Being an Ally

Beautiful teenager girl worried and a boy comforting herBullying anyone is hurtful, especially if it makes the victim feel like no one cares. Some teens are particularly vulnerable to bullying. Did you know that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) youth are twice as likely to be bullied or physically attacked as other groups of teens? Yet they are less likely to report this behavior to school authorities. As a result, bullies often continue to harass their victims without fear of punishment unless bystanders, who observe it, are willing to step forward and put a stop to it. That doesn’t mean fighting back, rather it means reporting the incident to an adult and reassuring the individual that you care and will help put an end to the bullying.

Sticking up for someone who is getting harassed can help to preserve their self-esteem. Knowing people care and are willing to help, makes a huge difference. Put yourself in the victim’s shoes for a moment. Wouldn’t you want to know that others are willing to help keep you safe? If you have a friend or if you know someone who is LGBT and is a victim of bullying, be responsible and tell an adult right away.

Other things you can do to stop bullying:

• Encourage the victim to tell a teacher, parent, close friend and/or their guidance counselor.
• Work with your student council to adopt a school-wide program on anti-bullying.
• Arrange to have a group of students role-play or present bullying prevention activities with emphasis on the important role of the bystander.