LGBT British and American Students Report Similar Bullying Experiences

By Charles Hicks

Originally published on Advocate.com July 05 2012 2:38 PM ET

More than half of British LGBT secondary school students report experiencing homophobic bullying, about the same as reported in a similar survey of American LGBT students.

The University of Cambridge's Stonewall School Report shows the amount of children reporting homophobic bullying has dropped 10 percentage points, to 55%, since 2007. Fifty-three percent of the 1,614 gay youth surveyed said they have been verbally harassed at school, and 16% say they have been physically assaulted.

A Human Rights Campaign survey of homophobic bullying in American schools that was released in June showed similar results.

Fifty-one percent of American gay youth say they have been verbally harassed at school, according to more than 10,000 young people surveyed, and 17% say they have been physically assaulted at school.

The two surveys also report a similar percentage of exposure to anti-LGBT language. Ninety-nine percent of British gay youth hear homophobic language in schools, according to the survey, and a quarter of gay young people report that teachers never challenge homophobic language.

This is almost identical to the HRC survey, which reported 92% of American gay youth say they hear negative messages about being LGBT, with school, the Internet, and peer interactions being the top settings for insult.

In addition, the Stonewall report included detailed information about psychological results of LGBT bullying.

Almost a quarter (23%) of gay young people in Britain have attempted suicide, the report said, and more than half (56%) have deliberately harmed themselves, which can include intentional cutting or burning.