Out and Proud is Not How I Started

You see in movies and TV shows the kid that's the outsider. The kid that gets their head in the toilet, the kid that is shoved into a locker. I was that kid. On a daily basis, I dealt with people treating me like I was less than human. I even started to believe it myself. 

I reached a point where I no longer even felt safe in my own body. 

My mom is a teacher. I have always been in the gifted program. I was small for my age. I had glasses and untidy hair. I was in band, I liked math, and I used words that no one else understood. But the biggest difference between me and the other kids, was that I am gay. 

My peers realized this before I did. Whether it was conscious thought, or pure instinct, they knew I was different. And they reminded me incessantly. 

I reached a point, in the 8th grade, where I did some things that I sorely regret. I turned to substances, to self-harm, to total self degradation. Finally, I overdid it and had to tell my parents.

Realizing that the school would do nothing (for example, the school cop pulled me out of lockers I had been shut in more than once and didn't even tell the principal), my parents decided to rearrange their plans. They found a charter school. Amy Biehl Charter High School changed my life. It saved my life. 

It took me two more years to realize that I was only interested in women. It took another year after that to understand that I don't identify with a specific gender. 

I have a younger brother. He has gotten taller than me, but people still think we are twins sometimes, even though he is 3 years younger. He is a lot like me. He is incredibly smart. 

When he entered middle school, he started to go through a similar circumstance as mine. Most of his abuse was verbal, or they would steal his things, while my abuse was physical, but the difference does not matter. We felt the same way. 

As I was coming out to my friends, my family, I realized how important being out was. Not just being out as gay, but being out as a Harry Potter fan, being out as a math whiz, being out as different. I felt like I had to protect my brother.

After my experience, I never, ever want to see anyone go through the same thing. When I watched Bully, I shook. With anger, with sorrow, with fear. Because it was like reliving my experience. 

I have discovered that the only way that I am comfortable handling this, is by sticking up for those that have nobody else in their corner. I had no one, so I want to be the one that makes the difference. The best way that I know how to do this is to be as loud about who I am as I can. How will people learn that treating people like that is unacceptable, if we don't show them that difference is a good thing? It is imperative to be the change that you want to see in the world, and I want to see everyone as loud about who they are as they can be, with no consequences for it. 

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