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Lecture to address bullying, bias against LGBT community

September 30, 2011

ASU Professor Madelaine Adelman will discuss how to recognize and put an end to bullying and bias against the LGBT community and how to improve the current climate.

The event takes place at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 13 at the Nursing and Health Innovation Building Two, 550 N. Third St., Phoenix, Innovation Auditorium, room 110.

The lecture is part of the 2011 fall Humanities Lecture Series, hosted by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences.  Adelman’s lecture is open to the general public and is free.

“In general, bullying is an aggressive pattern of negativity toward another with the intent of humiliating or isolating someone. This type of violence often goes undetected but causes a tremendous amount of pain, even murder or suicide,” said Mirna Lattouf, ASU humanities professor and series organizer. “It is our responsibility to provide the community an opportunity to learn about shameful behavior as it becomes more prevalent, especially toward minority groups or the young, both of which are usually unable to fight back. The case of bullying and bias against the LGBT community as a hate crime must be addressed with awareness and combated with skills and knowledge in the hope of bringing about acceptance.”

The School of Letters and Sciences provides students across ASU with the knowledge and skills to comprehend and effectively engage the changing world of the 21st century at local, national and global levels. Theory, creativity and applied learning are integrated as students build entrepreneurial opportunities both inside the university and in their communities.

Adelman is an associate professor of justice and social inquiry in the School of Social Transformation as well as a co-founder and co-chair of the Phoenix chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Research shows that Arizona’s LGBT students face higher incidents of bullying, lower educational attainment, and a diminished sense of safety on their campuses compared to non-LGBT students.

In some instances, it can lead to disaster. Jamey Rodenmeyer, a 14-year-old from Williamsville, N.Y., committed suicide in September after years of being bullied online. His parents and friends say he was relentlessly tormented by hate comments with gay references on social networking websites and in school. Rodenmeyer’s suicide drew national attention when pop singer Lady Gaga addressed his death on her Twitter page. “The past days I’ve spent reflecting, crying, and yelling. I have so much anger. It is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someone’s life,” she wrote.  “Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime.”

Adelman called Rodenmeyer’s death “tragic,” but she sees a silver lining.

“It is heartbreaking that in this day and age that bullying and bias still continues, but what’s positive is that we’re  talking about it,” Adelman said. “It’s a huge advancement compared to the decades of silence and the issue is finally getting attention.”

Adelman said she hopes attendees will gain a better understanding of the topic and learn strategies that can be applied in the workplace or the classroom to advance a more inclusive environment.

The lecture series will continue next month with Christina Risley-Curtiss’ presentation of “Co-occurrence of Animal and Human Violence,” which takes place on Nov. 10.

For directions, visit For parking information, visit For more information, call Mirna Lattouf, series lecture organizer, at (602) 496-0638.