Bullied For Being A Lesbian.
My Kid’s Will Not Be Homophobic. Not if I have anything to do with it.
I was smashed up against a brick wall by a girl older than me in primary school. A notorious bully. The type of girl who is always looking to make someone feel tiny, to make her own problems disappear.
I was a gawky kid. Before braces, I had weird teeth, weird hair and no identity. I was not athletic at all, nor musically talented or entertaining. I had a couple of friends, but I felt alone. I used to daydream about being popular, pretty and good at something.
Back then I was a Beverly Hills 90210 Fan.
I was particularly obsessed with Shannon Doherty. I loved her style, her hair and her attitude. She made me wish I could be confident and give no fucks about the kids who teased me at school.
I would sit with my friend from the grade above me sometimes, I don’t think she realised she made me feel safe. One lunch I sat with her for a little while when this Bully walked by, she backtracked when she saw the poster of Shannon Doherty glued to my folder.
Ah, Shannon Doherty. Black sleek hair in a leotard with fishnet stockings. To this day I have no idea why I would take her to school with me, in grade 5. The bully smashed me up against the wall, called me a lesbian and threatened me.
I am surprised I didn’t shit myself.
This was a girl notorious for not giving a damn about what happened to her if she was caught smashing some poor girls braces in. I cowered, as you do when you’re a gawky teen with nobody to come to your defence.
She dropped me like a sack of yams and made off for a moment, but the sound of me exhaling set her off again. “What did you just say?”…..Now I’m a lesbian that talks back. This went on 3 more times, nobody came and helped. Everyone just stared. I thought she was going break my head on the brick wall.
I cried myself to sleep that night. My biggest fear was that this bully has eyes on me now and the torment would continue every day for the rest of my school year. Luckily, she did not go to my school for much longer.
Here’s the thing. I know she would have used any old excuse to bash me up that day. But it didn’t change the way I felt about being a lesbian, even though….
Plot Twist….I am not actually a lesbian.
This was a moment that stuck with me forever. Every time I hear someone use a word that describes the LGBTI community in a violent or derogatory context, I think of that day. I think of what a person who identifies as any sexuality other than “straight” goes through.
I think of what it would be like navigating high school as a gay teen, my heart hurts.
I have a child who has been through the “That’s gay” phase. I am very lucky to have friends in my life who identify as gay, lesbian and bisexual. I point it out to my children that by using “That’s Gay” to describe something you don’t like – You are saying that our friends, who are gay, are not likeable.
It’s also in the dictionary as light-hearted and carefree. So it’s pretty stupid to use it as an insult.
The gay people in my life are amazing, they range from people I grew up with and new friends I have made along the way. None of which I knew were gay when we met. Nothing changes when a person tells me they are gay.
I don’t want my children to judge anybody by their sexuality
I believe parents are responsible for some of this in young teens because they don’t address things like “That’s Gay” and “What a faggot“. I have met parents who have said to me “Oh, they grow out of all of those words”….are you kidding me? No. These words are not a bloody pair of pants!.
It’s more likely they met someone gay and embraced them, then realised they need to stop using those words. Does it really need to take that long?
I want to raise children who couldn’t give a toss about sexuality. Who don’t cringe at the sight of two men or women kissing, because who cares? Who don’t judge about homosexual parents getting married or raising children. This requires teaching them now, that being gay is not a problem. It is not uncommon. Hell, it’s on the TV every day!
I think we also need to think about who is also hurting here. Do we really want our kids feeling anxious or persistent negativity over a person’s sexuality, of all things? It can’t be good for them either.
It’s never okay to harm another human being.
Especially when the person’s choices don’t affect you.
It is important when talking about social issues that I make support services known to anybody who might be going through a difficult time. If you feel like you or your child need support or advice, please reach out.
LBGTI Support Links
QLife – Nationwide call centre from 3pm – 11pm
Not So Straight – A Referal Support Service
Lifeline.org.au – 13 11 14