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Journal of Adolescent Research

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The bullying of sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) is pervasive, with documented negative impacts on health. We explored the social ecology of bullying of SGMY, with a focus on religion as a source or context of bullying. Semistructured interviews with service providers, educators, and administrators in Toronto, Canada, who work with SGMY explored perspectives on the bullying of SGMY, focusing on religiously based bullying and strategies for intervention. Interviews (45-60 minutes) were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic content analysis. The data revealed religiously based homophobic discourse that permeates religious (places of worship, faith-based schools) and secular microsystems (public schools, families) across SGMY’s social ecology. The language and ideology of “sin” and “conversion” were evidenced in direct religiously based bullying of SGMY in schools, and victimization in places of worship and family microsystems, as well as serving as a rationale for bullying and nonintervention by teachers, school staff, administrators, and family members. Multisectoral and multilevel influences of religiously based sexual prejudice on the bullying of SGMY suggest that existing individual-level and microsystem-level responses in schools should be augmented with institutional, policy, and legal interventions in SGMY’s more distal social ecology in order to effectively prevent religiously based homophobic bullying. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by SAGE Publications in Journal of Adolescent Research on June 2, 2017, available online:


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work

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Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 3000

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Social Work Commons