Almost every week we find ourselves at The Advocate running a new story about an LGBT middle- or high-school student being beaten, harassed, or bullied — many have taken their own lives because of such abuse. So we asked our readers to send us their bullying stories and share how they’re surviving this treatment or how they got past it. Here’s the first in a series of tales from the trenches.
Tony Holland: When You Can’t Tell Your Parents You Need Help
The first memory of gay bashing I had was in the fourth grade, when I decided to show up for school in daisy dukes, cowboy boots and a T-shirt that was tied in a knot on my side. That was the day it all began.
I endured pure hell for the rest of my school days. And I couldn’t tell my parents about the abuse because then I would have had to come out of the closet, and that’s something I never thought I would do.
I was beaten up at the bus stop, teased in school, had rocks thrown at me, and my book bag turned inside out. I quit riding the bus my first year of high school because the teasing was so bad. There would be days when I couldn’t find a ride, and I would wait until all the buses were gone so that I could call my momma and have her come get me.
I remember one instance when I was shot in the eye with a paper football that was shot from a rubber band; it swelled my eye up.
I always wanted to come out but never had the courage. I remember my dad would see something on TV and always be like, "faggot this" and "faggot that." When a friend once told my parents that I was gay, they confronted me about it. My dad said he "wouldn’t have a faggot living under his roof." So I decided then and there that I was never going to tell them that I was, indeed, a homosexual.
For years, I endured it, so much to the point that I tried committing suicide on quite a few occasions. One day I woke up and decided it was time to just come out. I had been seeing everything on TV about Proposition 8 and the NOH8 campaign, and I wanted to be a part of that so badly. I tried for at least two weeks to figure out how I was going to do it. I would get off of work and dial my parents’ number but never had the courage to hit the talk button. I would just sit there and cry, for so long, then go inside and cry myself to sleep.
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