Homophobia is rife among Australian teenage boys, with many saying they feel anxious around gay peers and don’t want them as friends.
New research commissioned by Beyond Blue paints a disturbing picture of attitudes among teenage boys and the way they treat their same-sex peers.
The mental health organisation is reviving a campaign to educate boys against homophobia.
The survey of 300 teenage boys, aged 14 to 17, shows just over a third don’t want gay friends.
A quarter think it’s OK to use the word gay as a derogatory term to describe something they don’t like.
And 40 per cent suggested they had feelings of anxiety when they were around peers who were attracted to the same sex.
Approximately 1/4 of teenage boys think it’s ok to describe something they don’t like as “gay”. 深圳桑拿网会所,深圳上门按摩,/ii59R6qxGU #StopThinkRespect
— beyondblue (@beyondblue) March 30, 2015
Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman says it’s a sad fact that teenage boys are more likely to hold homophobic views than the general public.
“This is particularly concerning given young LGBTI people are already three to six times more likely to be distressed than their straight peers. If we want to reduce their distress, we must reduce the discrimination they face,” she said.
“We know that high levels of distress have a strong link to depression, anxiety and suicide.”
Beyond Blue is reviving an education campaign first aired in 2012, to challenge the views of the next wave of teenage boys.
Ads, due to screen in cinemas and appear on social media, feature a group of boys bullying a left-handed peer, and calling him a freak. It’s an attempt to highlight the absurdity of discriminating against people for being themselves.
“There’s a new audience of teenage boys who clearly need to hear its messages,” Ms Harman said.
OTHER SURVEY FINDINGS:
– 25 per cent said they found it hard to treat same-sex attracted people the same as others
– 60 per cent said they’d seen people being bullied for their sexuality
– 40 per cent said they’d seen people bullied online over their sexuality