When I was watching the morning news, I happen to turn to see Jamey Rodemeyer’s parents talk about how the bullying continued well after their son’s death. I wasn’t quite sure if I heard them correctly and unfortunately they clarified on how their daughter brought back the news from her dance about how they chanted about him being better off dead. As video played on about his life leading up to his suicide attempt, it brought back memories of elementary school and my own run-ins with bullies. And in the end, I look back at how the luxuries that life gives us bring out different outcomes. I had the luxury of having a mother who also is a lawyer in profession, the luxury of going to schools that had teachers and administrators who don’t tolerate any sort of harassment, the luxury of being surrounded by peers who weren’t closed minded. Not everyone though is afforded these luxuries in life.
When I referenced my own bullying in my first SYD newsletter as president, it reminded me of all the insanity that kids go through when growing up, trying to fit in, trying to belong. I just so happen to fit in with a lot of the girls in school back in the early 1990′s- figure skating with them on asphalt, singing A Whole New World and watching a ton of Disney films, and just acting silly. That definitely attracted a lot of animosity from the other guys in school for various reasons… and my lack of interest in boys hobbies didn’t help. It was one thing to fit the nerd stereotype back then, it was another to also not fit with the general stereotype of how boys should behave. That’s when the taunting started. It got to the point after a while that during the 4th grade class, I snapped in half and hurled a clipboard across the room and screamed. That’s when my mother ‘fixed’ the problem for me and the bullying stopped. And through out the rest of my time in LAUSD, that never re-surfaced in Middle or High School. I guess it helps to have everyone asking you for homework help and be surrounded by all the pretty girls the guys want to be close to.
I wondered sometimes what would have happened if my mother hadn’t intervened all those years ago or if the schools I attended didn’t have Project 10 available. I might not be writing this today, or I wouldn’t be the person I am today but some kind of damaged individual. At this point, I consider myself lucky as worse things could have happened. I’m one of the lucky ones to not completely travel down that path and towards a cliff, where many never return. Jamey didn’t have those luxuries aside from a family that accepted him no matter what. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to stop him from going over the edge in the early part of September. Sometimes, we need others to stop ourselves from falling off the cliff. We need to become those luxuries to others who don’t have enough from life to keep them from falling.
Resources for LGBT Youth facing bullying:
The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/)
Project 10 (http://www.project10.org/)
Stonewall Young Democrats
Last 5 posts by admin
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