June 11, 2008
By Christine Oshiki, Olympia, WA

I gaze around the hallways of my school. Over the noise of my fellow classmates, I hear things that make my teeth clench and knuckles turn white. I constantly hear my peers calling each other “gay” and meaning it as an insult. I see one of my friends walking to class, and people do not dare touch him because he is open about his sexuality. Why is there so much fear and hatred toward gay teens?

Thirty to 70 percent of homosexual teens have been verbally or physically abused at school. This abuse can drive gay teens to suicide; they alone make up a third of teens who kill themselves. One study showed that 30 percent of homosexual males age 14 to 21 had made at least one suicide attempt.

It is common to fear what you don’t know. Many teens fear that someone who is gay will hit on them. However, fear isn’t the only reason for this abuse against gay youths. When something new or different is introduced into our community, we find it weird. When people come out as being LGB, kids see them as bizarre because they’re not like everyone else. A stereotypical 15-year-old boy probably plays a sport or two, calls himself ready when his hair is simply brushed, and worries about the problems he and his girlfriend are having. When a 15-year-old boy sings in musicals, calls himself ready only after hours in front of the mirror, and meets his boyfriends through his brother, kids are going to make fun of him, bully him, and make assumptions. Perhaps they’ll tell everyone he has AIDS or “sleeps around.”

Wasn’t it in another time that we ­reacted the exact same way toward African-Americans? And Native Americans? And Japanese, Chinese, and Iraqis? Public schools today do a fantastic job ­encouraging progressive thinking about other ­cultures and religions. Why can’t we take it to the next level? Let’s encourage open-mindedness about ­homosexuality.

A friend of mine has been open about his sexuality for two years. At first, people pointed and laughed at him. Some guys even told their buddies that my friend liked them, just to freak them out. No one ­really talked to him except a few people, including me. The harassment grew; people sent him abusive messages on MySpace.

He’d had enough.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, our school had an assembly about civil rights. My friend stood up in front of the entire school, in front of those who thought he was a freak, those who called him names, and those who wouldn’t even look at him. He made a speech about the way gays were harassed and how much it hurt. He spoke with emotion and strength, and afterward, the harassment decreased. It didn’t disappear completely, but his speech convinced the majority of students to stop. If all schools could have knowledgeable speakers educate kids about homosexuals, the rate of abuse, and possibly suicides, could decrease too.

I cannot stand to think that any person could experience so much abuse and hatred that ending their life seemed better. I cannot stand to think that time and time again our nation fails to accept ­others’ differences. I cannot stand to see anyone punished for expressing who they are to the world. I cannot understand why Martin Luther King Jr. is so respected today but his words do nothing now except dwell in history textbooks. On ­August 28, 1963, King said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-­evident, that all men are created equal.’”

Somehow these words began creating equality ­between blacks and whites so many years ago. Shouldn’t the same be true for gays? School is a place to learn, but it’s also a place to grow, create friendships, and feel secure developing yourself. Teens should feel like they can express every part of themselves freely, not live in terror because of who they are. And since school is a place to express opinions, let’s encourage doing so in a peaceful matter. Educating kids about the subject will shine a bright light in the closet so gay teens will feel safe coming out of it.

Similar Articles


This article has 27 comments.

ambnyc SILVER said...
on Aug. 22 2011 at 2:39 pm
ambnyc SILVER, Rego Park, New York
6 articles 0 photos 133 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. - Dr. Seuss

If you are against homosexuality, for ANY reason, including religion, you are a homophobe.

ambnyc SILVER said...
on Aug. 22 2011 at 2:19 pm
ambnyc SILVER, Rego Park, New York
6 articles 0 photos 133 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. - Dr. Seuss

Same. I think it's the generation gap. Parents grew up in a more homophobic world. I know my parents are mildly homophobic, but my mom at least is trying to get over it.

ambnyc SILVER said...
on Aug. 22 2011 at 2:17 pm
ambnyc SILVER, Rego Park, New York
6 articles 0 photos 133 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. - Dr. Seuss

I'm glad they have your support, but thinking homosexuality is wrong is still inherently judging and demeaning them.

on Feb. 5 2011 at 4:03 pm
Riverschild SILVER, Mount Vernon, Washington
9 articles 11 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You will never know until you try."

