CAW Council Condemns Bullying of LGBT Youth

December 7, 2010, 1:59 PM EST

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There's a lot we can do to stop the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth, CAW Local 707 LGBT and Human Rights activist Billy O'Neill told CAW Council delegates.  It can start with talking to members about homophobia and its impact on young people who are growing up gay. This way youth can feel supported as they move through the sometimes difficult period of adolescence.

Young people often internalize the negative stereotypes and aggression towards the LGBT community, said O'Neill. "Many LGBT youth find it hard to accept themselves in a world they feel doesn't accept them. And coming out can be particularly difficult if their community is openly hostile to being LGBT.

"They see the hostility when they watch as politicians, community leaders as well as family and friends debate LGBT basic civil and human rights as if they are secondary from the rights of all people in society.

In a moving video exploring the issue of bullying of LGBT youth and suicide, delegates heard stories of young people ending their lives after being treated cruelly, harassed and assaulted by classmates and so-called friends. Family members and friends of the deceased recounted stories of their loved ones being pushed down school stairwells and beaten up, just because they were gay.

O'Neill said that for youth to live as openly gay takes a tremendous amount of courage and as a union, the CAW must be steadfast in its support and also support for teachers unions and school boards as they work to address and eliminate homophobia in schools through progressive policies and education.

O'Neill encouraged delegates to contact their school board trustees to ask them if they support policies against bullying of LGBT youth and speak to their children about this important issue.

To read the CAW National Executive Board statement on bullying of LGBT youth, please visit:

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