Our group has been inspired by Nicky Morgan’s article about homophobic bullying within schools, to write our own article and news piece about a similar topic. We feel that this is a serious subject that we need to talk about. A school is one of the worst places for bullying, fact. And as teenagers ourselves we know this. We have had experience ourselves with this and seen it all happen before. With exams coming closer and closer stress levels increase dramatically, students already have enough to have to put up with, without having to try and appeal to their peers. In a stressful time like this, the worst thing students need is to feel like they’re worthless and an outcast because of their sexuality. This can affect their results and then affect their whole future.
For many people, coming out can be one of the hardest times in their lives. In many situations they get too scared to tell people about their sexuality for fear of what others will think; their parents, their friends, their peers. A lot of them wonder things like: ‘Would they be accepting of it?’ and: ‘What would they think of me?’And one of the worst thoughts is: ‘Am I normal?’ People often associate being gay with being abnormal and a bad thing when it really isn’t. A lot of people are too scared to tell others about it therefore keep it bottled up inside of them, allowing it to build up and get worse and worse until it gets too much. We decided to ask people in our school what they think about it and we were impressed with the results.
We asked 3 of our peers their opinion on homophobia. The first said: “Homophobia is something I feel strongly about. It’s like putting someone into a room and saying to someone ‘You’re straight’ when they’re not. You can say they’re straight when they know they’re not, because they’re born that way and it’s not really their choice. You can’t blame someone for being the way they are.” – Abbie Year 10
We asked 2 of the same pupils how they would react if their friend told them they were gay,
“I would tell them to be them, and accept them for who they are”- Abbie
Josh said: “I think homophobia is fine in the modern world. It used to be known as a bad thing. But it’s practically fine it’s just two humans loving each other. If my friend told me they were gay I’d be completely fine with it, it’s their choice, their life, and they can live it how they want. I think there is more stuff schools could do about it, more counselling maybe, more understanding about the whole concept of it. I think in many schools its better now, but there is still a wide variety of bullying that goes against gay people. If someone called me gay I would probably shrug it off because being called gay isn’t really an insult, it’s like calling someone straight really. I don’t think anything would drive me to call someone gay because gay isn’t really an insult and it’s really not going to offend anyone in anyway, unless they find it personal towards them.”
We also asked a gay pupil in our school on their opinion: ‘How do you feel about homophobia?’ “I feel very strongly about it and I don’t think people should be treated any different because of something they can’t control. It’s like race. You can’t control to be black or white or Chinese or Indian so why should people be able to judge you and why should you judge others because of something they don’t have control over what so ever.”
‘Do you think homophobia is treated professionally in our school?’ “I think in our school it is treated professionally because when I’ve had problems in the past with homophobia the teachers have always been there to support me and they’ve always been there to punish the other people, and not just punish them but make them understand what they’ve done is wrong and they shouldn’t do it.”
‘Have you ever had any problems with homophobia? And have you ever been treated differently because of sexuality by your family?’ “I’ve had some problems in the past but not that many and whenever I’ve had problems like I’ve just said they were just at school and they were just pathetic people who were too small and weren’t clever enough to understand that people came differently. And it’s just all been sorted in the past and no I’ve never been treated any differently by my family, they’ve always loved me exactly the same as all my brothers and sisters”
‘Do you feel isolated?’ “When I first came out I did feel isolated but I’ve started to go out into the world and find other people and learn their story and talk to them and it’s really comforting to know that there are other people out there like me because obviously living in such a small town you can feel isolated if you are different. Things like Facebook and Instagram, just the internet generally helps you meet people who are like you.”
At the start of writing this we thought that homophobic bullying wasn’t a major problem within our school, but more outside of schools. As we progressed we discovered that homophobic bullying was an issue in our school, but it was dealt with well. We feel that people need to know that others are there for them, and that just because they’re gay doesn’t mean they can’t be their friend or their daughter or their son or their cousin, they’re still the same person. They never changed. They need to know that there is always someone to talk to. You don’t have to talk to your parents about it. If you’re too scared, you can talk to a teacher at your school or a friend you know wouldn’t judge you for it. There are also hotlines and people you can talk to anonymously, such as childline. Don’t bottle it up, be proud of who you are.