Thesis

Sticks & stones: using photovoice to examine LGBTQ youths' experiences with bullying

Bullying/harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students is a major crisis. Using the photovoice methodology, seven junior high and high school students were recruited for a combination of visual sociology (photographs) and one-on-one / group dialogue sessions used to examine LGBTQ youth bullying in a Los Angeles, California suburb. Six themes emerged: (1) what the contemporary form of bullying is; (2) a lack of understanding on various levels - the disconnect between youth from other youth, youth from their parents, youth from their school faculty/administration, and youth from their community/city; (3) the notion of spaces - those that youth find negative and those they find safe; (4) the role of Gay-Straight Alliances; (5) common lack of motivations to seek help; and (6) proposed solutions to address the problem. This study aims to highlight the youths' voices as part of the discourse surrounding their lived experiences of bullying, as well as incorporating their suggestions into the discussion of how the problem should be addressed.

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