Because homosexuality is considered a social taboo, few gay and lesbian youth will openly discuss their sexual orientation with service providers. Thus it was more difficult to find young women who identify as lesbian or bisexual to interview. But again, girls may be reluctant to turn to school officials for protection, as adults as well as peers are critical of girls for violating gender norms. The suit was brought by a gay student who was repeatedly attacked throughout his middle school and high school years. Discrimination, harassment, and violence take a tremendous toll on youth. Ensure that policies cover harassment by persons who are not employees or students when they are engaged in school-sponsored activities. A Georgia teacher spoke to us about another case involving a transgender youth who was harassed by staff.
Girls perceive this harassment not only as an invasion of their privacy but also as an implicit threat of sexual violence.
Mallon interviewed fifty-four gay and lesbian youth in the child welfare system, he found that "[f]or many, verbalharassment causes as much hurt as physical violence because it profoundly damages self-esteem. Evaluate existing policies and practices to ensure that the burden of ending harassment is not placed on the student who has been subjected to harassment. High school is composed of freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years with students aged fourteen through eighteen. Remind staff members that they should not ignore inappropriate remarks or slurs, for in doing so, they endorse them. Faced with school officials who downplay the verbal harassment or who tell the gay youth they must "get used to it," some students internalize the message they are just going to have to learn to live with harassment. Furthermore, at the local, state, and federal level, the government has failed to address these deep-seated prejudices against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
The Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey asked students if they had had any same-sex sexual contact and if they identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, finding that 5. One of the easiest ways for boys to demean girls was to treat girls as sexual objects. Identify a school official or officials who will be responsible for handling complaints. Gay youth spend an inordinate amount of energy plotting how to get safely to and from school, how to avoid the hallways when other students are present so they can avoid slurs and shoves, how to cut gym class to escape being beaten up-in short, how to become invisible so they will not be verbally and physically attacked. Publicize the existence of these groups on equal terms with other student groups.