Research@Fielding.edu

The Influence of Religion on Bullying Behaviors

Jolyn JB DePriest, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

The purpose of this research is to explore the role of religion in the discrimination and bullying of LGBT individuals and their lived experiences. Bullying behaviors have escalated in schools, workplaces, and houses of worship, particularly against members of the LGBT community. Suicides among victims of bullying have become commonplace. Programs and projects to explore the religious influence are scarce or ignored. The foundation of this research was based on a grounded theory design through semi-structured qualitative interviews. A total of 26 LGBT individuals, 13 males and 13 females, shared their perspective on the place religion holds in their lives relating to struggles and experiences. The participants experienced bullying directly and indirectly as a result of religious beliefs and its’ influence in the workplace, family, place of worship, and school setting. They shared the culminating life decisions made to compensate for the lived experience of isolation, and judgment stemming from their sexual orientation. The data revealed a connection between religious doctrines fueling discrimination sanctioning bullying behavior and LGBT dissociation to organized religion and association with spirituality.

Key Words: bullying, bullycide, rankism, religion, LGBT.

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