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Sexuality and Bullying

 
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Suicide claimed another young life on a recent September Saturday. Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old from Buffalo, New York, had been tormented for the past 12 months by cyberbullies who made disparaging comments with gay references.

Justin Aaberg, a gay 15-year-old from Champlain, Minnesota, hanged himself after being bullied. These young men join the list of tortured souls singled out because of their sexual orientation.

The U.S. Department of Education held its first ever bullying summit on August 11 and 12, 2011 in Washington, D.C. The goal of the summit was to engage both governmental and non-governmental agencies in the development of a national strategy to reduce and end bullying.

Bullying has existed in neighborhoods and schools for centuries. It is a problem that is not going away. With social networking, cyberbullying is becoming more rampant among children and teenagers.

An estimated one in seven students in kindergarten through Grade 12 is either a bully or has been a victim of bullying. About one quarter of all students in this same age group are the victims of bullying and harassment while on school property because of their race, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion or sexual orientation.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among children under the age of 14. Bullycide refers to suicide as the result of bullying.

Gay and lesbian teens are two to three times as more likely to commit suicide than other youths. It is estimated that 30 percent of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis.

Can understanding our own sexuality help prevent bullying? The World Health Organization defines sex as the biological and physiological characteristics which define men and women. Male and female are biological categories.

Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. Masculine and feminine are gender categories.

Gender identity is the internal sense that a person has of being male, female or a variation of the two.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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