Bullied gay teen explains why he decided to fight back

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A video of Jordan, a 16-year-old high school student, punching a homophobic bully went viral this week. Jordan said later that the incident occurred after years and years of build-up.

Jordan was a guest on the Tamron Hall Show where he and his mom broke down in tears when speaking about the homophobic bullying he has endured.

Jordan was suspended after the fight and he is now being home-schooled after his mother saw how he was being treated by his high school.

“It seemed like I was getting in more trouble for reporting [the bullying] than I was if I didn’t say anything at all,” he said. “It was doing me more harm than it was good.”

Homophobia is still a problem in the world of dance

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Earlier this year, “Good Morning America” ran what was supposed to be a cute culture story about the first-grade curriculum of Britain’s Prince George. But when correspondent Lara Spencer mentioned that the 6-year-old boy was studying ballet, she couldn’t suppress her laughter.

As Spencer said, “We’ll see how long that lasts,” co-host George Stephanopolous and most of the studio audience also laughed. Being laughed at for pursuing dance is familiar to almost any boy who studies the art form, especially ballet.

Deidre Tangorra’s 9-year-old son, Julius, has been aggressively bullied for dancing. At school, he’s been put in a chokehold, tripped and tackled while being called “twinkle toes,” “fairy” and other homophobic slurs. He can’t ride the school bus because of other kids spitting on him, according to both Julius and his mother.

“If a boy wants to do something perceived as slightly feminine, they’re perceived as weaker,” Tangorra said. “It’s not about being against dance, it’s machoness.”

Julius had a strong reaction to Spencer’s laughter and comments. “When she said it, I felt bad and angry and embarrassed,” he said. Following the TV host’s controversial remarks, the dance community rallied to the young royal’s defense, and #BoysDanceToo became a trending social media hashtag.

Spencer apologized for her comments and interviewed three male dancers who discussed their careers and experiences with bullying. Yet, the issue of men being perceived as feminine never came up in their discussion and neither did sexual orientation nor gender identity. The subtext of the apology was that Spencer erred in saying that male dancers aren’t masculine, but not that it’s wrong to laugh at men who have a feminine side.

Many in the dance community felt it was a missed opportunity to address the root of the stigma male dancers deal with — homophobia and misogyny — especially because these exist within the dance world as well.

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Photos: Kirill Sokolovsky

Gay teen slaps the homophobia out of his cowardly bully

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High school student Jordan Steffy was bullied by homophobes at his school since 2nd grade. This week he decided that he had enough and fought back when a classmate called him a faggot.

He posted a video in which the bully can be heard throwing the slur at Jordan while trying to physically intimidate him (and being almost comically incompetent at it) before Jordan gives him a pretty good slap.

Another video of the incident, which you can see below, was watched almost seven million times within three days. You can hear the bully say “don’t fucking put your hands on me faggot.” After attempting to slap the homophobia out of him, Jordan warns him to not call him that word again.

According to Jordan both him and the bully were suspended by the school. Jordan’s mum defended him for standing up for himself and decided to look into homeschooling because she believes the school handled the situation poorly by letting the bullying going on for years and then punishing Jordan for eventually fighting back.

Queer teens need more than anti-bullying statutes

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On October 20, 2010, offices, classrooms, and social media profiles around the world became awash in the color purple, the stripe of LGBTQ+ pride flag associated with “spirit.” It was the first observance of Spirit Day, the now-official LGBTQ+ holiday devoted to anti-bullying advocacy. But before the spirit of Spirit Day moved millions to voice their support for queer youth, it moved a high school sophomore from Vancouver to speak out. Her name was Brittany McMillan, and it was her viral Tumblr post decrying the homophobic bullying that influenced the suicides of five teens across the country that inspired the international event we recognize today.

Nearly a decade since McMillan’s original call to action, Spirit Day has become a global phenomenon, with participants from Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown to drag queen Peppermint to queer icon Paula Abdul joining LGBTQ+ community members and allies in offering empathy and support to LGBTQ+ youth who have experienced bullying. Yet perhaps the most stirring take from this year’s Spirit Day so far has come from Pose star Angelica Ross. “We all need to take a stand against all forms of bullying. But we have to go beyond just turning our profile pictures purple,” she told GLAAD. “I see a lot of folks out there giving us lip service.”

Spirit Day may be bigger than ever, but as Ross suggests, queer and transphobic bullying is as prevalent as ever, too — and calls to action may not be enough to curtail it. While events like Spirit Day are no doubt essential for spreading awareness, it’s going to take both structural, state-level legal reforms and school-by-school policy changes to curb LGBTQ+ youth bullying. Recent studies have shown that neither on their own will be enough.

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