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Things are better for LGBT teens – but millennials have to stop using ‘gay’ as an insult

Olivia Millet August 21, 2017
A school class representing LGBT history being taught in Illinois schools

A school classroom. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

The 21st century is the best and worst time to grow up as a teenager.

Thankfully, the younger generation has become more accepting of the LGBT community, and 16-year-olds in my year have the confidence to come out.

With five people having confidently announced their sexuality in my school year alone, this just shows me how rapidly society is changing.

The changes in schools compared to just 10 or 20 years ago are massive.

Boys bullying boy in school.
Some LGBT children are still bullied today

Passed in 1988 and in place until 2003, Section 28 stated that schools “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”, or “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

This shows just how much the education system has changed in the last few years. The progress for the LGBT community since my parents were at school has meant that more teenagers are able to be true to themselves and open about their sexuality.

But even though school life has definitely changed for the better, in the LGBT community teens still suffer from bullying and homophobic behaviour today.

Despite my gay friends being open about their sexuality, this does not stop others from using homophobic language.

The phrase “that’s so gay” is constantly thrown around as a method of teasing someone, and that will only lead to further offensive language in the future if we don’t educate teens about the homophobic language they use.

It’s not just down to students, though. Teachers also need to realise that they are the ones who can make a difference.

The majority of girls in my school year were afraid of coming out as lesbian or bi, but unlike my parents’ generation and their parents’ generation, thankfully no-one seems to actually care.

School girls bullying school boy
Teachers and students have to work together to tackle bullying

Being told someone is gay or bisexual in the 21st century is just not a big deal.

When teachers were made aware of the increase of out people in my year, their responses were non-existent.

I’m not sure if they feel uncomfortable, as some of the older teachers may. Even if they do, none of my friends have ever felt that teachers were prejudiced against them due to their sexuality. Most teachers refuse to treat anyone differently.

Even though things seem to have improved, it’s still important to educate children in schools to better understand the difficulty that LGBT children face about not feeling accepted in society.

Even though teenage homophobia has decreased, it needs to stop completely.

More: bisexual teenagers, bullying, coming out, Gay, gay teenagers, girls school, millennials, school, teenagers, That's So Gay

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