What is homophobic bullying?

Homophobic bullying is persistent behavior that aims to humiliate people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

What is homophobic bullying?

Last update : January 14, 2023

Harassment has always been a challenge for cohabitation in educational institutions. Because the school is essential to promote a more egalitarian and tolerant society. Therefore, homophobic harassment represents an additional challenge, due to the numerous episodes of violence which happen. Let’s see what it’s all about.

Sexual affective diversity, what are we talking about?

sexual diversity refers to the plurality of emotional, affective and sexual practices and manifestations. Whether it is towards people of the same sex, of the opposite sex or both. Thus, all people are part of diversity.

However, according to some authors, such as Pecheny et al., not all diversities are respected, since a only model of experience of the body, of sexuality and affectivity is legitimized and recognized. And it has to do with the cisterosexual model. That is, a person interested or attracted to the opposite sex or gender and whose identity coincides with their genitalia or reproductive system.

All other existing gender expressions or identities are not considered hegemonic. This is why, on occasion, they are the object of ridicule, aggression and violence. In this sense, one of the modes of manifestation of this violence is homophobic bullying.

What is homophobic bullying?

Homophobic bullying refers to all behaviors that persist over time for the purpose of humiliating, harassing or inducing a feeling of inferiority in a person. This may be due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or behaviors considered inappropriate to their gender, among other things.

Even discrimination and violence occur on a real or apparent cause. In the latter case, for example, the mockery boys who have more feminine gestures or attitudes is common.

In addition, family members or children of same-sex couples may be teased. Thus, homophobic harassment can be expressed in different ways:

  • Exclusion and marginalization.
  • Insults and verbal aggression.
  • Humiliation.
  • Physical aggression.
  • Threat, blackmail and manipulation.
  • Harassment or sexual abuse.
  • Damage to victim’s property.

Characteristics of homophobic bullying

Homophobic bullying has some special characteristics. Among them, we can cite the following:

  • Because sexuality and diversity are still taboo in many places, sometimes people who are being harassed do not report it. The same goes for other passive spectators who, although they do not participate directly, by not reporting the situation, become accomplices.
  • In schools, in many cases, the teaching team is not informed or aware of the different realities experienced by the LGBTIQA+ collective. So when a situation arises, they don’t know how to act, and schools don’t have a protocol to do it either.
  • Most people are socialized from patriarchy and androcentrism. So that other diversities are made invisible and are considered out of the norm.
  • The LGTBIQA+ population is in a situation of greater vulnerability when there is rejection by his relatives.

How to detect a situation of homophobic bullying?

Some of the following characteristics allow us to understand if we are faced with a situation of homophobic bullying:

  • There exists a deliberate intent on the part of the abuser to humiliate, harass or harm to the victim.
  • It arises within the framework of an asymmetrical relation or power. For example, even if they are in a relationship, one of the people has more power or is in a position of advantage.
  • The situation of harassment, aggression and/or violence must occur persistently and repeatedly over time.
  • The act of harassment is directed against someone. Good that it can be perpetrated by one or more people.

What are the consequences of homophobic bullying?

The consequences of homophobic bullying can be both physical and mental. But we must also consider that, although they affect the victim more, they also have an impact on the whole environment. Let’s review the main ones:

  • Bullying affects self-esteem.
  • It affects academic performance.
  • He gives a feeling of fear and insecurity.
  • Harassment can lead to mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety or panic attacks.
  • In some cases, this can end in suicide.

On the other hand, it is important to take into account that not only the victim is affected, but also the rest of the students. Because it has an impact on school life. Likewise, the person who is harassing will not benefit either.

Can we talk about homophobia?

The best-known term for this constant situation of humiliation, aggression or harassment is homophobic harassment. However, the truth is that many authors prefer to speak of homonegativity. Because the phobia is a disorder, unlike hatred and prejudice, which are the engine of “thehomophobia“.

How to prevent homophobic bullying?

The responsibility to prevent homophobic harassment is collective. Also, since in most cases this happens in a school setting, it is important that all actors are involved. In this way, this phenomenon of violence which affects school cohabitation can be stopped.

It is not only necessary to pay attention to precise measures of action. But also prevent by raising awareness and training the entire educational community, including families. In this sense, it must be taken into account that many of these behaviors are learned at home. On the other hand, people from the LGBTIQA+ collective should also be promoted as references.

Finally, it is necessary to allow spaces for dialogue with the student so that he can feel confident in asking for help. Teachers should ultimately be trained to detect potential cases of bullying and understand how to act. To choose to do nothing is to clearly affirm that in the face of violence, there is no sanction.

This might interest you…

What is homophobic bullying?