I have a lesbian friend who was not bullied by her peers. The reason? She could not come to terms with her own feelings and never said what those feelings were out loud. The struggle she endured was no easy ride. Her family was adamantly against homosexuality, which left her feeling so much shame, she withdrew, started doing heavy drugs, became so suicidal and self-destructive several hospitalizations were the only means to keep her safe from herself.
This torture lasted for more than three years.
I was with her through it all. In fact, at the time, I think I was the only one who showed her the unconditional acceptance and love she so desired. Even so, she became extremely promiscuous with men… trying to convince herself that she was “straight,” or at the very least “bisexual.” Then, she was raped. Why did this have to happen???
When she finally acknowledged that her “gay feelings” were not going to go away, she sought out a Christian church that proclaimed ridiculous success rates in turning “gay” people “straight.” Needless to say, the intervention didn’t work.
Her inner battles took their toll, but she finally accepted her feelings and sought out relationships with women. In so doing, she came out to her mom… to her family and that is when the bullying started.
What we have to remember is that GLBTQ kids/teens are not just bullied by their peers, they are bullied by their families, by their churches, by a society that proclaims that homosexuality is immoral, disgusting, repulsive, sinful.
Without a strong support system, many of these people go to the extreme. They are in such despair that the only option they see is to take their own lives.
My friend was lucky.
How long can we sit back and watch, just shaking our heads? It is easy to feel helpless in the face of these tragedies, but I challenge you to really think about this: What can you do to help these kids, these teens? Even if it’s donating a dollar to the cause, that’s a step in the right direction.
Complacency has no place here.