Stop Bullying

Learn more about anti-bullying organizations and find books about bullying.

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Anti-Bullying Resources
The It Gets Better Project

Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can't imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves.

While many of these teens couldn’t see a positive future for themselves, we can. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.

Stop Bullying StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.
The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone.

Give a Damn Campaign

The Give a Damn Campaign iThe Give a Damn Campaign is for everybody who cares about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.

But, it’s especially for all you straight people out there! Whether you’re already an active supporter, want to show your support for the first time, or hadn’t given equality a lot of thought before and now want to learn more, we are here to help you get informed about the issues and get involved, at a pace that works for you.

You’ll find a lot of useful information throughout this site—information that’ll engage you, surprise you and move you. You will also find a bunch of ways to get involved and show your support and encourage your straight peers to show theirs as well.

For all you gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks—we need and want you here, too! Because this site is also for you. Not only will you learn new things that might surprise and interest you, you’ll also find a lot of useful tools and resources that will help you encourage the straight people in your life to give a damn.

Your true colors are beautiful, like a rainbow.
Why I Care About Bullying 

by Jeff Erno

My childhood development and coming out story are not so different than that of any other gay man. When I was very young my mother noticed I was different and often told me (and others) that I was “special”. Not special in the “rides the short bus” kind of way, but unique—different from other boys. My early Christmases and birthdays were not like those of most boys. I asked Santa for a Barbie Head (A huge bust of Barbie. It was cool because you could do her makeup  and hair) and an Easy Bake Oven.  I used to go over to my cousin’s house and spend the day playing Barbies with her. I was the only boy who knew all the girl games. Hopscotch, Down-Down-Baby-Down-By-The-Roller-Coaster, Jump Rope, etcetera.  When I was four, Mom caught me in her closet trying on clothes. At age eight I talked our babysitter into painting my fingernails pink because I loved her nail polish.

Around the time I started grade school, I had a religious conversion experience at the Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School.  I had been “born again” or “saved”.  I think all the kids who attended got saved. It might have been mandatory. At the very least, it was expected. Well, I took it quite seriously, although I may have been the only one. From that point forward, I was deeply religious.

My religiosity and my effeminacy eventually became synonymous. Well they were to my mother anyway. The fact that I was so devout and so disciplined about my faith was consistent with Mom’s belief that I was special. As I got older I began to figure out that other people had expectations. There were behaviors which were considered normal and others which were not. There were boy toys and girl toys. There were things that boys could like and things that girls could like, and if you happened to be a boy who liked girl things, you had to keep them secret. In the fourth grade I learned how to crochet. I could only do my crocheting at home in secret, though, and making a beautiful afghan was not something I could brag about or be proud of.

By the time I was in the fifth grade, I was being bullied pretty badly at school. I cried a lot and begged my mom not to make me go. This seemed strange to her because she knew how much I had always loved school. Around this time, she and my father were having marital problems and were fighting constantly. Mom took me to a doctor and he prescribed some anti-anxiety medication for me. He told me I needed to stop worrying so much about everything. Mom was convinced that my biggest problem was stress caused by the fighting in our home as well as by the bullying at school. She believed the kids picked on me because I was religious—not because I might be gay.

I was pulled out of the public school in the sixth grade and sent to a Christian school where all my classmates were religious. It should have been the ideal situation for me because I no longer was different. I should have fit right in and been accepted with open arms. During the second week of classes, my teacher held me after class for a one-on-one counseling session. He pulled out his Bible and quoted verses to me from the Old Testament to show me that God wanted boys to act like boys and girls to act like girls. He said I needed to start working on becoming more manly. Follow the example of the other boys in class, he said. I was so embarrassed that I never told anyone.

The bullying continued even at the Christian school, but it was much subtler. One time I was taken into the bathroom and gut punched repeatedly. Another time I had my head flushed in the toilet. I knew I could not tell anyone though. I knew I had to be tough because God expected it.

