic consequences, and self-harm.

This study aims to recognize the predictors of homophobic bullying, analyze how views on both violence and homosexuality affect bullying, and observe how social interactions with gay people can affect these views. It is already known that boys are more likely to both be involved in homophobic bullying and hold negative views. The bullying often originates due to gender appearance. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that the more homosexual individuals a student meets, the less likely they are to bully. This effect was expected to have a stronger influence over boys. This longitudinal study selected students of varying races and socioeconomic backgrounds in Northern Spain from both public and private schools. Students completed a Homophobic Bullying Scale questionnaire with 34 sections which asked about both self-reported and observed homophobic bullying towards anyone perceived as homosexual. To observe correlations, students were also asked how many people they know who are gay or lesbian, and how often they have seen their parents making hostile comments about homosexuality.

Most correlations were found to be small. Interaction with LGBT individuals was notably related to both homophobic language at home and homophobic bullying in school. Homophobic language at home showed an impressive correlation to homophobic opinions. Homophobic stances and bullying were correlated with both exposure to bullying in school and parents’ opinions. Boys scored only marginally higher than girls in how homophobic views and bullying are related to social interaction and homophobic language at home. Moreover, adolescents who maintained homophobic stances were more prone to bully someone due to their homosexuality.

Results also showed that homophobic attitudes predicted homophobic bullying only in boys, whereas homophobic bullying predicted homophobic attitudes only in girls. Interestingly, girls exhibited less aggressive behaviors, even when they held negative attitudes about LGBT individuals. The study also found that students at schools where homophobic bullying was normalized were more likely to imitate this aggressive behavior. Girls’ perceptions of homosexuality are more shaped by knowing people with either positive or negative perceptions than boys. This means knowing someone who identifies as LGBT is more likely to change female than male perceptions, potentially due to more affable personality traits. In conclusion, homophobic bullying is becoming a more pressing issue in schools. The views of one’s family members and socializing with LGBT people can either prevent or encourage this bullying.

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Homophobic Bullying in schools. (2021, Oct 17). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/homophobic-bullying-in-schools/