For a lot of LGBTQ students, those perceived to be LGBTQ and the friends of LGBTQ students, bullying is a serious reality. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be stopped. You have a legal right to be who you are and to be safe. If you or any of your friends are bullied, here’s a list of things you can do.
What to Do If You’re LGBTQ and Bullied
Protect yourself with these steps.
- Talk to someone you can trust: Friends, parents, a brother or sister. Let people know.
- Have a safety plan. Find a new way to walk home from school. Arrange for a ride home. Make sure you have a cell phone or money to make an emergency call.
- Write down what’s happening to you: Include details about what exactly happened, who was involved, where and when the incident took place and if there were any witnesses.
- Take it to the principal: Counselors and teachers aren’t always legally required to take action against bullying. The principal has more responsibility. Put your reports and complaints in writing, and keep copies of every document you send and receive.
- Go to the next level. If your school principal doesn’t respond fast enough, take your complaint to the superintendent or school board.
- Use your school’s complaint procedures. Public schools usually receive federal funds. If they do, they’re required by federal law to have complaint procedures.
- Tell the police. Serious threats and physical assault are AGAINST THE LAW. If these happen, don’t hesitate to file a report with the police.
- You can make an anonymous report. Send an anonymous report to the principal or ask a trusted adult, like a counselor, to tell the principal without using your name. Always keep copies of your reports or reports filed on your behalf. But bear in mind that the school is more likely to have a legal obligation and be able to protect you if top administrators know you have been mistreated.
- Report bullying even if you don’t know who the bullies are. It’s important that your principal know that bullying is taking place even if you’re unable to identify the harassers. As always, report incidents in writing, and keep a copy of the report for yourself.
- Don’t give up if your school’s first attempts to stop bullying don’t work. Talk to the principal and other adults at school about other ways they can respond.
- Contact Lambda Legal if your school does not respond in a helpful way. You can do so at lambdalegal.org/help or by calling 866-542-8336.