High school was different. I got sent back to public school because my parents felt that the small Christian school would not have the classes I needed. They didn’t have a chemistry lab or even a gymnasium. Well, that’s what my mom and dad said, but the real reason was that they couldn’t afford the tuition at the Christian school any more.  I had thought the bullying was bad in the private school, but it was nothing compared to public. My freshman year of high school was Hell on earth.

When I turned fifteen I began working at the local supermarket as a bagboy. I talked my mom into letting me use the money I made to pay for my own tuition so that I could return to Christian school. I went back in the tenth grade and worked really hard to complete my classes as quickly as possible. I advanced through three grades in just two years and graduated a year early.

Eventually I figured it all out. By the time I was eighteen I knew I was not “special”. I was just gay.  I finally left my religion and embraced my authentic self. During the 90s I was very active in my local gay community. I volunteered with PFLAG and the AIDS outreach organization. I moved to a town that had a social group for LGBT people, a Gay Alcoholics Anonymous, and even a gay bar. I stayed in the retail grocery business and eventually became a manager.

Now here it is twenty-some years after high school, and we hear all of this stuff about bullying. We now have Facebook and other social networks which did not exist back when I was growing up, so there is a lot more public discussion about bullying. When a gay kid commits suicide, it doesn’t take long for a lot of people to find out. Every time I hear a story of a kid like Jamey Rodemeyer, my heart breaks. I can’t help but think, “There but for the grace of God…”

When I was a teenager I wished that some adult had understood. I didn’t want to be special. I didn’t want to be given special rights or privileges. I didn’t even want to be noticed. I just wanted to be safe. I just wanted the pain to end.

I do not know how to make things different. I really wish I did. To be truthful, I don’t know what I can do, if anything. That’s why I write. That is why I wrote Bullied. It’s the only thing I could think of to do.

And that’s why the issue of bullying is so important to me.

TRUE COLORS
Cyndi Lauper

You with the sad eyes, don't be discouraged
Oh I realize its hard to take courage
In a world full of people, you can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors shining through
I see your true colors, and that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors, true colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then, don't be unhappy
Can't remember when I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy and you've taken all you can bear
You call me up, because you know I'll be there

And I see your true colors shining through
I see your true colors, and that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors, true colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

HAIR
Lady Gaga

Whenever I'm dressed cool my parents put up a fight
And if I'm hot shot, mom will cut my hair at night
And in the morning I'm short of my identity
I scream, "Mom and dad, why can't I be who I wanna be?"

I just wanna be myself and I want you to love me for who I am
I just wanna be myself and I want you to know I am my hair

I've had enough, this is my prayer
That I'll die livin' just as free as my hair
I've had enough, I'm not a freak
I just keep fightin' to stay cool on the streets
I've had enough, enough, enough
And this is my prayer, I swear, I'm as free as my hair

Sometimes I want some raccoon or red highlights
Just because I want my friends to think I'm dynamite
And on Friday, Rock City High School dance
I've got my bangs to hide that I don't stand a chance, a chance

I just want to be free, I just want to be me
And I want lots of friends that invite me to their parties
Don't want to change and I don't want to be ashamed
I'm the spirit of my hair, it's all the glory that I bear

books on bullying

Bullied by Jeff Erno

Every day, all over the country, teenagers struggle with the realities of bullying. Tormented, ridiculed, and beaten—simply for being who they are—these teens face alienation, humiliation, and even the explicit assertion that they have somehow brought this upon themselves, that they should just blend in. Bullied is a series of short stories exploring the world of these teens from several different viewpoints: the victim, the bully, the gay bystander, the straight friend, the concerned parent. Closeted Bryan wonders why Christian Michaelson doesn’t just try to blend in if he hates being bullied so much. Star athlete David isn’t a homophobe—after all, he’s not afraid of anything. Jonathan, a Christian fundamentalist, must weigh the Bible against peer pressure and what he knows is right when he discovers his childhood friend is gay. Bully victim Chase Devereaux finds an unexpected ally in a brave fellow student. A single mom struggles to accept the reality that her only son is gay. Two tough gay teens are forced to confront their own inner demons when tragedy befalls a classmate they failed to help. And overweight Kirby finds the strength of character to make a friend, which leads to a lifestyle change and a chance at love. Each character grows as an individual as he or she comes to terms with what it means to be a gay teenager in America.

