UA studying looks at impact of bullying on gay community

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Children poke fun at each other. They like to rough-house, play jokes, but at what point does the messing around become too much?

In the gay community, bullying is a serious problem.

A new study suggests many gay or lesbian adults are living with memories of a painful past. Just this past month four gay or bisexual teenage boys across the country committed suicide after facing school bullying.

U of A researcher Stephen Russell examined school bullying experiences of more than 200 gays and lesbians ages 21 to 25. He found they're more depressed and less satisfied with life. Russell says many come to expect and accept the taunting in their lives.

"It's changed my personality," said U of A senior Jai Smith.  "Even just playful roughhousing gives me just very strong feelings of danger."

That's why the study calls for schools to take more action against bullying and make sure students have the courage to speak out.

The U of A will be holding events to kick off coming out week October 11-17.