Friday, February 27, 2009
I got some not-so-good news about our LGBT teens of color and their experiences in school.
The report, "Shared Differences" reveals some interesting info:
• Biased barbs: More than 80 percent of LGBT youth of color often heard the phrase "that's so gay" or similar uses of "gay" at school to put people down. Two-thirds heard "faggot," "dyke" and other anti-gay name-calling.
In a particularly alarming finding, more than half of these students said they had heard teachers, principals or other adults at their school make homophobic remarks.
• Ignored cries for help: Only about one-fifth of students reported that school officials "most of the time" or "always" stepped in when anti-gay remarks were made in their presence.
Report co-author Joseph Kosciw says some educators are sending the message that anti-gay remarks "aren't just tolerated in school but acceptable."
Only about one in 10 students of color said other students stepped in when they heard anti-gay comments.
• Frightened: More than half of these students said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; one-third said they felt unsafe because of how they express their gender.
Close to half of the students surveyed said they had been physically harassed or assaulted in the past year in school because of their sexual orientation.
But this experience varied widely by race and ethnicity: 33 percent of LGBT African Americans said they'd been subject to physical violence in school. Among LGBT Native American students, the percentage was 54 percent.
• Who am I? : Fourteen percent of LGBT students of color said their school books include information about gay issues, and only 11 percent said their school work has included positive portrayals of gay people.
This is very disheartening and very telling about why HIV is running wild in our community. Why the their self-esteem is severely damaged, and why many LGBT people of color are not out and proud.
This has to change.