Friday, October 1, 2010

Addressing the recent GLBT teenagers' suicides

This is a topic that has come up on Facebook, in the news, in forums, and now in class, and so I feel like I need to speak up about it, too.
  • This story of the Rutgers freshman who committed suicide after his roommate posted a video of him having sex with another male
  • This eighth grader who shot himself in the head after being bullied for acting gay
  • This Indiana teenager who hung himself after being bullied for seeming gay
These are all recent stories I've read. There are more, many more. How many students are bullied each day for who they are, and don't tell their parents? How many people are insulted each day at work or by someone they don't even know? How many people who are already hurting from bullies make the mistake of reading the comments on news articles that tell them that they are "an abomination?"

I was bullied in middle school (who wasn't?). It wasn't for my sexuality. Looking back, it wasn't for any reason at all, other than I was labeled as "different." I liked to write, I zoned out in class and accidentally stared at other students. I had previously enjoyed school. But in middle school, other girls made fun of me because I hadn't started shaving my legs, because I wore the wrong clothes or said the wrong things. They were stupid reasons. Every day I came home and sobbed into my pillow because I didn't know why these kids hated me. I had no friends in seventh grade. The counselor that I spoke to told me to write down in my notebook what the kids did to me. The kids stole the notebook and made my life more miserable.

But it got better. That is the point that so many people are trying to make to the kids who are being bullied these days. IT GETS BETTER. There is a Youtube project right now that is striving to tell this to gay teens who endure daily bullying. Those who were bullied and harassed for their sexuality in the past are filmed telling teenagers just that: that their lives got better. This video in particular is excellent.

I learned very little academically in middle school. Close to nothing, really (which is another issue...). But I did learn that bullies are not worth your time. I didn't learn it from my mother, who told me every day that they only bullied because they were insecure. I learned it from surviving, from going to school each day and coming home and living my life. And I think that if we show these kids, these teenagers proof that there is life beyond middle and high school...then maybe these suicides will stop. Maybe these kids will make it to the next day, and the next, and the next. I have hope for that.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I'm glad you hung in there! There's an end the hate rally in Evansville on Tuesday - I'll be there if I can. I was bullied when I was 5, then did some bullying myself when I was bigger. What a vile cycle it is. Keep doing what you're doing.