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Transphobic Bullying

(1000 Posts)
VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 15:00:44

My teenage daughters frequently tell me of incidents at school.

A friend with short hair called "trans" as an insult and other older slurs I wont repeat, girls wearing trousers the same, girls who dont shave body hair or wear makeup the same.

One girl who uses a cubicle to change instead of the communal area had frequent banging on the door and shouting that she was hiding a (think rude word for penis). She is just shy.

Teenagers, some gay, some not, bullied as too masculine or feminine presenting and too different to be accepted into the rather rigid and narrow constraints in what is fashionable.

It's a wide spread issue:

Far too many LGBTQ being bullied in secondary school, others bullied as LGBTQ when they aren't, or because their friend is or because they are supportive to LGBTQ.

Yet my son at university reports nothing of the sort. He says people are all very friendly and accepting towards LGBTQ.

So my question is this:

What can we do as adults to prevent our minor impressionable youth from bullying someone over a perceived difference that has nothing to do with their character or worth?

Can we conduct our conversations in private and public in such a way that it is clear that bullying someone for their gender identity, their friends or allies is never acceptable?

Can we help to prevent something that damages mental health and physical health over time and sadly sometimes causes suicide?

What are your thoughts?

Allsorts Sun 14-Aug-22 15:06:00

Find another school! Not something my gc have come across.

welbeck Sun 14-Aug-22 15:14:14

agree with above comment.
sounds like not a well-ordered school.
there should be supervision around those changing areas. no one should be intimidated.
the actual slur or word used is less significant,
i think; it is uncivilised behaviour.
irt would not be tolerated in a workplace and school is children's workplace.
some people will always seek to dominate others.
the staff have to be on top of it. but i know bullying is rife.
i don't think it's really anything to do with trans. they use any weapon to hand that will strike a blow.

GrannyGravy13 Sun 14-Aug-22 15:16:48

One of our GCs friends started dressing as the opposite gender in year 1 now in year 8 never had a problem.

I would speak to the head teacher.

VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 15:22:35

It's a widespread issue sadly...

I've also had to explain at primary school that the word " gay" is not an insult and should not be used as one.

Elegran Sun 14-Aug-22 15:24:07

One thing that we can do is to convince everyone that bullying of ANYONE will not be tolerated. While working on that we can emphasize that we are inclusive (buzz word) of everyone - trans, not trans, of any religion or none, any colour or none, any nationality or none, long-time residents or newcomers.

A school which allows bullies of any type to bully any other section of the population is ignoring its duties towards all its pupils. The bullied need to be safe, and the bullies need to learn not to be abusive.

VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 15:27:32

Elegran I agree

I also think it's a concern that we have far too many bullying and abusive adults in society and we need to prevent that in childhood

Fleurpepper Sun 14-Aug-22 15:30:53


Find another school! Not something my gc have come across.

Well yes, tempting. But surely the issue has to be tackled at source, for all children, not just the OPs GC.?

Doodledog Sun 14-Aug-22 15:40:38

Bullying is always awful and should be dealt with regardless of the ‘reason’, although often there is no real reason for it.

It’s difficult for teachers sometimes, as even if they see an incident it is not always clear whether it was bullying or not. I’ve mentioned an ex-colleague of mine who was very fond of accusing others of bullying when in fact they were simply calling out her passive aggressive behaviour. Children can be equally manipulative and get others into trouble for doing very little.

My children are late 20s now and both have gay friends, as do we. They grew up thinking it was normal and the school encouraged this attitude. The only gay child in their orbit who I remember being bullied was a sneaky little blighter, who was always causing trouble and then looking innocent. He wasn’t bullied for being gay, but for being a toad, and it’s debatable whether it was bullying or retaliation anyway.

None of that is to suggest that the bullied are always responsible, however. Just that it seems odd that in this day and age children would choose gayness as a reason for picking on someone. It seems rather dated these days.

VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 15:42:48

Please be assured I report all incidences of bullying and I know the policies relating to it quite well.

I also raise my children to be tolerant, understanding and respectful.

I'm also not one of those parents who assumes their child perfect innocent and blameless in any situation lol

Rosie51 Sun 14-Aug-22 15:43:53

One of my sons was bullied because he has red hair, a grandson was bullied because he is unusually tall. There have always been bullies, they'll pick on any difference real or perceived, I don't think they really care what that difference is. For too long schools would quote their anti-bullying policy as if writing a policy was sufficient, without following up with real action. I think things have improved and I'd be moving my child from a school which permitted bullying these days if when challenged they didn't act.
From the treatment of Kathleen Stock and others some universities seem to be a hotbed of bullying and lots of it student led.
All bullying for whatever reason is wrong and needs to be challenged.

Golddustwoman Sun 14-Aug-22 15:51:28

be glad you have such a relationship with your daughters that they tell you what is going on, adults dont often know what is happening or just know the tip of the iceberg. I think children and young people are more likely to talk to adults in an open way if the adults give a calm and accepting response which you clearly do. So in answer to your question what can us adults do - when children and young people open up to us we should listen respectfully rather than giving knee jerk responses (which of course is easy to do when they are telling you stuff like that)

PollyDolly Sun 14-Aug-22 15:57:29

Good grief! Whatever happened to Equality and Diversity? Disgraceful behaviour, no wonder there is so many problems with mental health and phobia about body image.

