ABSTRACT

Introduction Extant research suggests some sexual minority1 youth choose to ‘fight back’ against homophobic bullying and harassment in schools (Johnson 2008, Grossman et al. 2009, Kosciw et al. 2010), but these instances remain largely unexplored. Instead, research highlights consequences such as negative school outcomes and increased depression, suicidality, and substance use (e.g., Bontempo and D’Augelli 2002, Espelage et al. 2008, Birkett et al. 2009). Although these are important avenues of exploration and are also the focus of much of the broader literature on school bullying, neglecting to explore how sexual minority youth respond to homophobic victimization in schools fails to capture the full range of those youths’ experiences. The omission of these active responses is also surprising in light of evidence that school bullying victimization is associated with delinquent behavior, gang membership, and violence (Cullen et al. 2008, Carbone-Lopez et al. 2010, McGee et al. 2011, Ttofi et al. 2012). Furthermore, research suggests sexual minority youth are more likely to engage in fighting and weapons carrying than their peers (e.g., Russell et al. 2001, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2011, Button et al. 2012), but the extent to which these acts are defensive in nature is unclear.