bulliedBy Deb Murphy, Youth Services Specialist

Bullying is mean and it hurts.  In this article we’re going to talk a little about what bullying is and what you can do to keep yourself and others safer.

When I looked up the definition of bullying, I found that there are lots of ways to talk about this subject. They all have a few things in common.  First thing - the power between the people involved isn’t equal.  The bully is using their power to hurt and control the victim.  The victim has a hard time defending themselves. Second thing - the bully is trying to control and hurt.  It’s not an accident or mistake. Third thing - the hurtful behavior happens more than once. So someone being mean one time doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bully, they might have just made a mistake or having a bad day.

There’s all kinds of ways to bully.  A few of them are:

Verbal – teasing, name calling, put down, threats that aren’t fun and aren’t play.

Physical – pinching, shoving, punching, knives, guns

Social – this one can be really complicated and mean.  It could be starting untrue rumors about someone.  It could be making sure someone is never invited to fun things anymore.

Cyberbullying – this happens on line, on the phone and goes on 24/7.

You know, I was surprised at how many resources talk just about the bully and the victim.  I found a really good paper (OK – got to do this to be fair – Smith, P.K. (2004). Bullying: Recent Developments. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 9(3), 98-103.) that talks about everyone involved in bullying.  They divided people up as:

Ringleaders – these are the people who start the bullying.

Followers – these are the people who join in once the bullying has started.

Bystanders (Smith calls them Reinforcers) – these people give the bully the audience s/he is looking for.

Defenders – these are the people who say “stop” or go get help from adults.

Outsiders – people who are not involved in and don’t know about the bullying.

This is a lot of people!  In cyberbullying, this could be hundreds of people!

OK, that’s nice.  But I’m being bullied! What do I do?

First things first – understand this is not your fault! Be proud of who and what you are no matter what someone else says to you. Please, don’t be afraid to ask an adult for help.  Choose an adult who you think will help.

Next step – staying safe.  No matter what is going on, your first job is to keep yourself safe.  If it is safe to do so, tell the bully to stop. If you can’t do that, walk or run away.  If you can’t get away, and they are hitting you, curl up and protect your head.

Once you know you are a target, you need to work to help keep yourself safer.  Again, tell an adult you think will help you what is going on.  Find a way to avoid the bully.  Stay with other people so the bully can’t get you alone.

Me? Bully?

I think one of the big problems bullies and followers have is they don’t understand how badly they are hurting the other person.  If you are a bully, please stop – it isn’t cool or funny, you’re doing real damage.  If you can’t stop, please talk to a trusted adult and ask them to help you.  You too are worthy of love and support.

If you’re not sure you’re a bully, ask the other person.  Say something like “hey, I thought I was just teasing.  Did I really hurt you?  I’m sorry!”  Note – this is not a way to get away from consequences, people can tell if you are lying.

If you made a mistake or you’re trying to be a better person: APOLOGIZE! Make a commitment to treat people better next time. Again, ask for help if you need it.

Speak Up!

As for bystanders , the ones who say “I didn’t do anything, I was just there!”  Nice story, but not true.   Remember, someone is getting hurt!  Help if you can, walk away if you can’t but take away the bully’s audience.  Later,  let the victim know you saw what happened and you’re sorry it happened to them.  You need to make it right too. Let an adult know what happened.

Don't Be a Hero

Now we come to the defender, to the person who wants to stop the violence in front of them.  That’s great, but please remember, you could get hurt.  If you’re not sure it’s safe to break it up, go get an adult to help.  Let the victim know later you helped.

Bullying hurts all of us and all of us can work together to stop it.

Photo: Steven Fernandez on Flickr

$$$ for Higher Ed

Hey recent graduates and returning college students... it may not be too late to apply for scholarships! We have posted a few links to some very LGBT-specific scholarship resources that your school's financial aid office may not know about. In fact, we were just made aware (by our friends at ERSICSS) of a new statewide LGBT scholarship given by The United Court of Austin. Check 'em out, and please let us know if you are aware of any others that we can add to the list!

Don't assume you can't get a scholarship. Maybe you think your grades aren't strong enough. Maybe you got a loan and decided to blow it off. Whatever the excuse, it never hurts to apply. Not all scholarships are GPA-based. If you need help, ask Deb or Des!

Hatch Uke Band - Born This Way (Lady Gaga)

Hatch youth learnied to play ukuleles! So, we're not rock stars yet, but that doesn't mean we can't act like it. We'd like to thank ERSICSS for donating the ukes and for inspiring us to take a ride on the creative side with this awesomely fun video. Lady Gaga and her song "Born This Way" have been a big inspiration to us this year, too, OBVIOUSLY.

Sing along at the end!

About the Prom

Prom 2014

The Hatch Prom is held on the first Friday of June. The Prom Steering Committee, comprised of Hatch youth, develop a new theme each year. 

NEXT PROM    June 2, 2016 • 7pm - Midnight

Numbers Night Club    300 Westheimer

Click HERE to purchase tickets to the prom

The Hatch Prom is a tradition and rite of passage for Houston-area LGBTQIA youth. Imagine going to your high school prom and being able to dress like you want to, dance with your partner, and just be yourself! That's what Hatch prom is all about. You won't recognize the place because it'll be transformed into an awesome dance floor with a rockin' DJ, and tons of yummy food. We'll have a photographer there to take your photo.

As always, young adults ages 21-25 and over are invited to purchase tickets for $25. This year, we are having an adult VIP reception, and tickets to that event are $50. We also welcome you to be a sponsor of prom.  LGBTQIA youth up to age 20 are admitted for free. We encourage the youth to wear a costume, come in drag, gown, tuxedo, or whatever they're comfortable wearing as long as it's legal.

Prom also happens to be an opportunity for the community to give back and earmark their funds for this youth program. In the last few years, we've expanded Hatch to offer in-school meetings, Safe Zones on-campus counseling, Outreach workers who try to keep LGBT youth from living on the street. We thank our generous sponsors, without whom this event would not be possible!


Any Houston-area businesses who want to participate with food donations or prom court donations should get in touch with Anna Garza at 713.529.0037 x368.


We need lots of super-awesome volunteers to get things ready and for clean-up. We especially need people that can help decorate and run errands on June 5-6 during the day. If you want to join our Prom Volunteer Crew, please contact Jay Mays at 713.529.0037 x395.

Allie Answers the Tough Questions

Ask Allie!Have questions about dating, relationships, coming out, or just like... living, but maybe are afraid to ask? Ask Allie! was a companion site to Hatch just for LGBTQ teens to throw out questions and get real honest answers. Allie was is a social worker who worked for the Montrose Center, the same organization that makes Hatch happen. She had lots of experience, mostly around education, counseling and advocacy regarding sexual assault, domestic violence and hate crimes. She did workshops throughout Houston for youth and adults about violence prevention, dating and healthy relationships, and coming out issues; and worked directly with persons who had become targets of violent crime and abuse.

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The Montrose Center

Jamie Collins Jersey