Bullied for being Bisexual
Publish Date: 15/10/2010
Yesterday, ahead of last night's ITV1 Tonight programme which focused on cyber bullying, 15-year-old Joe Paterson talked about how he was bullied online for being bisexual on This Morning with Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
Joe was bombarded with abuse via an online social networking site after he came out as bisexual at school, and started self-harming.
After his mum found out, Joe and his school were able to address the issue and Joe held an assembly to explain what he'd been through.
Linda, Joe's mum says that she noticed scratches on his arm. Joe told his family he'd been self-harming as a result of bullying.
Joe had to process his coming-out, his self-harming and being bullied in front of his family all at once. However difficult this was, he has had great support from his family and gone on to be an inspiration to others. Now 15, Joe has been taking positive action by giving presentations in school assemblies about the importance of challenging homophobia, biphobia and bullying.
In May, Joe contacted the Lesbian & Gay Foundation to ask for materials to use in his presentations and recently visited us with his mum to be presented with an award for challenging homophobia. There he met Coronation Street's Antony Cotton who told him what an inspiration he was.
So far in his school assemblies Joe has spoken to Years 7, 9 and 10 and says it was terrifying at first, but he is now getting into his stride. He would like to tour other schools with his presentation in the future.
Now Joe has gone on to challenge the bullies and talk openly on radio and TV programmes across the country. He is an extraordinary young man.
Next week on lgf.org.uk we will feature more of Joe's story.
More on Cyber Bullying
Joe's mum Linda was on This Morning with Joe and Mark William Thomas, a child protection expert to advise on how to spot online bullying. A reported 22 percent of children and young people in the UK claim to have been the target of cyber bullying.
On the ITV1 Tonight programme Julie Etchingham tackled the increasing scourge of online bullying. For anyone who is being cyber-bullied or cyber-stalked, the Tonight website has some useful links: http://www.itv.com/news/tonight/episodes/tonightbulliesonline/