28 Feb 2018
"Don’t listen to that voice in your head that tells you to back down" was always a piece of advice that my grandmother always told me whilst growing up. As a transman and an active member of the LGBQT+ community, I have learnt not to listen to anyone or anything else that tells me that I am not good enough. Every day, too many people are bullied because of differences. Bullying. Discrimination. Degradation. Bullying can happen in kids or adults. It can happen based on race, sexual orientation or just how someone identifies. There’s no restriction to where it happens or when. Bullying has no limits.
In Canada, in the LGBQT+ community, an astounding 85 percent of school aged children reported being verbally harassed based on sexual orientation, and 40 percent report physical harassment as well (CBC, 2010). According to the Canadian Institute of Health Research (2012), LGBQT+ youth get bullied three times more as heterosexual youth. Three times. Let that sink in. So while 1 in 3 youth are already being bullied, 75% of those children belong to our community (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2012). No wonder why Egale (2013) reports that LGBQT+ youth are "4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers". Being bullied adds more distress to people trying to figure out who they are.
By treating each other with respect and love that we all deserve, we can eliminate bullying one step at a time. Today we wear a pink shirt to take a stand against any form of harassment, whether it be verbal, physical or emotional. By wearing pink, it unifies us by saying that discrimination is not welcomed in our lives; there is no reason bullying should exist at all. Rather, we are all deserving of equal love. We don’t have to fit into a stereotype, rather we can be ourselves, and be proud of it. Today, we our who we are and will fight for freedom to live in a bully-free society.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2012). Canadian bullying statistics. Retrieved from http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45838.html
CBC (2010). Bullying and sexual orientation by the numbers. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bullying-and-sexual-orientation-by-the-numbers-1.909444
Egale (2013). What you should know about LGBTG youth suicide in Canada. Retrieved from https://egale.ca/backgrounder-lgbtq-youth-suicide/.