Some schools have Gay-Straight Alliances or si...

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I don’t own a webcam, so I can’t make a video to share. I thought maybe if I wrote it out and posted it, it would find its way to the ‘It Gets Better‘ project. Things really hit the roof last year with the rash of suicides and media attention. I think you know what I’m talking about. My personal feelings are that there really ARE that many suicides due to anti-gay bullying that they do take their lives, but people don’t want to talk about it. And they don’t want to admit they might’ve been complicit for creating the atmosphere for someone to take their life.

I grew up bullied in school over my birth defects. Kids taunted me mercilessly because of my face, calling me horrible names, even hurting me. It took a toll on me emotionally and psychologically. By the time I was in middle school, I had convinced myself I was a monster and less than human. I believed that what the bullies said was true–I was a freak, my parents hated me, that I deserved to die, and no one would ever love me. I was antisocial, I preferred to be alone, and I occasionally had outbursts against other students. The name calling was the worst, I think. I’m not sure how graphic I should get, because I would like to see young people be able to read this and understand. A lot of the names were extremely vulgar, filled with obscenities and just downright cruel. No-nose is probably one of the tamer ones used on me. Or flat-face, retard, ugly, and stupid.

It was in middle school that my father enrolled me in karate classes taught by the high school math teacher. My father, who was also a teacher, found out that I was getting regularly hurt by the bullies in school, and he feared for my safety. He thought the martial arts would help me defend myself and give me the discipline he felt I needed. It was a good gesture, but I was already far down the path of depression. I was angry by the fact I had gone through so many reconstructive surgeries, having braces, not fitting in. Now I was being told I was depressed, and I refused to admit to it for a long time. It made counseling very difficult. I know my behavior drove my parents crazy, because all they wanted to do was help me. I was punched in the hallways, where I couldn’t see who it was because of all the other kids, had my locker door shut on my head as I got my books out of it several times. I used to be regularly targeted in gym class with balls, even though the teacher enforced no head shots. They did it anyhow. One incident I was struck in the head with a kickball at a distance of no less than three feet, thrown with full force. It hit the side of my face so hard it knocked the prosthetic lens I wore over my non-functioning left eye right out. This was in front of everyone. I’d never done anything to the kid who hit me. I avoided everyone, for that matter. I would’ve done everything to be invisible if I could, just to avoid attention. The kid got punished for that incident, but it didn’t deter others. No one should be made to live in fear like that, to worry every day what might happen to them.

When you’re bullied so much that you want to end it all, it means that you’re at the point where you don’t trust anyone for help, not even your own family. You don’t think there’s anything anyone can do to help you, because you’ve become accustomed to seeing everything in a negative light. It wasn’t until after high school I began self-injuring, to try and cope with my pain. I felt I deserved to be hurt, because I was a mistake, I was worthless, I didn’t deserve to be born. When I was in school growing up, bullying was just a part of surviving. You didn’t complain to the teacher about it, or you’d face even more abuse from bullies. You kept your mouth shut and your head down, praying they’d miss you. It wasn’t the epidemic it’s become nowadays, because people didn’t think bullying was that serious a matter.

I wasn’t bullied for being gay, I was bullied because I was different. I didn’t choose to be like this, I didn’t ask for a dozen surgeries or to be blind in one eye. It was how I was born, and if you think that’s a cruel twist, how about this? I’m an identical twin. My sister was born with no problems whatsoever. Because of me, she suffered the abuse of bullies too. She was taunted because she had a ‘retarded’ sister. My sister was the only one who ever defended me from the jerks.

It does get better, believe it or not. It may take a long time. It’s also a choice. You can choose to stay miserable, wallow in your pain, even take your life, if that’s what you think is the right solution. I don’t think those will be particularly beneficial methods. You can make the conscious effort to get better, though. It’s a brutal road, full of potholes and obstacles, but if you are determined to show the bullies up, you will succeed. I am still fighting this battle, even now. It doesn’t matter what one’s ‘difference’ is. You don’t even have to be GLBT to be bullied; you could be in my situation and get hassled. You could be of an ethnic group that’s not common to a small town and get bullied because you don’t fit into the community. You could have a major disability and be ridiculed for it. You could be non-Christian and be threatened because you don’t attend the churches everyone in town adheres to. In regards to that one, go look up Tempest Smith. It’s a heartbreaking case that is no different than the bullying sweeping the nation over the past year, and that took place a number of years ago.

What you need to remember is that for things to get better, you need to fight for it. You have to fight back tooth and nail, because you deserve to be here on this earth as much as any other. You are someone’s loved one, a daughter, son, brother or sister. No one has the right to say you don’t deserve to be here, because they don’t know what they’re saying. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from proving the haters wrong, and it’s better than any kind of food or drink. They tried to break you, tear you down and you’re still here. You’re thriving, succeeding, knowing you have every right to exist. No one can take that from you ever. In closing, I’d like to say to all of you who are hurting, you’re not alone. You have friends, you have people who care so much about you. Don’t ever give up.

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