Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Homophobic bullying and harassment
What is homophobic bullying or harassment?

Just like any form of bullying or harassment, homophobia can include verbal, physical and emotional abuse by an individual or group but it's directed specifically at someone who is lesbian or gay or thought to be by others. What makes it different from other forms of bullying or harassment is the personal motivation that drives it.

Most homophobic bullying takes place at a time when young people are unsure about their own developing identity - subjected as they are to the confusing messages our society sends out about what it means to be "a man" or "a woman" and the stereotype of what it means to be gay. Homophobia presents itself in young people as the fear of and the reaction to an issue about which they can have little understanding and to a person perceived as "different".

Homophobic harassment of adults is unwanted behaviour which is offensive, causing the man or woman affected to feel threatened, humiliated or patronised. Such behaviour can seriously interfere with a person's personal health, work performance and security, creating a threatening living or workplace environment.

Homophobic bullying or harassment can take many forms:

- unwanted physical contact

- threatened or actual physical abuse or attack

- verbal abuse such as suggestive remarks, jokes or name calling

- display or distribution of offensive material or graffiti

- non-verbal abuse such as mimicry, offensive gestures or body language

Source: What is homophobic bullying or harassment, by Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH)