It was my cancer: Lessons Learned about Bullying from Perceived Sexual & Gender Minority Youth

Alexandra Marshall


Bullying is often defined as repeated acts of aggression that occur over time in a relationship involving a power imbalance. Bullying of perceived sexual and gender minority youth – which can also be interpreted as homophobic bullying – is a form of aggression intended to make a young person feel marginalized or unwelcome due to their perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Research has linked bullying to various health effects similar to those experienced by survivors of traumatic stress or intimate partner violence. Few studies have examined the experiences of bullying directly from the perspectives of sexual and gender minority youth. Interviews (n=16) in this exploratory and descriptive study revealed several common themes. Those discussed are that “bullying is serious” (i.e. it was my cancer.), and “survivors use power language” describing their experiences (e.g. push through and be strong.). Youth serving professionals ought to reconsider using the term bullying and perhaps re-conceptualize this phenomenon as a form of interpersonal violence to more appropriately address it in schools.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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