Alex Blaze

New study on anti-gay bullying and latino parents

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 18, 2007 12:20 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bullying, latinos, parents, schools, study

Mental Health America and its "What does gay mean?" initiative just completed a large study of opinions among latino parents on anti-gay bullying in schools. I've been staring at the executive summary trying to think of something to say about it, but the answers are completely unremarkable. In a good way. The most that I can say about this study is that it shows that latino parents aren't monolithically homophobic and that they're, for the most part, well aware of gay issues.

Even though the press release that came with the study tries to have a "gotcha!" moment with the data that showed that almost all latino parents their kids to come to them for information about sexuality but only around a third have actually started that conversation, but it's not remarkable. It makes sense considering the first question sounds like the parents are a source of information as opposed to other kids, and I think most parents no matter their ideas on sexuality would rather their kids not learn from other kids about those issues but would still be uncomfortable with talking with their kids about gays, especially since the parents included in the study had kids all the way down to newborns.

The study also shows that about a fifth of latino parents don't think that there's any bullying of gay kids at schools, but that makes sense considering that some of the parents don't have school-age kids, some of them have kids in elementary school (I wouldn't imagine that much bullying of kids because of their sexuality at that point, rather because of their gender performance), and some might be surprised if they found out that there were any openly gay students at their kids' schools.

The vast majority of latino parents said that they think bullying of gay kids is harmful to them, and that's pretty much what most parents would say. I mean, very few people would actually tell someone, even on an anonymous survey, that they think bullying is great.

And that's about it. I suppose the only thing that's remarkable is the lack of remarkable information. Latino parents aren't all about to en masse kick their gay kids out of the home and teach their kids to beat up the local faggot or dyke. They're a diverse group with a lot of the same values - fairness, diversity, education - and it's not like they won't think that issues like this are important.

It seems rather ridiculous that we have to do a poll to show this, but I'm glad someone did to show that latinos aren't monolithically or uniformly homophobic, or that they're a group of people who are just going to beat up the nearest queer. Which is something that I've found a lot of Anglos think, if for nothing but to talk about how unenlightened a large immigrant population is.

In fact, I'd have to say that what made me finally come out to my latina mother was her attempting (and failing, but not from lack of trying) to help start a GSA at her school. Sure, she still had a problem with me being gay at first, but I'm not about to indict all latinos because of it.


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