Friday, October 8, 2010

Don't let them fuck you around

I was a bully when I was a kid. In the sixth grade there was this new student with gangrene scars on his arm. I remember chasing him around during nutrition break with a pack of friends. The cruelty was exhilarating. There was this other guy in the seventh grade who was gentle and bigger than me, but I bugged him till the day he finally blew up at me, just to entertain another friend of mine. I must have looked like a chihuahua to the guy. There was another kid that everyone made fun of in school though I remember distinctly that that was not why I made fun of him. I mean the guy just annoyed me. His flamboyance. His charisma. His audacity. We called him Fairy Michael. And yes that is a fake name but the point is that I was part of that we and I was the first and the loudest to think that he deserved that scarlet nick name. Why?

Come on Freud. Because he was so much gayer than I was. It was a lot easier to hate him for being gay out loud than to admit how much I hated myself at the time. And you know what I really hated about Fairy Michael? How none of it seemed to phase him. He kept that gay little chin up and he hung out with the coolest girls and had the best god damn X-Men trading card collection I ever did lay my eyes on. Boy just handled it. And I learned a lot from hating him for it.

I ran into him at the mall of course some time after high school and girl did we catch up. He was doing well and so was I. We had both long since come out so there was no pretense. Just a lot of dishing about so and so from middle school. And that was it. We were cool.

Now when I wasn't terrorizing my peers with self loathing and misguided angst, I was actually a pretty good kid. I liked to read and draw and make friends with the class clowns and the underdogs. I liked day dreaming a lot. Every now and then I was picked on too. In high school all three of the guys that I remember calling me a fag in ninth or tenth grade were trying to chill with me in eleventh or twelfth grade. Why? Cause I had the hottest girl friends. I told you I learned a lot from Michael.

But I knew back then what I sometimes forget now. I was one of the lucky ones. When I think about those boys who were driven to take their own life rather than endure the daily harassment that comes with being a gay youth in some parts of this country it makes me shiver. How lonely and terrifying it must have been to believe that there was not some better lives out there, than to be terrorized for who you are. Why didn't they think there was someone they could turn to? Let's not kid ourselves. That's where we messed up right?

I'll take the blame. I know I don't blog enough about how fucking great I think it is to be gay. I love being gay. I'm proud of being gay. And I wouldn't change it for any one's approval. It's my fault too because, try as I might, I do not actually cock my neck and wag my finger every time I hear the word fag used in public. It's my fault because I don't use Blogaldo enough to remind you to do the same. Celebrate gay. Please do it everyday. But we also have to defend it and especially those around us, that don't know yet what the hell that funny feeling is when they see a cute boy in class or when a Glee commercial comes on TV or when they hear a Lady Ga Ga song pop up on their iPods. They need our help.

Bullies aren't just in the school yard anymore. The one's who are smart enough have access to Facebook and worse yet blogs. But the epidemic of underdeveloped brain activity and good old fashioned hatred runs infinitely more rampant on facebook and twitter than it does at recess. Whether we lose five lgbtq young people or just one we have to ask ourselves where we are when all of this bullying is going on. Do we pretend not to see it? Do we not care? Do we really just forget that this kind of shit still happens everyday? It does. And those kids need us. They need you. I'm curious and I hope you drop me a comment because I'd really like to know. Have you ever had this talk with your kids or the kids in your life? The "it's not ok to make fun of gay people" talk. Have you ever told your kids that its ok to be gay?

6 comments:

  1. Hey sweets lucky for me I dont have kids to have the talk with and unfortunately I have had to have it with my grown ass siblings and some friends. Even if they're "just joking" I have always felt its important to address it. Just dont think its ok.

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  2. Zulema! You just keep spreading that wisdom of yours. By the way. You donated to AIDS Walk for me didn't you girl. I owe you a blog post. What would you like me to blog about girl? Your call.

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  3. I don't have kids and don't spend much time with kids so my conversations on this topic happen with adults. I do try and bring this up when I notice adults using "gay" to mean stupid, dumb, etc... I've even heard my younger sister use the word the same way. Its annoying more than anything.

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  4. Sometimes tragedy needs to strike in order for us to remember that some things need attention.

    It's so sad that in 2010 we still need to tackle prejudice and racism and homophobia when there are so many other important matters for human kind to devote their time and worry over.

    Thank you so much for sharing this and for being so HONEST about the person that you were and what drove you to be that way. I LOVE me some gays! They have such a sunny and honest disposition on life that we could all learn from. More people in the public eye need to bring attention to this so that those teens who are scared can at least see some ray of hope in their future and not give up.

    XoXo

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  5. Thank you so much Dugaldo! I appreciate your honesty and candor. I hope you reach some folks with this blog post that will really make a difference in their lives. You are an amazing guy that I am proud to know.

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  6. Had this talk with the kids in my life? Occasionally. Had this talk with the adults in my life? All the time.

    We must remember that, somewhere along the way, these kids learned that it was okay to treat people poorly. Someone told them that gays, overwieght, special needs, minorities, etc., are beneath them so they have the right to make them feel worthless. Only when we start changing the words and teachings of the parents, mentors and teachers in these kids' lives can we hope to curtail the bullying.

    That being said, bullying will never completely stop. So, we must also empower the bullied. Raise children to be confident in whoever they are. Let them know that they have a safe home to come back to and that we will listen and console to them, even though we know that this bullying phase will end. Ever kid should feel fabulous and it's our job to make them feel that way, even when some douchebag is shoving them into a locker.

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