Homophobia is not a phobia most people are born with, it is taught through morals of parents and how they grew up. In recent years homophobia has been dwindling down with the recent laws past that make gay marriage legal in the states. However, it is still a very big factor within the school system. Many children are afraid to come out as gay or Bi because of the repercussions they can face due to their peers bullying them. In a report by Jamie Ducharme for Time magazine, Jamie tells of the unfortunate tale of a Nine-year-old boy’s death by suicide because he was bullied for coming out as gay. His mother had approached the child’s classmates about the issue when Jamel Miles, the Nine-year-old classmate, had first come out as gay. Jamel had first come out as gay over the summer to his family, so as the new school year had started he was facing a significant amount of bullying from his classmates.
Jamel is one of many children and teenagers who had faced a tragic end due to bullying. Children and teens who identify and a sexual minority such as any of the LGBT pronouns have an increased percentage of committing suicide because of the increased amount of bullying. In a study done by Nationwide Children’s Hospital and John Ackerman, a clinical psychologist and the prevention coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention it was uncovered that “An estimated 34% of gay, lesbian or bisexual kids face bullying at school, which may make them especially susceptible to suicidal behavior”(Ackerman). It was also found that an estimated 40% of high school students who identified as LGBT had considered suicide due to excessive bullying and ridicule.
While we are far from ending homophobia we can definitely address the issue with suicide prevention. The school system should react faster to occasions such as Jamels and many others by punishing the bully for their actions rather than brushing it off. Suicide prevention can be talk about in schools, as well as how bullying could truly affect someone. It can bring that person to the thought and possibility of suicide.
1. What are your thoughts about this situation?
2. What can we do as parents to prevent this from happening in the future?
Group: Aidan Littleton, Xenia Jimenez, Daniel chittenden