Being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender
Research shows that gay teens get bullied two to three times more than heterosexual teens. Interestingly, studies also show that gay and lesbian teens are the least likely to bully others. Even when a victim is not actually gay, bullies may use homosexual slurs and disparaging remarks to taunt their peers.
Bullying is not a mere rite of passage or a natural part of being gay. In fact, bullying contributes to physical and mental health problems as well as an elevated risk of suicide among gay teens.
Being Shy or Socially Awkward
Teens who are shy, isolated or socially awkward tend to be targets for bullies. Bullies search for victims who they perceive as weak in hopes that they’ll be too embarrassed to report the bullying to an authority figure.
Having a Learning Disability or Emotional or Behavioral Disorder
Bullies target kids who are different. Studies show that teens with learning disabilities, emotional or behavioral disorders, and even food allergies are at increased risk of being bullied. For example, teens with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often struggle to keep up with their classmates in reading and are taunted because of it. Left untreated, teens with ADHD and other disorders can be prime targets for bullies.