While National Coming Out Day will celebrate 30 years on October 11, a recent study found that 42 percent of LGBT youth say their communities are not accepting of them.1 So what can parents and educators do to protect the rights of these students in the face of bullying?
Daniel Cinotti, Ph.D., assistant professor of School Counseling at New York Institute of Technology, trains school counselors and educators to advocate for these students and their families by identifying and addressing LGBTQ bullying within their schools.
“The bullying of LGBTQ students can be something as simple as addressing students with the incorrect pronouns in the case of transgender students, to physical violence, cyberbullying, and exclusion,” said Cinotti. “Educators, parents, and even students can be trained, in accordance with state laws, to identify these incidents and proactively step in when they occur.”
Statistics show that LGBTQ students are at high risk for victimization, with lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth in grades 7-12 more than twice as likely as their heterosexual peers2 to attempt suicide. Additionally, a study conducted by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found that 30% of transgender youth had a history of suicide attempt3.
“With smart phones in the pocket or backpack of nearly every student, there are more opportunities and tools for harassment than ever before. But any educator or school counselor, regardless of his or her individual beliefs, is required to step in and be a resource for LGBTQ students,” says Cinotti.