April 11, 2013
Lecturing to schools across the USA, I reflect back on so many students who have shared their stories with me that are silenced by name-calling, bullying and harassment. The fact that we have let this go for so long in our society is appalling. The last few years have drawn a lot attention on bullying and harassment with our younger generation. We need more mentors from our own communities to get involved and create change. It comes down to education and the tools so our future generation can live safely and without fear For a student who is being bullied in school they are in constant survival mode and no learning is taking place. They are wondering how to get from point (A) to point (B) without being thrown into a locker, tripped, name called or punched.
As a young kid growing up, I was cast aside often because of being a chubby kid. When I went through puberty, I also knew again that I was different because I was a gay teen. Through all those years in Jr. High and High School, I felt that I had two strikes against me. There was no support and for anyone to know of my dirty little secret, it would not only destroy me, but embarrass my well known family in the community.
No child growing up should ever be in fear of being honest of who they are. They should also feel safe at school.We need to reach across the aisle and bring together the things that separate us and find a common bond. Our differences make us stronger and fuel us to celebrate each person. A young student getting an education needs to hear and learn about LGBT history. If no one is telling our stories and our history, no one will ever do that for us.
Image (top) courtesy: Central Michigan University Office of LGBTQ Services Facebook page.