I agree :)

GamerGirl75 said...
on Jul. 14 2010 at 4:52 pm
GamerGirl75, Ontario, California
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
I agree with you. But sometimes what's even sadder than peers not understanding is when the parents don't seem to understand that their child is different. That's what happened to my male friend. His mom kicked him out of his house and refused to talk to him until he was "cured", I wish she could see the point that you make in your article and that her son already has alot to deal with without her just adding to it.

on Jun. 27 2010 at 9:25 am
clairemaims BRONZE, Athens, Georgia
1 article 1 photo 54 comments
AGREE people need to just learn to deal! If you like someone of the same sex then who cares how does that hurt you.If there good people then does not matter people just need to learn how to be loving and aceppting if they wish to get anywhere in this world.

on May. 13 2010 at 3:23 pm
EmilyMichelle PLATINUM, Manassas, Virginia
33 articles 4 photos 90 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth."
- Madeleine L'Engle

AMEN! I totally agree with this!

on Mar. 19 2010 at 10:01 pm
Wow, I wrote this in 8th grade and I am a sophmore now. Thank you all so much for your feedback and thank you for polite critisizm. I had forgotton I'd wrote this until my mom and I were messing around on google typing in peoples' names and I saw my work, this article, cited in a paper! Again, thank you all so much for appreciating my writing, and about such a sensative topic too. Hearing that I should continue to write is making me think I should take time to sit down and do so.<br />
In response to the religious comment-<br />
I TOTALLY respect relgion and if you think homosexuality is wrong because that's what your religion says, that's perfectly fine. I don't agree with it, but I respect you for your choice. Now if you were to be mean to someone who was LGB, that would be a different matter. I apologize if I came off as sounding like relgions who don't think being gay is ok are homophobes, that was not at all my point of this writing piece.<br />
Again, I cannot thank you enough for your support! This truly means so much to me that people feel so strongly about this topic. Also, thank you for supporting my writing. Perhaps I'll write something again soon (:<br />

on Mar. 12 2010 at 7:59 pm
Someone_Who_Is_Loved GOLD, Mount Forest, Other
10 articles 0 photos 82 comments

Favorite Quote:
This quote is one I made up.....
"You can't climb a mountian without a harness." It means that you can't go where you want to get in life without the help of your friends or family.

My best friend ( a girl named Krista) is gay . Our parents are best friends so we're best friends. I highly respect her. She's the type of friend who's truthful, caring, funny, talkative, and have a attitude when she wants to be. I'm not going to quit being her friend because she's gay ! I'd never find a friend like her again! She's very rare!

reeses said...
on Feb. 18 2010 at 9:15 am
reeses, Trent, South Dakota
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
everything everyone has said here is true....i go to a small school and all my friends are either bi or gay ....very few of them are strait. I know what they go through and i stood up for them many times and no one picks on them anymore

GiveMeAnA+ said...
on Feb. 1 2010 at 9:23 pm
GiveMeAnA+, Las Vegas, Nevada
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
As i grew up i was never around those who liked the same sex as themselves. I believe the first male i met that was sexually involved with another male was my freshman year, at the same school i attend today. I considered him as my friend and took a stand because no one else would. they do not deserve to be treated wrongly just because of what they like. I am Catholic , many religions frown upon homosexuality. I myself do not frown upon it. Some of the greatest guys i know are either bi curious or involved with the same sex . They make great friends and my girlfriend and I love their company. Her bestfriend is a homosexual male. I encourage them to be open about it because they should have no shame. They have the same rights as anyone else to be on this earth. I think it's great when they talk about it. If someone gives them a dirty look i tell them to move on in life. Grow up because people don't like haters. These kids go through so much in their lives and don't need another person to add on the trouble. Some parents don't take the news easily but they eventually get used to it, if not right away. People live in denial because they believe they are afraid of the truth. Why be afraid? Live your life because this is all you have until you go to your after life destination. Jesus loves all he created. He created you with the same hands as he created those who are slightly different from you. This article is very well written and speaks for the voices that have not yet had the chance to be heard, those that are scared because they don't want to be treated different by their friends and classmates. People need to realize that they only have one life and can't spend it hating someone for likeing the same sex . For the people who are religious and believe that gays deserve to be frowned upon, look at your sins and see the things that you have done. Just because a person is homosexual doesn't mean they are going to hell or any other bad place. Let them live their lives happy with or without you. If you have nothing nice to say move on with your life.
Thank you for your time and just realize that being stereotypical gives you more enemies than more friends. great article once again

