Bullying is not new. We know that. But it doesn’t make the reality of the recent rash of fatal bullying incidents any easier to take. Especially for the GLBTQ community.
For gay, lesbian, bi-sexual , transgender, intersex and questioning (GLBTQ) teens, the high school years pose a difficult and challenging time. Students, who disclose their sexual orientation and/or gender identity (“come out”) during this time, face many risks both at home and at school. According to Deb Murphy, the Youth Services Specialist who runs HATCH, a social and support group for GLBTQ youth in the Houston area,the average age a teen comes out is thirteen. If a teen comes out before his or her eighteenth birthday, he or she has a 1 in 4 chance of being homeless by that eighteenth birthday. And if they are homeless by 18, chances are greater than not that they will be dead by 25. So the high school years can be treacherous for a GLBTQ student, even without the added element of peer abuse.
When teens commit suicide in connection with bullying, there are two distinct issues to address-- the bullying and the suicides. Suicide, according to Murphy, is not caused by bullying alone. Bullying can be a catalyst that prompts a teen to take his or her own life, but several other factors must usually be in place first. Teen suicide is most often an impulsive act taken by a kid who (1) is able to harm themselves (which is a major barrier for most kids); (2) feels a profound lack of belonging; and (3) has lost his or her sense of value (often feeling that someone close to them would be better off without them).
Still, teens who are experiencing suicidal feelings and teens who are being bullied need help. GLBTQ teens, in particular, need places to go and people who can talk with and support them with regard to their challenges—how to defuse a bully and how to restore their self-value and their hope for the future.
Below are places teens can go for help:
Top 5 Resources for Teens in Crisis:
For GLBT youth:
Branard St # 2
Houston, TX 77006-5015
2.Gay and Lesbian Switchboard Houston- 713 529-3211.
For homeless teens:
3.Child Protective Services- 713 394-4000. This may not be a teen's first choice, but CPS really has great resources to help them.
Houston, TX. 77054
For any youth struggling at school:
4.Communities In Schools Houston- 713 654-1515. CIS helps kids stay in school by assisting them with any issue that has become a barrier to school success.
1235 North Loop West
Houston, TX 77008
For hungry youth:
5.Houston Food Bank- 713 223-3700.
3811 Eastex Fwy
Houston, TX 77026-3237
And a bonus:
6. United Way of Greater Houston- Call 211. United Way provides a great one-stop resource for a comprehensive listing of available support and services.