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Violence and Bullying Within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Community

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 2950 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Violence in relationships and bullying has been a growing problem in the United States. Victimization is very prevalent in society especially among the LGBTQ community. Studies have shown that if your sexual orientation was known or even if an individual’s peers assumed their sexual orientation that they were more likely to get victimized to the same extent as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals and experience the same psychological changes. Bullying occurs more often than with transgender individuals than cisgender or Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) combined, especially in school settings

Dank, Lachman, Zweig, and Yahmer (2013) examined the prevalence of dating abuse and violence among LGB versus heterosexual youth.

Participants were 5,647 youth participants from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Of the participants in the study, six percent identified as LGB while the other 94% identified as heterosexual. Some of the demographic characteristics in the study included what the participants sexual orientation was, what was their gender as well as their age and race/ethnicity. 

Participants completed an anonymous survey online. Dank et al. (2013) assessed the participants school performance, parental involvement, risk behaviors, psychosocial adjustment, and social interaction, dating abuse and violence (p. 850). The authors also assess the experiences with dating and abuse. For example, Dank et al. (2013) look at several types of abuse, like physical dating, psychological dating, cyber dating abuse as well as sexual coercion and help-seeking behavior (p. 848-850). The researchers designed a questionnaire specifically for this research. 

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The researchers indicated that there were significant rates with the LGB youth when it came to psychological dating abuse (59%) than heterosexual youth (46.4%).  When looking at the table, it showed that heterosexual youths had higher rates than LGB youth’s academic performance and how much their parents were involved. The table showed that transgender youth participants reported significantly higher rates than cisgender youths for abuse. Authors found that participants in the study demonstrated that their experiences with violence in their relationships indicated possible effects long-term into the future

The results of this study provided more information as to the higher rate of dating abuse and violence among LGB youth compared to heterosexual youth. With the information from this study, the LGBTQ community can raise awareness and have interventions to reduce the incidence of violence. When there is violence in the relationship at early age, it is more likely to occur in their future relationships as well. LGB youth can become so accustomed to violence at an early age, they might think it is normal and that their partner is showing them how much they love them. In the future, they will just stick to the same patterns, looking for partners that are abusive because it is what they know or think they deserve.

There are several limitations in Dank et al.’s (2013) study. The first limitation could be that the percentages of dating violence and abuse might be an underestimate. Even though the participants knew the survey was anonymous, the participants could have been reluctant to tell the truth and could have lied on the survey which affects the results of the study. Most victims of dating abuse and violence do not want to speak up about what is going on their relationship which could lead them to lie. Another limitation is that the researchers only focused on three states for the study and for future research the authors should expand the locations. The socioeconomic status is not identified and should be in future research to determine whether it is considered a relevant variable. For future research, the study should include this information because rates could be significantly higher with a certain socioeconomic status than the other.

Goldblum et al. (2012) explored whether there was a correlation between gender-based victimization (GBV) in school and suicide attempts among trans youth.

Researchers recruited 350 participants of which 290 reported in-school GBV (hostility, distress or insensitivity). Goldblum et al. (2012), recruited the participants through either support groups, websites, diverse types of networks or service providers (p. 470).  The study was conducted of transgender people throughout Virginia. According to the researchers, “the participant demographic included Caucasian (65.9%), African American (22.1%), multi-racial (7.2%), Hispanic (2.4%), Asian or Pacific Islander (0.7%), Native American (0.3%), and other (0.3%)” (Goldblum et al.,2012, p. 470). The researchers looked at the participants socioeconomic status (SES) and in this study the participants were primarily of the low and middle SES.

Participants completed a survey for this study that was either a paper version (English or Spanish) and an internet version. The researchers looked at the difference between the various subgroups within the trans community. The survey in this focused on in-school GBV, suicide attempts, whether the participants completed school or not because of GBV and what age were they when they were aware of their gender identity.

