Alex Taylor explores bullying in this excellent non-fiction piece
"Puff!" "Faggot!" "Homo!" These are a few of the words to describe people who are gay, pan or bi. These words are intended to be offensive and humiliating. So why, I ask you, why is everyone afraid of being called gay? It is because of bullying & homophobia. Before I detail the ways in which I try to resist & combat homophobic bullying, I shall first share an experience that happened a few months after I declared my sexuality.
History was always my strongest subject growing up, I knew all about colonialism, imperial warfare & I even excelled in ancient History (Aztecs, Mayans etc.). That was all until the arrival of a new kid at our school, let's just call him Jack (this, of course, isn't his actual name). Jack only really had one friend who I actually got along with. Each History lesson, they would sit at the back of the class and distract & make fun of all the students. I took no notice of them until my teacher moved them next to me. Jack finally had someone he could laugh at sat on his table, he immediately began making fun of me & distracting me (my grades in History went down a lot). One day however, he somehow found out that I was pansexual. Jack was a typical macho-man & he noticed my lack of participation in PE lessons, my questionably real tan plus my dress sense. All he needed to finish the puzzle & make me his prime target was the fact that I was indeed pan. For the next few weeks, I couldn't go anywhere on school grounds without Jack & co following me & pecking my head. He locked me in toilets by pushing his weight against the door, stole my bag & phone only to throw it in the trash can & of course, use homophobic words & actions towards me. I didn't see it as bullying, the last time I was bullied, I was about 7 years old, so I didn't really know whether it was bullying or just him being annoying. Instead of telling an authoritative figure, I simply let him carry on until he got bored & went for another kid. It all stopped however, thanks to my really supportive friends & an incident in the changing rooms. I was taking my hoodie off, when a small tube of strawberry hand cream fell out my pocket & on to the floor. Jack picked it up & immediately recognized it as make up. Of course, he soon started uttering some of his usual cracks before getting very slanderous & homophobic, even taking digs at my family members. My friends, however, who were already in the changing rooms, stepped in & began defending me. Jack seemed very embarrassed by all of this & so he stormed out of the room, swearing & cursing. He has since never spoken to me again, I requested to change my Geography & PE lessons so that I am not with him.
My friends & peers were extremely supportive of me during this time & I am confident that he will not try & harass me again. My sexuality, has of course, surprised a lot of people & I have even lost a very close friend in the UK because of it. I have also had a few family members take digs at me. So to all the LGBPs who are reading this, don't let a few lost friends get in the way of who you are as a person. Just because you are attracted to a certain person doesn't change you & if your friends cannot accept you, they are not real friends; you will find real friends along the way!
I would now like to detail a few ways that I combat homophobia, be it in school, at home, in town or even if it's happening to someone else.
Stick with your friends!
A little while ago, I was in a hotel visiting a very deprived town in England. In the hotel, were a group of rather rough kids. After grabbing my phone, reading the messages & noting that I had pictures of myself with other boys, soon began their parade of homophobia.
Luckily, I had met two friends who were absolutely supportive of me along with some adorable Scottish kids who had lots of questions for me relating to it. With my new found friends, the group kept themselves to themselves & I ended up having a good week.
This taught me that friends will always be there for you matter what, so go make some!
Everyone can & will tell you this, but stay true to yourself & be proud pf who you are. It annoys bullies. If you try & change yourself for a bully, the bully has won. So be proud!
The internet is a wonderful place. It has everything, you can connect to people from all around the globe. When your friends aren't there, the internet is full of advice forums to help combat any form of bullying. One that really helped a friend of mine, is psychforums.org, as well as bullying advice, it has advice on abuse, addiction, anxiety & even psychotic tendencies.
During my experience with Jack, I had so much going on, Drama & Football after school, blog writing, climbing, photography, out with my friends on the weekend. All this helped me forget about Jack. So find things that take your mind off your bullying experience
I have one last thing to say to all the LGBPs reading this. "No matter what anyone says, you're all beautiful & amazing people who deserve all the respect in the world. There is nothing harder than coming out so do it with pride & love. And remember, if a homophobe targets you, just remember, we are the most stylish people out there!!"
And to all those getting bullied for other reasons, read my tips & remember, you are also beautiful & incredible people! Stay fabulous!
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