In school, work or a domestic setting, homophobia can occur in a variety of forms however the m
Homophobia describes a range of negative feelings or behaviours towards anyone who is attracted to the same sex. The most commonly experienced form of homophobia is the use of homophobic language and other verbal abuse on the basis of someone’s sexual orientation. Homophobia can occur at school, at work, in sport and in domestic settings
As well as having an impact on people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, homophobia can also affect heterosexual people who others believe are same sex attracted, as well as those who have family members or friends who are same sex attracted.
Transphobia describes a range of negative feelings or behaviours towards anyone who is transgender or gender diverse. Transphobia, and fixed ideas about gender, can affect a lot of people, including those that have transgender friends or family members.
Most commonly practiced and experienced bullying is verbal.
Homophobic bullying can include physical violence, threats, damage to personal belongings, social exclusion and cyber bullying.
The practice of homophobic and transphobic bullying can be both physically and emotionally detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the victim.
Research into young people’s experiences of homophobia and transphobia show that
Experiences of homophobic and transphobic abuse on both an individual and systematic level result in same sex attracted and gender diverse people rating significantly lower in almost all health outcomes later in life when compared with the heterosexual population.
An individual experiencing homophobic or transphobic bullying could demonstrate one or many of the following attitudes and behaviours:
Regardless of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, homophobic and transphobic bullying can leave scars and have long term affects on the victim and their friends. Individuals that experience homophobic bullying could permanently cease to attend school, engage in risky sexual and physical behaviours, abuse drugs and alcohol, experience suicide ideation and/or commit self-harm.
Schoolyard assumptions of heterosexuality and gender norms make victimised students feel frightened, helpless and alone. Such feelings and emotions can lead the victim to believe that their school or peer group are unable to provide support, as it would require them to self identify or ‘come out’ as same-sex attracted or gender diverse.
Homophobic and transphobic bullying can be direct, targeted at an individual, or indirect, passive use of homophobic and transphobic language.
Both direct and indirect homophobic and transphobic language and remarks are hurtful and its use has tangible ramifications. Failing to intervene and prohibit the use of homophobic language generates further discrimination as such remarks can exacerbate homophobic bullying into other non-verbal means of harassment.
Homophobic and transphobic behaviour can also include abusive threats or actual physical violence, damage to personal belongings, sexual harassment and deliberately excluding someone because of their sexual orientation.
Homophobia and transphobia can happen face to face, at school, online or even by text message or phone call. All homophobia and transphobia is bullying.
School staff, employers, work colleagues and parents must raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic bullying. Early intervention to address the issue and determine preventative measures applicable to each individual case is paramount:
Bully Zero Australia Foundation has a zero tolerance policy to all forms of bullying, including homophobia and transphobia. Bully Zero encourages victims and witnesses to bullying to be assertive and speak up against homophobic and transphobic bullying. No one deserves to be treated differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.