Question: How can I combat the huge amount of homophobia in my school without outing myself or making myself a target for bullying?
You can’t. You will make yourself a target.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up and try to stop it or that you have to suffer unjustly if you stand up for what is right. It just means that you need to be strategic and part of that means understanding what exactly it is you can accomplish and how exactly you can accomplish it.
By standers and allies have an important role to play in creating cultural norms. By not tolerating unwanted behavior and modelling wanted behavior, they help shape the cultural norms of the school. It’s critical that someone have the courage to do this and start the process.
But don’t go into it blind. Find out how behaviors are learned and more importantly unlearned and how people change over time and how cultural norms are established.
Whenever you try to change a cultural norm, you will experience backlash. It’s called an extinction burst and it’s part of the process. Individuals do it and groups do it. Knowing that helps get through it.
I have a LOT of free learning material on my website where I describe the process (which involves behavioral psychology techniques known as operant conditioning). This knowledge will help you develop a strategy and a coalition of people dedicated to eliminating the homophobia in your school.
To learn more get the book, join the website and take advantage of all the free material and if you are being chronically harassed, sign up for the toolkit program.