Pillow BRONZE said...
on Jan. 15 2010 at 8:25 pm
Pillow BRONZE, Spokane, Washington
1 article 5 photos 300 comments

Favorite Quote:
Nothing says oops like a wall of flame.

You are absolutely right.

M.W.M. BRONZE said...
on Jan. 2 2010 at 11:03 am
M.W.M. BRONZE, Undisclosed, New Jersey
4 articles 0 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Test everything. Hold on to the good." -Paul of Tarsus (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

I know, it's so terrible how much hatred and abuse many homosexuals go through.<br />
While I think homosexuality is wrong, where are we to judge them and demean them like this? Do you have any idea what they go through? I can't even imagine the ridicule and everything they must go through.<br />
Please, people, please don't make it any harder for them. <br />
Please, pray for them. And love them just as  Christ  would.

on Dec. 16 2009 at 5:14 pm
dragonbiscuits SILVER, Near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
7 articles 1 photo 54 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You cannot acheive peace with violence" -several people

This was really good, and your friend is really admireable for being able to stand up for himself (and others) like that. I hate it when people are  homo -phobes, its just annoying. For instance, my mother and i were looking at colleges, we had found one I didn't like, then she showed me they had a  Gay  Pride club, and she said that it concerned her. I was all, okay... sure. And she said "Doesn't that bother you?"<br />
And I said no, and she looked at me like I grew a second head.<br />

ash2011 GOLD said...
on Dec. 14 2009 at 6:39 pm
ash2011 GOLD, Middletown, Ohio
10 articles 5 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
I'm Just one of those regular weird people- Janis Joplin

I totally agree with this. Like, Why cant people just worry about themselves instead of judging everyone around them?

If someone is happy with their lover is all that matters. Not that they are not heterosexual, great article (=

on Oct. 25 2009 at 8:24 am
Electricity PLATINUM, Bradenton, Florida
30 articles 0 photos 273 comments
Wow, I feel sorry for the gays who are being ganged up on for the more inane reason. So what they like their own sex ? What's wrong with that? I wish there was something I could do to stop that, but it's going to keep moving forward.
I have a gay friend, and he's consistantly shoved into walls. I feel stupid not being able to stop that, since i'm a little small.
Being gay isn't bad, I just don't understand why people would discriminante against them.

on Aug. 19 2009 at 11:07 pm
kellygurl365 SILVER, Cave Junction, Oregon
6 articles 0 photos 21 comments
wow! in my town we dont have many gays we have our kids that deny being gay but in reality we know that from twenty years from now they are bound to be gay! but my point is that our town excepts it and in many ways i believe that it is total fine and i have no problem but in some cases gays bring it on them selves the hurt pain of teasing! i totally agree that gays shouldnt be teased but it is the exact same for kids that are geeks?why aren't we stading up for them? but your piece was beautifly written and i appreciate that you chose this topic to edgucate others about freedom of exspression!

on Jul. 16 2009 at 12:55 pm
doverdrama SILVER, Dover, Delaware
7 articles 0 photos 19 comments
Thia piee is well-written, but sometimes people forget about why people say mean things. I'm Catholic. The BIble says, so many times, that being homosexual is wrong. I follow the Bible, but that doesn't mean I attack people who are homosexual. Have you ever thought that maybesome people are religious, and not homo-phobe's?

on Apr. 11 2009 at 3:23 pm
YeseniaG SILVER, Livonia, Michigan
7 articles 1 photo 122 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is what happens when you're busy making plans.

Great work. It shows true emotion.

on Mar. 30 2009 at 2:11 pm
daisha colvin BRONZE, Lakeview, South Carolina
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
i applaud you an this article. to me it was well written , an touched on a subject that no one really likes to talk about

Parkland Book