This is an excerpt from my genre paper project. I got a lot of good feedback about my project, and the main encouragement was that I should share it here on Words. The main part of my project was not just a “for Dummies” manual on how to stop LGBT bullying in schools, but also my story. Since I’m part of the LGBT community, I have experienced a lot of bullying and harassment over the years in school. It’s gotten so much better since I’ve gone to CSU, but I still hear the remarks and see the looks people give me sometimes. Anyway, here’s a snippet of my very personal journey through jr. high and high school:
The first time I was accused of being a lesbian was in eighth grade. I was fourteen, and didn’t even really know what “lesbian” meant. A more “popular” girl in my grade cornered me in the girl’s bathroom at school, called me a dyke, and shoved me into a bathroom stall. She wasn’t the only one who thought my best friend and I were a lesbian couple. Most of the other girls would come up to us at the lunch table, asking us if we “enjoyed looking at each other naked.” They called us freaks and that we should see a therapist because we were crazy.
These accusations between me and my best friend were completely false, but we were both bisexual. I didn’t completely understand this until high school. I thought all girl best friends held hands in the hallway and called each other beautiful? Apparently not. Scared about the harassment from junior high, my best friend and I parted ways when we went to high school. I hid a lot of my feelings throughout high school and never shared anything with my friends. But I was different from my classmates—I never had a date to prom, was never asked to homecoming, and while my friends talked about boys and relationships, I always kept quiet. I felt isolated from my teachers and my classmates. I felt…different from them. Special, sure, but included? No. Afraid to even talk to my parents, I bottled up my questions and insecurities.
Senior year of high school, I became depressed. I was angry at the world and I hated myself for being different. The feelings I felt in junior high and my three years of high school had grown more intense and bubbled up to a furious boiling point. I thought it was a “phase” I’d outgrow–I was wrong. I hardly left my house, lost touch with many of my friends, and nearly failed school my last semester before graduation. The outside bullies hadn’t teased me in years, but the worst bully burst free: my inner bully. All that summer and into the fall semester of my freshmen year at CSU, I thought of suicide daily. I didn’t realize how desperate I was for help at the time, I just wanted to disappear. I was different, nobody liked me, and I couldn’t understand why I was the way I was. I was convinced there was something wrong with me, because nobody else could accept me…how could I?
I made a friend over that summer between graduation and CSU. She saw my anger and my suffering, and saw the cuts on my arms. Despite my threats and pleads, she feared for my safety, and told my parents. It was the bravest thing anyone had done for me, and by doing that she saved my life. My parents intervened and healed me back to life. Their acceptance and encouragement, and the slow process of time, nourished me back into the steady, confident, and happy girl I am today. If that friend (who is still my best friend today) hadn’t stood up to me and told somebody, and if my parents didn’t accept and help me, I know for a fact I wouldn’t be here. I would’ve found a way to end it all eventually, and I would’ve never seen the light at the end of the tunnel.
I still have a long ways to go in fully accepting myself and who I am, but the steps are slow and steady. My parents were there as I made new friends and was honest about who I was, and they’ll be there for me as I continue to explore. Yes, I am different. But does that make me a freak? No—and not even you can tell me differently.
Today, everywhere I go, I hear the names people call me: “slut,” “whore,” “freak,” “bitch,” and all the other derogatory terms you can think of. Some people claim I don’t understand love because I’m attracted to the same sex. Some people believe that I can’t be bisexual without sleeping with tons of people. You know all the hasty stereotypes. I’m treated different by some professors, some classmates still see me as immoral. I know that, when I’m a teacher, I’ll have to go through some pretty harsh accusations when I’m honest about my sexual orientation. But the majority of people, and my friends, could care less that I’m bisexual—which gives me hope for future teachers. I know that because of what I experienced I’ll be able to tell which student is suffering and who isn’t, and be able to make that much of a difference in their lives. I know that student isn’t alone, because I know how it feels to be different, and that I’m living proof that it gets better. It really does.