Who gets bullied more, gay kids or straight kids?
If you said gay, you're absolutely right.
This might not be all that surprising. Teens who not heterosexual are a distinct minority — even in the most progressive areas — and bullies invariably like to target those who are different from themselves.
What might be surprising, however, is just how much more likely gay kids are to be bullied compared to their straight friends.
According to the results of a poll published in the New England Journal of Medicine, gay kids are an astonishing 91 percent more likely to be bullied than straight kids. The poll also found that that gay kids are 43 percent more likely to become the victims of violence.
The paper made these conclusions after analyzing three other studies about bullying in large metropolitan areas.
This comprehensive examination studied kids as young as 11. The students were surveyed again a few years later. The researchers found a very strong connection between a child's sexual orientation and the amount of bullying he or she suffered. Most of the bullying, they found, happened in the children's younger years.
With results like these, it may come as no surprise that other studies have found that LGBT youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than straight children, according to The Trevor Project. Black or Hispanic gay kids, meanwhile, are twice as likely to attempt suicide than white gay kids.
"Our findings underscore the importance of clinicians routinely screening youth for bullying experiences, remaining vigilant about indicators of possible bullying (e.g., unexplained trauma and school avoidance), and creating a safe environment in which youth feel comfortable discussing their sexuality," the authors note in the paper. "Further research could determine the effectiveness of incorporating the experiences of sexual minorities into general school-based anti-bullying programs."
If you are LGBT and getting bullied, please hang in there. Life does go on, and there are fabulous things up ahead for you. Do not give up.
It absolutely might not seem like it at the time, but high school does end. The bullying does go away. It does get better with time.
Straight students, meanwhile, need to stand up for their classmates who are being bullied and help put an end to it.
[Image credit: iStockphoto]