Stop Bullying: Be an Ally
In February 2008, 236 schools, workplaces and organizations took a stand against bullying for the first International STAND UP to Bullying Day. This event now occurs bi-annually on the third Friday of November and the last Friday in February.
As we near the last Friday in February, I challenge you, in honor of International STAND UP to Bullying Day, to stand up against bullying of youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning (LGBTQ). Become an ally. Be a friend, advocate, and/or activist. Promote equality among all youth.
The first step in becoming an ally is understanding the language that describes who LGBTQ youth are, and the challenges that they have faced in society. The language around gender and sexuality continues to evolve, but a general understanding can help support LGBTQ youth. Below are just a few examples of frequently used terms.
Definitions That Every Ally Should Know
- LGBTQ – Acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer or Questioning
- Gender- The societal constructs assigned to male and female. When you hear someone say “gender stereotypes” they are referring to ways we expect men/boys and women/girls to act and behave (USA Today).
- Sex-A biological term used to label a person “male” or “female” at birth.
- Queer- Younger generations of youth use to describe their sexual orientation. The idea is that “queer” provides a greater depth of expression. This can be confusing because “queer” is often considered a derogatory term. Use of this term is based on the audience.
- Questioning-An identity of formulating sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Sexual Orientation- A term to describe who a person is physically, emotionally, and/or romantically attracted to.
- Lesbian/Gay-A person who is emotionally and physically attracted to people of the same gender.
- Bisexual-A person who is attracted to people of any sex or gender.
- Gender Identity – How one identifies/sees themselves. Refers to whether a person identifies as male or female, regardless of the person’s biological sex assigned at birth.
- Transgender – A person’s gender does not align with the sex that they are assigned at birth.
- Cisgender- A person’s gender aligns with the sex that they are assigned at birth.
- Gender Binary – A system with two specific and opposite categories for gender: boy/man/he/his/him and girl/woman/she/hers/her.
Build a foundation to become/be an ally. Have an understanding of common terms and definitions The goal is to change any misconceptions about sex and gender, and ultimately create a safer atmosphere for LGBTQ youth. This will help decrease bullying.
UF/IFAS Extension, Osceola County, 4-H Youth Development. An Equal Opportunity Institution.