The researchers indicated that 44.8% of the 290 participants experienced in-school GBV from other students and faculty because of their gender identity. When looking at the different subgroups, results indicated that trans men (60.5%) experienced higher in-school GBV than trans women (38.8%). Goldblum et al. (2012) found that of all the 290 participants, 28.5% reported history of suicide attempts and were significantly higher in trans men (32.1%) than trans women (26.5%). Ethnicity and SES were both positively correlated with suicide attempts. Goldblum et al. (2012) also found the participants in the “other” category had the highest reported attempts (60.0%). The suicide attempt rate for low SES was 30.5% while middle SES (29.0%) was close in reported statistics. 

The results of this study provided more information as to the impact of in-school GBV and suicide among trans youth. When youths come out, most people are not as accepting as others, which can make them feel that suicide is the only way out because they do not have the support that they all deserve to have.  When coming out, many individual risk getting bullied or victimized, which increases the chances for suicide among transgender youth. These results demonstrated that suicide is a growing concern for all youths but, especially for the LGBTQ community because individuals in society are not accepting and want to take their hate out of transgender youth.

There are several limitations in Goldblum et al.’s (2012) study. The first limitation is would in-school GBV and the researchers operational definition of it. The researcher’s operational definition of GBV was a limitation because they only focused on hostility, insensitivity or distress. For future research, the study should include other types of bullying for example, physical or cyberbullying. The researcher could look into GBV versus bullying (physically) or cyberbullying and see if they are similar in ways. The researchers could also research cisgender youth and transgender youth and determine the rates of bullying between both and how prevalent they are between the two. Another limitation is the reliability of the study. This is a limitation because the results of the study could be misconstrued because the participants might not reveal the truth on the survey and lie. Some people would not want to tell the truth because they do not want to be a part of a statistic. For future research, natural observation should be included, which might help with accurate results as well as include a comparison or a control group. They could compare cisgender to trans youth, or cisgender compared to LGBTQ youth.

Toomey, Diaz, and Russell (2013) examined if there was a correlation between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth who are nonconforming and their experiences of victimization and how it would affect the participants depression or life satisfaction in the future.

Researchers recruited 245 LGBT adults from the San Francisco Bay Area. The participants were around 21-25 years old, either Caucasian (48.6%) or Latino (51.4%) and came out as to at least one of their parents. Data was also provided by the Family Acceptance Project. According to Toomey et al. (2013), the participants in the study were lesbian (27.8%), gay (42.5%), bisexual (13.1%) or other (16.7%) (p.74). The researchers-controlled “gender, sexual orientation, coming out, immigrant status, ethnicity and families socioeconomic status (SES)” (Toomey et al., 2013, p. 72-73).

Participants completed a survey for this study. The survey was either administered online, in person and was available in Spanish or English. The researchers operationally defined psychosocial adjustment as the participants well-being, life satisfaction and depression. Toomey et al. (2013) examined at gender nonconformity, self-reported victimization and life satisfaction. 

Results indicated that for gender nonconformity, females were less than men and transgender youth to be nonconforming during adolescence. Comparing males and transgender youth, transgender youth had the highest levels. Researchers discovered a correlation with victimization and gender nonconformity, which was correlated with depression and decreased life satisfaction.

 The results of this study provided more information into victimization of the LGBT adolescents and that it leads to depression in adulthood. Readers should care about this research study because it shows what victimization can do individuals and how it affects them psychologically long-term. Readers should want to care about victimization of adolescents, so they can raise awareness about it and try to help reduce or prevent it from happening in the future. School systems should raise awareness also and take precautionary measures to try to prevent it from happening in the school and make it a safer place where students will be excited to go everyday instead of dreading it.

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There are many limitations in this study. First, the results are not considered to be generalizable. The researchers only focus on residents in California and for future research, the study should include other states and even different countries. Another limitation is the researcher’s operational definition of psychosocial adjustment because it is limited into what they are researching. For future research, more factors should be included other than life satisfaction and depression. According to the researchers, a limitation they found was that mentioned school victimization and that was their only focus instead of including violence. This is a limitation because not all participants experience the same victimizations as others. Also, violence might be more prevalent. For future research, violence and several types of bullying should be included as well as using a different kind of measure because a survey is not very accurate.

Wernick, Kulick, and Inglehart (2014) explored the relationship between bullying and transgender youth (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ)) and the witnessing of people intervening.