Invisible by Jeff Erno

Chase Devereaux is a fifteen year old boy under a great deal of stress. He has to give a speech today for his Oral Communications class, and he's terrified of public speaking. Worse yet, he's being bullied by one of the most popular kids at school. He just has to make it through his third-hour gym class and then give his speech, and everything will be all right. The events about to transpire, however, may make this what proves to be the worst day of his life.

It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living by Dan Savage, Terry Miller

Growing up isn't easy. Many young people endure bullying that makes them feel they have nowhere to turn--especially LGBT kids and teens who often hide their sexuality for fear of being bullied. Without openly gay mentors, they don't know what the future may hold. After a number of suicides by LGBT students who were bullied in school, syndicated columnist Dan Savage uploaded a video to YouTube with his partner, Terry Miller, to inspire hope for LGBT youth. The video launched the 'It Gets Better Project', initiating a worldwide phenomenon. This is a collection of expanded essays and new material from celebrities and everyday people who have posted videos of encouragement, as well as new contributors. We can show LGBT youth the happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will have if they can get through their teen years. "It Gets Better" reminds teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone--and it WILL get better.

See by Jackie Nacht

When love allows you to see in your darkest hour. Drew has had a tough couple of months. Coming out to his parents wasn’t too bad except it hasn’t been brought up since. However, coming out to his friends his freshman year in high school is a whole different story. His friends turn their backs on him and have become leaders in the daily tortures he has since had to endure. When a humiliation page pops up on the internet showing pictures of Drew being bullied, he decides to end it all. Just before he takes his life, the fourteen-year-old Mason appears telling him that he will be Drew’s husband in the future and spirits are guiding him to help stop Drew from making an irreversible mistake. Mason will be advised to take Drew on a journey to see what his future would be like if he didn’t end his life. When Drew is still unconvinced, Mason will show Drew the impact his life will have on the others around him if he does end it all. Will Mason be able to show him that Drew has a future to live for and give him the guidance to help him get through his darkest hour?

The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso

It's the deadliest combination going; bullies who terrorize, bullied kids who are afraid to tell, bystanders who watch, and adults who see the incidents as a normal part of childhood. All it takes to understand that this is a recipe for tragedy is a glance at headlines across the country. In this updated edition of The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, which includes a new section on cyberbullying, one of the world's most trusted parenting educators gives parents, caregivers, educators - and most of all, kids - the tools to break the cycle of violence. Drawing on her decades of work with troubled youth, and her wide experience in the areas of conflict resolution and reconciliatory justice, Barbara Coloroso explains: The three kinds of bullying, and the differences between boy and girl bullies Four abilities that protect your child from succumbing to bullying Seven steps to take if your child is a bully How to help the bullied child heal and how to effectively discipline the bully How to evaluate a school's antibullying policy And much more This compassionate and practical guide has become the groundbreaking reference on the subject of bullying.

You Never Cared by Michele L. Montgomery

Jordan is a golden child — wealthy, popular, the self-professed ruler of the senior class. Jordan is also a bully, a bully whose group of friends mercilessly tormented seventeen-year-old Casper for being different, for being poor, for suffering silently. Random acts of abuse from his classmates were par for the course in Casper’s life, until one night, the bullying evolved into a hate crime and he, unable to endure, longing for peace, finally took his own life. You Never Cared is the heartbreaking tale, told in Jordan’s words, of a life stolen, of love lost, and of a soul compromised. But ultimately, it is a story of forgiveness and redemption. As Sammy, Casper’s friend and lover, attempts to cope with the anguish of his boyfriend’s loss, Jordan attempts to own his part in the crime, trying to make amends but knowing his only hope is to carry on Casper’s legacy, to work to build a better future for boys and girls who, like Casper, just need a strong voice to encourage and stand up for them.