Bullies target students experiencing ’same sex’ attraction

September 22nd, 2008 - 9:05 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 22 (IANS) Bullies provoked by homophobia or aversion to homosexuals target nine to 11 percent of students experiencing ’same sex’ attraction at school. Anne Mitchell, associate professor at Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) La Trobe University, said “these people are not necessarily gay and in fact many of them aren’t, but they’re all dealing with the issue”.

Young people struggling with this issue are often very isolated and become alienated from their school, church and families, and when accompanied by bullying the impact is profound, and leads to higher rates of self harm, Mitchell said, reports Sciencealert.

“The key to turning the situation around is to create a ‘zero-tolerance’ environment from staff in a similar way that racist behaviour and bullying is not tolerated. If that sort of ethos was established in the school a lot of the homophobic (aversion to homosexuals) bullying would die out,” she says.

“We have a long way to go before we get every school doing what is required on the ground to make them really safe for same sex attracted young people,” Mitchell said.

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