The researchers operationally defined trans in the study as “transgender, genderqueer, and individuals who do not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth” (Wernick et al., 2014, p. 927). Researchers recruited 1,171 participants from four different high schools in Michigan, and more than half were Caucasian and cisgender.

Participants in each school were given a survey that was administered by their teachers. The survey consisted of questions that had the participants answer from one- five. The researchers were trying to find out that if certain phrases were said, were peers likely to help or just watch as it happens. The demographic backgrounds in the study, like age, race and gender were controlled.

Results indicated from the survey, that when a certain phrase was being said to a transgender student, most of the participants were unlikely to intervene. Wernick et al. (2014) found that most transgender students tend not to not report any type harassment to any of the faculty members. The authors found that when there were transgender students being harassed or bullied and the peers watched as it happened, no one reported anything, not even the faculty.

The results of the study provided readers with more information on anti-transgender harassment and bullying and how individuals are unwilling to intervene. LGBTQQ students should feel comfortable in their school and should be allowed to tell the faculty what is going on without fear of judgement or harassment, especially on the faculties end. Readers should care about this study because LGBTQQ students should feel safe wherever they are, especially at school. These findings can be used out into the world, by having assemblies and raising awareness to students all over the country about the impact of bullying LGBTQQ youth and what it does to individuals when no one will speak up about the situation.

There are many limitations in this study. First, are the researchers in this study only focus on one state, Michigan and four different schools in the same district. These limit the generalizability of the results. For future research, it could be beneficial for it to include schools  from different districts as well as different states and do a comparison.  Another limitation is that most of the participants are Caucasian and cisgender. Different minorities are affected more than others and Caucasians sometimes have more privilege and do not experience the same struggles minorities face. Future research should try to include all minorities and determine if there is a difference between the them when it comes to harassment or if the results would be similar.

When it comes to bullying, harassment and violence of the LGBTQQ community, we have found out many things. What we know is that there are many factors that contribute to depression and other mental health issues. LGBTQQ youth are the most susceptible especially when they are in high school. During these years, is the start of the violence, bullying and victimization. From the articles, transgender youth are more vulnerable than LGB youth when it comes to bullying, dropping out of school or attempting/committing suicide because of the violence. What we do not know is how to decrease the violence, bullying and victimization within the LGBTQQ community. The articles raise awareness but make no attempt to find a way that lowers the rate of suicide, bullying, harassment and victimization.

All the articles but Dank et al. (2014) focus their studies on one state, which results in the study not being generalizable. All the articles consisted of self-report measures or surveys. These measures can have a lack of honest or interest. Some of the participants, will just fill the survey out, disregarding the questions completely and the validity and reliability of the study can be questioned. Another limitation is all the articles but Dank et al. (2014) only focus on transgender youth. It could be more beneficial if the focus would be transgender youth and either compare them with other minorities or Caucasian youth to determine if the results would vary or stay the same.


  • Dank, M., Lachman, P., Zweig, J. M., & Yahner, J. (2014). Dating violence experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence43(5), 846–857. https://doi-org.proxy-bc.researchport.umd.edu/10.1007/s10964-013-9975-8 
  • Goldblum, P., Testa, R. J., Pflum, S., Hendricks, M. L., Bradford, J., & Bongar, B. (2012). The relationship between gender-based victimization and suicide attempts in transgender people. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice43(5), 468–475. https://doi-org.proxy-bc.researchport.umd.edu/10.1037/a0029605
  • Toomey, R. B., Ryan, C., Diaz, R. M., Card, N. A., & Russell, S. T. (2013). Gender-nonconforming lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth: School victimization and young adult psychosocial adjustment. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1(S), 71-80. doi:10.1037/2329-0382.1.s.71
  • Wernick, L. J., Kulick, A., & Inglehart, M. H. (2014). Influences of peers, teachers, and climate on students’ willingness to intervene when witnessing anti-transgender harassment. Journal of Adolescence37(6), 927–935. https://doi-org.proxy-bc.researchport.umd.edu/10.1016/j.adolescence.2014.06.008


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