Causes of Homophobic Bullying

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Joel Burns is a city councilman from Fort Worth, Texas. During an "otherwise ordinary city council meeting," Burns took the opportunity to raise an issue that has been tormenting kids and adults around the world: bullying. Yet Burns is not referring to any bullying. What Burns addresses in his speech, called "It Gets Better," is bullying people who are gay, lesbian, or "just different," ("Joel Burns Tells Gay Teens 'It Gets Better.'"). The speech was powerful enough, and with just enough personal experience interjected, that it became an overnight internet sensation as well as a Technology, Education, Design (TED): Ideas Worth Spreading video. The speech by Burns refers both to the causes and the effects of bullying based on sexual orientation, simply referred to as homophobic bullying. Homophobic bullying is a phenomenon that is reviewed throughout scholarly literature and books, as well as popular culture. The causes of homophobic bullying are deeply rooted in social stigmas and prejudices against same-sex romance and sexuality, while the effects of homophobic bullying are personal (suicide, depression, substance abuse) and social (the perpetuation of intolerance, and human rights abuses). "It Gets Better" is a lecture by a Texas city councilman, who bravely discusses homophobia, its causes and effects, to a potentially hostile audience. In the lecture, Burns talks about the "unbearable" pain of being bullied, as he was bullied himself as a young person in school. From
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