Queer Young Adults’ Harassment at High School


In spite of great changes in social relation legislation, sexual harassment of youth adults that are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender in a high school is still an issue of the day. Sexual harassment based on sex differences and sexual orientation is a social problem which affects thousands of young people in the USA. Most Americans think that people should be treated equally regardless of their sex. But we do not all agree on what that means. Thesis Young adults identified as GLBTQ is not simply in the immediate incident, but is compounded by the responses of social institutions to mistreatment, discrimination, harassment, and violence that perpetuate and reproduce the violence in women’s lives.

The State Policies

The state policies involve such issues as “Readdressing Homophobia/Transphobia within Organizations and Communities”. The main methods which help the state to overcome Homophobia/Transphobia are training and assistance of both youth and school administration, seed grants and technical assistance (Advocates for Youth 2009,para 2). GLBTQ experience of violence and the social and institutional responses to this violence vary by the identities of victims and perpetrators and the specific historical and social contexts (Cashmore, 2002, p. 327).

The victim-blaming, the apathy, the indifference, and sometimes contempt and hostility GLBTQ face from police, from family members, from teachers, from hospital personnel, and from judges and juries are informed by GLBTQ social identities, locations, and histories.

The Federal Policies

The main policies accepted on the federal level are equality and safety. At this level, the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Hate Crimes Prevention Act/ Matthew Shepard Act perform as the main laws which help GLBTQ people to protect their dignity and avoid discrimination.

The mostly negative responses to GLBTQ who experience violence are often as hurtful as the incidents because they reinforce the messages that GLBTQ are to blame, that GLBTQ deserve to be abused, that GLBTQ accept oppression, and that GLBTQ are unworthy of social justice (Advocates for Youth 2009, para 4). In order to change the current state and perception of GLBTQ people, the federal, state and local legislation should introduce strict laws against sexual harassment and implement strict punishment for those individuals who offend and discriminate GLBTQ people.

The problem is that sexual harassment involves the victimization, the isolation, the lack of support, the pain of betrayal, or the despair of battery and rape in GLBTQ lives. GLBTQ continue to live in communities where intimate, abuse and violence are not recognized and it’s necessary to describe their painful realities. If we are in denial of the ways in which we have been victimized, then personal change and social transformation are impossible. MacKinnon (1999) provided evidence that sexual harassment not only causes lower productivity but also higher turnover and poor morale (Hays. 2003). Further, the costs are astronomical.

Oppenheimer and Pratt (2002) reported that, excluding costs of litigation, That cost included replacing harassed students, financial support, and reduced productivity. Diversity training and other preventive activities would cost only a fraction of what it takes to remedy the abuse. Sexual harassment is an outgrowth of individual and institutional sexist behaviors. Often it takes a considerable amount of courage for GLBTQ to report harassment (Conely, 2008, p. 12).

The Local Level

At the local level, GLBTQ policies are based on state laws and regulations but applied to local conditions and needs of a school population. A special attention is given to sex education, Funding for Abstinence-Only Programs and health programs (Advocates for Youth 2009, para 3). The main characteristics of sexually harassed people are embarrassed, intimidated, and demeaned (Vivian and Pharm 1998, para 1). They are real victims of stressful situations and frequently suffer from headaches, stomach pains, and inability to concentrate on learning-related activities (MacKinnon, 2003, p. 56).

Submission to the ultimatum is an expressed condition for receiving learning benefits, while refusal to submit will result in the loss of the learning. One way to do this is to draw upon the strengths of students who have experienced, survived, resisted, and challenged violence. All students in different ways and at different times, actively seek to change lives. Critics underline that women can and have changed, escaped, fought back, resisted, critically analyzed, created change, and thrived in their lives.


One of the main practice theories applied to GLBTQ people are “Gay, lesbian, and queer theory”. This theory examines the role of sexuality and sexual differences in communication and interaction among youth. This theory explains behavior of groups and their life preferences. Schools introduce laws similar to those existed in school practice. On the other hand, extreme rudeness directed exclusively at one sex, such as GLBTQ, is an example of a hostile environment. Harassment in the high school violates Title VII when a member of a protected group is treated differently from other people.

There is no specific provision in Title VII prohibiting harassment as such, but the courts have made such an interpretation. Racial harassment would be found in a situation where black students were subjected to racial slurs, pranks, or other bigoted acts by their co-students or teachers (Woog. 1999, p. 33). The main advantage of such laws in schools will be that the way that does not deal with the issue of intent; rather, it is enough to prove the sexually oriented activity occurred. Even when there are no witnesses, most harassers admit the act, claim there was no intent to harass the other person, and/or claim ignorance of the law. Seldom do these cases end up “judgment calls” after a thorough investigation. It is true that GLBTQ can and do harass men (MacKinnon, 2003, p. 78).

