Bullied sexual minorities in schools more likely to carry weapons
A new study has found that members of sexual minorities in schools who reported carrying a weapon have higher odds of experiencing bullying and being victimized by bullies.
This study– which appeared online in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence— is based on previous research that showed how sexual minority youth are more likely to carry weapons both outside of and within schools.
However, no research has examined the degree that bullying and harassment is associated with weapon-carrying in this group.
Sexual minorities that carry weapons experience more bullying
According to the study, the minority student populations– especially those from the sexual minority youth– have disproportionate experience with regard to bullying and bullying victimization.
“Pediatricians should recognize that experiencing bullying and feeling unsafe are associated with weapon carrying, particularly among sexual minorities,” said study author Carl Streed, Jr., assistant professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).
Researchers of the study used the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to examine the prevalence and likelihood of carrying weapons by sexual identity.
In particular, they examined self-report of adverse experiences, i.e. being bullied and skipping school due to fear for personal safety. Afterwards, they performed an analysis to estimate the odds of carrying a weapon.
Based on sexual identity, 21.8 percent were gay or lesbian students that reported carrying a weapon in the past 30 days. These were followed by 18.5 percent who were bisexual and 17.4 percent who were “not sure.”
In comparison, 14 percent were heterosexual that reported carrying a weapon in the past 30 days.
Sexual minorities not getting enough support from adults
This result is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance results for 2019 showing that many LGBTQ young people continue to suffer higher health and suicide risks.
Analyzing CDC’s data from 2015 and 2017 as well, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) noted that as compared to their straight peers, LGBT young people experience more victimization, violence, and suicidality.
“This data continues to make clear a truth that we’ve long known– that LGBTQ students are not getting the support, affirmation and safety they need and deserve,” said Ellen Kahn, HRC Senior Director for Programs and Partnerships.
“We must ensure that adults are doing everything possible to support LGBTQ youth, especially those who are living at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities,” Kahn said.
Other studies on LGBT young people, bullying, and suicide
The CDC also reported that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth consider suicide at almost three times the rate and almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide as compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
Meanwhile, the Family Acceptance Project reported that lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults that reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide.
Further, the 2017 GLSEN National School Climate Survey showed that more than half of LGBTQ students or 59.5% reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
Likewise, 4 in 10 students or 44.6% felt unsafe because of how they expressed their gender.