Get That Freak: Homophobic Bullying in Schools
As mentioned last week, Rebecca Haskell and Brian Burtch have agreed to do some guest blogging right here on The Fern Blog. Check out the entry below, then check out their amazing and incredibly important book, Get That Freak.
There has been an intense amount of media interest focused on the tragic, highly-publicized suicides by young people subjected to homophobic and transphobic (HTP) bullying in recent weeks. Some people credit our book, Get That Freak: Homophobia and Transphobia in High Schools, with being timely, but the impact of HTP bullying has a long history, leading at times to dropping out of school, not joining particular sports teams or other extracurricular programs because students fear being labelled as “effeminate” or “butch”, for example. Along with the harms of HTP bullying, though, we must consider how many young people are resilient, coping with personal harassment, whether it takes the form of physical threat, shunning, persistent verbal attacks or online postings.
The youth we spoke with in our work found ways to cope with HTP harassment, sometimes standing up to the bullies, finding allies among their peers, forming or joining Gay-Straight alliances (GSAs), and finding teachers and counsellors who were willing to step from behind their desks and speak up. Focusing on these experiences allowed us, and we hope our readers, to learn how to support young people and to counter the HTP that was an everyday experience for most of the youth.
While we have the floor, we want to thank the Fernwood staff for developing this book and also thank various radio, tv and print/online media for devoting time to Get That Freak and to the issue of homophobia in schools.
-Rebecca Haskell and Brian Burtch