The Federal government defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”
LGBTQ Youth at Increased Risk
LGBTQ youth and those perceived to be LGBTQ are at an increased risk of being bullied. Bullying affects too many members of our Arizona LGBTQ community. At work, at school, and in our community, too many people are targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity–and one person is too many.
It is still legal in Arizona to fire someone or exclude them from an opportunity because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. One of Equality Arizona’s top priorities is fighting for non-discrimination protections to make this discriminatory practice illegal at both the municipal and statewide level.
We must also fight for anti-bullying protections within school districts all across the state, which include non-discrimination protections and guidelines for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Creating Safe Environments
The following is a list of ways to create safe environments for everyone, whether at work, at school, or in our community:
- Establish a safe environment at work, at school, at home that sends a message that we are all different and all unique. Celebrate the differences between us and a send a message that no one should be treated differently because of who they are.
- Talk about safety. Ask questions. Let the people in your life know they are supported, and that they can talk to you about anything.
- Get Involved. Volunteer for EQAZ or other local LGBTQ advocacy organizations to meet people with the same interests as you. Being connected to others can often help.
- Create support systems and alliances in your school or place of work for members of the LGBTQ community. Offering a specific way to get involved can provide an olive branch to those feeling isolated and alone. It can also be a way for people to advocate for protections and changes in our local community.
- Keep it to yourself. Respect people’s privacy and be careful not to discuss people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.