Bullying, Sexual Orientation & Prejudice

A survey was conducted and reported by Jen Moore in Youth Today (January,
2008) in which Latino parents were questioned about their interactions with their
children around the subject of bullying. The study was part of the nonprofit mental
health America’s Initiative, funded by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, to
reduce anti-gay prejudice and bullying, and to promote the mental wellness of
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth by improving parent-child
communication on those topics.
Despite the fact that 95 percent of Latino parents believe that their children should
get information about sexual and gender orientation from their parents, as opposed
to other sources, two-thirds of them haven’t had such conversations with their
In interviews with more than 500 Latino parents with children 17 and under they
found that:
 Nearly two-thirds feel it is important for parents to teach their children that it
is wrong to treat other people differently because they are-gay-meaning that
more than one-third disagreed with the idea that such teaching is important
 Seven in ten feel only “somewhat”, “not very” or “not at all” prepared to talk
with their children about g ay people
 If told by their children that a classmate was bullied for being gay, more than
one-third of Latino parents said they would talk to their children about the
situation, one –third would teach their children how to handle the situation,
and about one-quarter would treating the bullied child
 More than three-quarters of Latino parents feel it is harmful for children to
tease each other about being gay, whether the object of the teasing is
actually gay or not.
However, many Latino parents didn’t see such bullying as a common problem.
 Nearly one-quarter did not recognize that the bullying of gay students occur
at all;
 Nearly half either “did not know” whether such bullying occurs or said it
occurs “occasionally” or “sometimes”.
 Just over one-quarter recognized that such bullying happens “often” or “all
the time”
According to the report, experts day that perceived or actual homosexuality and
gender nonconformity are two of the top three reasons teens are bullied (the third is

the victim’s appearance) increasing those teens risk for anxiety disorders,
depression, and suicide.
Studies indicate that LGBT youth are at least twice as likely to attempt suicide as
their same-sex peers
The study’s authors note that LGBT youth of color- so called “minorities within
minorities”- are at a greater risk of bullying due to increased levels of prejudice.