A survey company dedicated to market research recently found that most teens are quite supportive of gay rights. Pangea media conducted a survey of teens and tweens, with nearly 3500 respondents and discovered that most kids seem to take a fairly libertarian view of gay issues, while also acknowledging that gay students are discriminated against in their own schools.
Some 75% of those surveyed supported gay marriage, while a slightly higher 78% supported the right of gay students to bring a same-sex date to prom. And yet, 57% said gay students were discriminated against in their schools.
I found that interesting in light of the new research on bullying that looks to the silent majority of non-bullies and non-victims as a potential force to end bullying. While most kids don’t care if their fellow students are gay (a majority also said it wouldn’t bother them to have a same-gender gay friend), gay kids are still facing problems with harassment in school. Supposing that an even smaller minority of the kids who oppose gay rights are actual bullies (I have to assume many are just quietly disapproving), it seems like it wouldn’t take so much for the discrimination to stop. All these kids need is the backing of the adults in the school and a strong sense that they are not alone in disapproving of discrimination.
I have to imagine that for teens, it’s a lot easier to announce your opinion on an anonymous survey than it would be to oppose an incident in the hall between periods. But it gives me hope to know that just maybe when one or two kids do have the courage to stand up against hate, their peers might overwhelmingly have their backs.
See Also: Judge Won’t Protect Kids from the Gays