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‘A Safe and Supportive Environment’: LGBTQ Youth and Social Media

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Abstract

In 1977, gay rights activist Harvey Milk (1930–1978) affirmed: “All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential” (cited in Mallon 2010, p. 172). Despite this, in September of 2010, ten American teenagers, nine males and one transgender female, committed suicide over a three-week period (September 9–30). Four of the males self-identified as gay; several others were either perceived or mis-perceived as gay by their peers. In most instances, the victims were reportedly the targets of some form of bullying:

  • Cody J. Barker, seventeen, hung himself in a barn on his family’s farm. According to his mother, he was subjected to name-calling and targeted by students for his efforts to form a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), a student-led organization for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) and questioning youth and their straight allies, in his high school (Weisberg 2013). Barker was the fourth openly gay youth in northeastern Wisconsin to commit suicide in a five-month period.

    (Quinlan 2013)

  • Asher Brown, thirteen, shot himself in the head because, in his family’s words, he was ‘bullied to death’ for many reasons, including accusations that he was gay.

    (O’Hare 2013)

Keywords

  • Sexual Orientation
  • Social Medium
  • Social Networking Site
  • Safe Space
  • Sexual Minority Youth

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© 2014 Stephen Tropiano

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Tropiano, S. (2014). ‘A Safe and Supportive Environment’: LGBTQ Youth and Social Media. In: Pullen, C. (eds) Queer Youth and Media Cultures. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137383556_4

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