I have friends of every orientation, religion, creed, colour, race..............but they are my friends which I value above all else.
Live and let live!

VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 16:00:39

I know I am lucky, we spend a lot of time cooking together and talking and I will drag them out of the teenager bedroom as often as possible because I was bullied at school and at home and I know how easy it is to hide those signs and pretend all is well.

Working in a school as well, 2 children will often see the other as the bully and I will always make time to unravel that for them.

Especially when after my own childhood I know I have a lot of well.... defence mechanisms... so to speak that aren't helpful to pass on if that makes sense

Smileless2012 Sun 14-Aug-22 16:01:19

You're right I'm sorry to say Rosie, there's always been bullying and there always will be, trans issues just seem to be another excuse.

Adults are bullying adults they perceive as being terfs. There have been numerous examples of the most appalling examples of on line bullying including death threats and threats of rape, against those who whilst accepting trans men and trans women don't accept that it's possible for someone to change their sex.

For me, the single most effective way for adults to stop this kind of behaviour is to lead from the front. An acceptance of trans men and women from non trans men and women and an acceptance by trans activists of all those who are LGBTQ.

25Avalon Sun 14-Aug-22 16:08:10

Sadly it was ever thus with being picked on because you are different or seen as weak by the bullies. If you wore glasses you were called four eyes, if you studied you were a keaner, if you had red hair you were carrots, and so on. then people of a different sexual orientation or race targeted. It seems some have to mock and put others down to big themselves up. It’s an unpleasant trait in bullies.

VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 16:15:32

I think there is also an element of bullying that is opinion based too though.

Where the bullies don't see themselves as bullies but are parroting what they see and hear discussed by adults.

An example of that was the bullying that went on towards minorities leading up to and after brexit. It happened between adults and it happened in schools.

It happened in bad days and in moments of anger amd in ìgnorance by those we really didnt expect it from as well as those we did.

If the adults around you are letting you know in backhanded ways that what you are saying and doing isn't wrong and the school trying to educate you otherwise is wrong to do so... it is difficult

Baggs Sun 14-Aug-22 16:29:58

I wonder how much of the anti-trans stuff at schools is kids picking up on the wider "culture war" that is going on around them over women's spaces and sports in particular.

They hear of people being sent death threats for speaking simple truths about sex and of institutions being 'captured' by extreme lobbying. Perhaps they hear of the closure of the Tavistock Clinic.

They imbibe the angst and if they are of the type to do so, join in the nastiness without really having a concrete thought on the subject themselves.

Only a few years ago schoolkids were complaining about anti-gay feeling at their schools and feeling they had to fight against it.

Smileless2012 Sun 14-Aug-22 16:33:33

I was wondering about that too Baggs. Is it a backlash to the anger and at times hatred we've witnessed of late against those who as you've posted speak "simple truths about sex and of institutions being 'captured' by extreme lobbying"?

VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 16:36:08


You think it is that one sided?

That children are just angry at a vocal minority who behave disgustingly and just expressing that towards LGTBQ peers and also random other children they don't like the appearance of?

I wonder if the adult reactions to an abusive minority matter there and if blaming 1% of the population and their allies for the views of a few has been normalised?

Smileless2012 Sun 14-Aug-22 16:46:28

Unfortunately for those being bullied, the bullies would have found something else to bully them for, just because there's something about their victim they don't like.

LGTBQ is very much in the news ATM and has been for some time and often for less than positive reasons.

Baggs Sun 14-Aug-22 16:57:39

That children are just angry at a vocal minority who behave disgustingly and just expressing that towards LGTBQ peers and also random other children they don't like the appearance of?

No, and that’s not what I said. Smileless!has perhaps hit on one of the issues: that there exist people who will bully, even at school age, and they’ll use whatever if of the moment.

As for one-sidedness, I’m not sure what you mean. Are there bullies who are not anti-trans, who just accept people as they are?

Baggs Sun 14-Aug-22 17:00:46

Anti-gay sentiment has been “of the moment” for a very long time. I mentioned it because it surfaced at my daughter’s school a few years ago before I had heard of gender transitioning. I don’t think she’d heard of it either.

Smileless2012 Sun 14-Aug-22 17:04:43

Are there bullies who are not anti-trans an interesting question Baggs which leads to another. Are these bullies anti trans or simply making use of an issue very much in the news ATM?

VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 17:11:30


I must have misunderstood your comment

Like I said, working in a school I don't think all children who repeat opinions held by their families or public fogures are bullies in general even if they are committing bullying according to the equality act.

For instance a child that says "girls can't do xyz" because they have been taught that at home. They aren't saying it to be cruel, they are saying it because they believe it. Its my job to teach why that is unfaur/unkind.

Children are taught to fear, they don't have to be a bully in general to be opposed to or disgusted by an idea if that is what adults have taught them. It's ignorance.

I do agree that the negative headlines would have an impact because of adults who can't see the wider picture and are angry at a whole demographic for the actions of a few or the actions of a separate company or organisation.

Especially if children are getting the message that the existence of another demographic is harmful to them in some way.

Surely that is why it is an adults place to explain to their child what discrimination is? And to then explain what behaviour is bullying and teach them to be better?

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