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A Real-Talk Guide on Navigating Bullying and LGBT Hate Crimes

by | Apr 5, 2024

We need to chat about something super serious—bullying and LGBTQ hate crimes. 

Now, we all know our LGBTQIA+ family faces some unique hurdles, and it’s high time we arm ourselves with some know-how to leap over them.

In this article we are going to discuss the various types of hate crimes you may see in the real world, give a scenario to help you understand them a bit better, and what you can do in those situations.

Although this story will have a lighthearted tone, don’t get that confused with how serious this issue actually is. After all, if it weren’t a huge issue, we wouldn’t spend time creating resources to keep you safe.

A progressive Pride flag crosswalk in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Verbal Bullying: Don’t Let Words Wound You

What’s The Tea? Let’s jump in headfirst. 

Look, words can sting like a bee, right? And sadly, our community gets hit with homophobic or transphobic slurs too often.

Picture it—your workmate starts mocking your mannerisms because you’re gay.

If you ever experience a situation like this, the best thing you can do is remove yourself from the area where the slurs are coming from. You want to do this immediately to keep things from escalating. 

Next, if you’ve got a good HR team, let ’em know. 

You’ve got rights, okay?

Also, employers, step up your game and make everyone take a sensitivity workshop. Not only do they help you, the employer, recognize LGBTQ hate, but you will also have an arsenal of skills to help you combat it in the workplace.

Cyberbullying: Keep the Trolls Under the Bridge

Internet trolls are the worst, right? 

Sometimes they come after celebrities, other times they just want to be contrary. 

But often, they target us because of who we love or who we are.

Here’s how you can recognize cyberbullying; a specific but not rare LGBTQ hate crime. 

Say you’re a trans teen, and some keyboard warrior thinks it’s fun to make memes about you.

What should you do?Block and report, and maybe tell a trusted adult. 

Schools, listen up: teach kids that online actions have real-world impacts.

Because unfortunately, many people think they can hide behind a screen. They feel that the words and hate they are spewing won’t have an impact. That’s the precise reason they choose to engage in cyberbullying. It can manifest in something as simple as a slur, which may seem like nothing. 

However, if we fail to address the issue and confront the haters, they will hurt others in our community which can lead to suicide. 

Physical Assault: You’re Not Alone

Physical assault sucks and can be straight-up dangerous, especially when it’s a hate crime. It’s because people who are attacking a minority community such as ours are driven by a hate like no other. 

You need to know when to recognize that you are entering a situation that may not be safe. 

It’s best to avoid going to places that may be unsafe. 

Some places where you may be putting yourself in danger are:

  • Straight bars
  • Public places after dark

Now, let’s imagine the most unfortunate situation so you know how to feel more prepared in case something were to happen.

Imagine you and your girlfriend are holding hands and someone gets physical. The first thing to do is run to safety if possible. You should not instigate a fight because according to statistics LGBTQ hate crimes are rarely one on one. 

Next, you should seek shelter in a safe place and call the police. 

But, what if the hate is not aimed at you?

If you see something, say something—call the cops. And if you’re the one being targeted, maybe check out some LGBTQIA+ friendly self-defense classes.

Faith-Based Homophobia: Where’s the Love?

Some folks think their spirituality gives them a free pass to be hateful. Not cool. After all, just because they feel a certain way doesn’t mean we all feel that way. And, in most countries (especially in the western world) people have a right to believe in what they want. But, they do NOT have the right to infringe on our right to be happy.

Now, what can you do in a situation like this?

You’re gay and some church folks decide to play judge and jury. The best thing to do is ignore them if they approach you. People will run their mouths and there isn’t much you can do about it. It’s better to ignore the slurs rather than advance the situation to something more physical.

That may not be what you want to hear, but here is something that may help. Usually people who are faith based and throw shade are way are small minded. It can be that they are gay themselves, and statistics show that the most homophobic people could be gay.

If you are a religious person, you don’t need to think that your hopes of finding an accepting community of like-minded people is out of reach. There are plenty of inclusive spiritual homes that will welcome you with open arms.

Double Trouble: Being Queer and a Person of Color

 

Discrimination can be a double whammy if you’re also a person of color. Oftentimes it’s easy for us to overlook others in our community if we are not experiencing the same struggles. 

Unfortunately, identifying discrimination that is occurring because of race and sexual orientation is difficult. People may identify one type of discrimination with more ease when the two are a combined and a force to be reckoned with. 

It is more difficult to prove that discrimination is due to race rather than sexual orientation. 

Here’s the scenario. You see a Black gay man, and someone throws both homophobic and racial slurs his way.Step in if you witness this. Let’s give some love and safe spaces to our queer POC fam.

If you are experiencing such a situation, you should immediately seek haven in an LGBTQ+ safe space. If you cannot identify one, get to the closest store, restaurant or other place that will have a large group of people. 

There is safety in numbers and you are more likely to find someone that supports you. When you feel you are in safety, then phone the authorities. 

Trans Discrimination: Live Your Truth Without Fear

Transphobia is just ignorance dressed up as opinion. The same arguments made against trans people today were made against gay men nearly four decades ago. 

You’ve heard it before:

“They’re trying to prey on our children.”

“They want to sexually assault women.”

“They want a free pass to be perverts.”

The truth is none of this is new. About 40 years ago there was an extremely successful hate campaign that made similar allegations about gay men. And it all started by a nasty, pernicious woman named Anita Bryant. 

Here’s the deal. You’re a trans woman, and they won’t let you use the ladies’ room at work. Unfortunately, in some states this is law and there isn’t much you can do about it. In that case, you would be best looking for a gender-neutral toilet. At the moment, we would much prefer you stay safe than put yourself in danger. 

But allies, it’s time to rally! 

And employers, get on the right side of history. Healthcare? Make it Fair Care. but let’s not stop there, let’s get everything equal and in order so people are feeling safe.

Let’s stop LGBTQ hate crimes now

Alright, lovely LGBTQIA+ warriors, we’ve covered some ground! 

Each of us can play a part to make our spaces safer and our lives better. So, let’s lift each other up and face these challenges together.

When you are feeling unsafe, seek shelter, call out hate, and fight, fight, fight for your rights!

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Sean Kivi

Sean Kivi

Author

Sean Kivi holds a master's degree from the University of Nottingham in translation studies from Spanish to English. He specializes in writing about gay culture and its influence on discourse. Sean speaks Spanish fluently and focuses on translating gay-themed literature to English and analyzing the discourse to understand how our culture is universal yet distinct in countries worldwide. He has translated for authors in Mexico and completed case studies related to machismo and its influences on gay culture in Latin America.

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