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#3402 Acceptance, Tolerance

Once again up all night. In my wanderings I found some beautiful blogs from the parents of gay and transgendered children. How they raise them knowing who and what they are (gay or straight) is okay to be. How they deal with intolerant family members and communities. How they as parents they love their children unconditionally.

I grew up in a small mainly catholic, republican leaning, upper middle class,white as a ghost town. To put it simply it sucked. I thought there was one newspaper til I was around ten and only saw Fox news. I was taught by actions and the occasional loose racial, ethnic, homosexual slur that it was okay to hate people. That what my environment told me.

I learned very quickly at school I was different although it took until almost adulthood to realize  that the bullying was socioeconomic based. Me and my brothers didn’t have the clothes or supplies that our classmates did. At that age I just figured they didn’t like ME. By fourth grade the other kids found a new reason to harass me. I had developed an impulse control disorder that causes me to pull out my hair Trichotillomania. I had by fifth grade made a very noticeable bald spot I was given the moniker bald eagle .Fifth grade was HELL thank you fellow 10 year olds.

The middle school years varied from a benign sense of not belonging to a year of fist fights to the year I did absolutely no school work. The bullying continued for no reason I could find, other than a punching bag was needed. I started punching back literally. I was angry. Rightfully so, but even 17 years ago one could fistfight in a suburban school as a girl and basically just have it dismissed by the school. They still picked on me but from far away and moved PDQ if I stepped towards them. You try this now and you are lucky if you are not expelled.

In eighth grade I could easily see the social groupings at lunch as our whole grade had one meal-time. There were about four tables of girls all in a row. My table was me and three pals who banded together as the social webs loose ends. Tables were in order of popularity with the “nice” girls sitting at the next table over. These girls didn’t usually bother us or bother with us. I was an inquisitive child and thought I would give something a try. I table jumped, yup that is right I bucked the silent laws of the lunch room and moved over one table; just one. I have never seen a more ridiculous/disturbing sight in my life as a good twenty or so girls crammed themselves as far as possible away from my fourteen year old self. Did I really disturb them that much? Good God, I thought somewhat amused at the immaturity of my peers am I really that horrid? Then some of the girls approached the teacher on lunch duty and asked them to make me move. The teacher looked rather puzzled and said he couldn’t I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I developed my love for social experiments that day. After an awesome summer of summer school and mucho money made in a homework racket I was in high school.

Ahhh Wilmington High where to start. Well first off if I fell off the majority of my peers radars. I had been placed in SPED because of my behavior. I was blessed with a teacher who realized I wasn’t A.) Dumb as a brick or B.) A total slacker. I was just lost and I found my academic niche and had a small but satisfying social group for the most part we were under the radar like a stealth fighter of short bus riders. There were classes that I had to take 😦 out of the safety of my bat cave where the occasional person would bring up he horrible things said to me over the years. But most of the time if they were okay to me I was okay with them. Twelfth grade made me notice homophobes, not because I came out then. There were as far as I know no truly open gay kids at my school and I hadn’t quite figured out that I was ;so there was nothing to tell. But apparently being competitive in gym makes you a lesbian. Ummm okay, there are like how many girls in school on the  field hockey and softball teams and they decide I fit a weird stereotype I think they may have made up? Okay now a normal size class I could have disappeared but alas some how there were like ten kids in the class four girls. Crap. I made it through those two awkward semesters okay and proved so good in flying under the radar those four years they neglected to put in a picture or heck even a mention of me in the yearbook. Either that or I was a hell of a lot disliked.

I want to know where were the talks of bullying then? It happened, we had basic social media, children were killing themselves. My freshman art class two seniors talked of a girl who had just killed herself they were expressing their happiness in this. Where was the assembly the counselors then? These children, because regardless of their disturbing mind they were just that. Were proud they had driven this girl to death. The kids in this town knew no tolerating of others who did not confirm to there Aeropostale  ideals. They had so little knowledge of other races, sexual identities, cultures that they I hope, I pray knew no better than to ostracize us.

Parents you are not benefiting you child by by not discussing topics that make you uncomfortable. You are making them bigoted, cruel humans. You do not have to go into detail about “alternative” relationships. Simply say well Bobby has two Daddies cause his Daddies love each other like mom and dad do. Think a bit if you even just shush them you imply there is something to pick on Bobby about. Yes I agree parents can dislike or disapprove of this life-style no prob. But remember it could just as easily be your child who becomes gay or many other things maybe they will have bi-racial kids. Do you really want them to feel that hate you nurse aimed at them albeit indirectly? Or to taunt a classmate to suicide. Or kill themselves because your “subtle” prejudices make them ashamed. I didn’t think so.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words have scarred my spirit”

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