Individual differences and unique behavior patterns among GLBTQ

Individual differences and unique behavior patterns among GLBTQ are explained by lesbian theory and gay male theory. In order to overcome sexual harassment, school administration introduce special programs for both women and men students. Most of the projects addressing violence against GLBTQ assume an exclusively gender-based analysis of violence against GLBTQ (Patoi, 1998, p. 87). Many educators, especially those whose perspectives are tied to white, middle-class and/or heterosexist values and orientation, place gender inequality and misogyny (usually defined as men’s hatred of GLBTQ, rather than both men and women’s hatred of women) at the center of the analysis of violence against GLBTQ.

Increasingly, mainstream feminist organizations are sometimes indistinguishable from social service agencies and are often closely aligned with the state in monitoring and controlling violence against GLBTQ. This has led to a movement more focused on individuals and social control mechanisms rather than on broad-based social and institutional transformation (MacKinnon, 2003, p. 87). White and middle-class activists who are often in leadership positions mostly assume that GLBTQ common experience of men’s sexualized violence has the potential to bring us together to demand fundamental changes in the male-dominant U.S. culture and society (Sklansky, 2006, p. 1209).

For many activists, the prevalence of violence against GLBTQ is testament to its centrality in oppression, the horror of it is testament to its urgency and significance in women’s lives, and the acceptance of and/or apathy toward violence by most social institutions is testament to its foundation in a patriarchal, male-dominant, misogynistic society (Howard, 2007. p. 34).

Intervention Strategies

The intervention strategies applied to GLBTQ people are suicide prevention, risky behavior programs (drug abuse and violence), psychological and social help. When faced with the contradictory evidence in GLBTQ stories and the multiple perspectives GLBTQ inevitably articulate, educational leaders of the most prominent organizations tend to ignore or deny the complexities involved, or to minimize their significance (Patoi, 1998, p. 55; Langlois, 2009, para 1).

For instance, despite the knowledge of the multiple roots of violence, as well as the centrality of racism to how social institutions respond to violence, many feminists continue to articulate an analysis of sexism and misogyny as the primary explanatory framework. Similarly, many feminists resist the evidence of GLBTQ students discrimination and violence by other women and hold tight to exclusivist theories of male domination (Oppenheimer and Pratt, 2002, p. 77).


The research evidence involves reduced level of suicides and risky behavior patterns among GLBTQ youth in schools. Statistical results and research studies vividly portray that intervention strategies and social support have a positive impact on behavior and self-perception of young people. “The research said 131 male respondents identified themselves as “bisexual or mostly/100 percent homosexual.” More than 28 percent of them reported suicide attempts. That is compared to more than 4 percent of heterosexual counterparts claiming suicide attempts” (Suicide and the GLBT Community 2009, para 12).

This evidence allows researchers to say that the systems of interlocking oppression and privilege account for the ways in which women and men are differentially constructed and treated, as well as the ways that women resist and struggle. Misogyny, racism, heterosexism, and antisemitism, among others, construct the differential contexts of GLBTQ lives. The differentiations account for inconsistent and unfair responses to multiple forms of violence against GLBTQ students (Dobrich et al, 2002, p. 34).

The ideological framework of categorical and hierarchical distinctions that shapes social institutions in the United States makes some GLBTQ lives (i.e., poor women, students of color, lesbians, disabled GLBTQ, prostitution) seem “less important” than the lives of those defined as “valuable, ” “innocent, ” and “pure” GLBTQ —that is, typically white middle-class and upper-class heterosexual people (Fillichio, 2006, p 56). Similarly, the male perpetrators of violence against GLBTQ are socially differentiated. Men of color and poor men are more likely to be criminalized for violence whether guilty or not. They are assumed to be violent, whereas white middle-class men are less likely to be held accountable for violence and less likely to be criminalized (Oppenheimer and Pratt, 2002, p. 71).

The Effectiveness of the Policies

The effectiveness of the policies applied is GLBTQ population is measured by improved perception of sexual differences in schools and reduced violence against GLBTQ students. As activists and educators, state authorities need to publicize success stories of GLBTQ who resist and challenge injustices, including abuse and violence, who work to create and nurture just relationships and institutions, and who embrace a hopeful vision of a socially just society (Hays. 2003, p. 31). Still, “Since 1960, the number of teen suicides has tripled in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those under the age of 25 accounted for 16 percent or nearly 5,000 suicides in 1992. These statistics have sent many in the health community searching for reasons behind the jump” (Suicide and the GLBT Community 2009, para 14). Educators speak out on violence, and tell the stories of violence in conjunction with their stories of resistance—stories of students who fight all forms of oppression; students who left batterers, who stood up to harassers or bullies, women who defended themselves against rapists (Henneman, 2006, p. 72).


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