I was just walking down the hallway in the morning, making my way to my art class when I noticed a few people staring and pointing at me. I let it go, I was a little sleep deprived, and I thought maybe I was seeing things.
The stares got to get worse I realized. I could hear whispers, but what had I done? I didn't remember doing anything that could cause all of that! I averted my gaze and walked to my next class looking solely at the floor. I had already checked for any marks on my face or anything physically wrong, but I had come up with nothing .. I just wanted to go home. I felt insecure.. And vulnerable. So very vulnerable. As the teacher began to tell us about the evolution of language, a crumpled ball fell on my desk. I couldn't figure out who threw it at me, I opened it anyway.
"Your mom's a dyke, isn't she?" it read.
I stared at the piece of paper, lost for words. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think .. I could hear my blood rush in my head but all I could do was stare at that sentence..
My mother had just recently come out and was currently in a relationship with this gorgeous female friend of hers.
How'd I feel about it? Really, I was happy.
That's not to say my mom and dad were horribly rude with each other or anything, but he'd left us almost a decade ago. And I could see how happy my mom was,now. Sure, it was a LOT to take in, but I was happy for my mom. I struggled to find a way to answer this note. It hit upon me that even if I ignored this one, there'd always be others. We lived in a small town, we didn't really have a lot of drama going on. So this was bound to be the 'it' news on the grapevine for long. I, I didn't even know what I wanted to say..
The bell rang and I ran to the washroom and locked myself in a cubicle. My palms were sweaty and I felt like throwing up.
Finally, a quarter of an hour later, I made my way out. Only to be blocked by some people I didn't expect.
They were sniggering and I knew what this was about. I mumbled an excuse trying to get past them. In vain.
"Maybe all your mom needs is a man to please her. And she'll forget this bullshit dyke shit. I've seen your mom, she looks so good, damn, I'd totally hit that" Jake said, hi-fiving his friend John.
His crass words were like knives. Is this what they thought of my mom? Is this what everyone wanted to say? I felt warm salty tears wet my cheeks before I even realized I was crying. I stood there for twenty minutes while they said worse things about their anatomy and how exactly would they convince mom to become straight. I gasped at some of the things they said, but I wanted it to get over. I wanted to go home. I just wanted to get the hell out of school and cry in my room....
"At school I would get people coming up to me and saying, your mum's gay. And I was like - it started to get to me because I realised then it wasn't normal, it was different. I sort of felt picked on and the amount of times I went to see the teachers and they said, just ignore them, they'll get bored. They never did get bored." [Source]
Whether or not you are a supporter of the LGBTQ community, it is your responsibility as a human being to not only try and be as accepting of people as you can but also raise your children well.
You may not believe or advocate Queer Pride, but what makes you special enough to bully or abuse someone who is? WHO ARE YOU? Just because heterosexuals are in majority doesn't make it right for you to trouble and ruin the lives of others.
Did you know that LGBTQ youth has the highest suicide rates, comparatively? This is generally always linked to homophobic attitudes and bullying.
About 34,000 youth die every year making it the 3rd leading cause of death among LGBT individuals whose age ranges from 15 to 24. And this is still not the actual report since a lot of individuals do not come out.
Bullying isn't just physical. It could be sexual, verbal, emotional or cyber bullying. This has lead to the creation of projects such as :
" Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I'll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other bullied teens by letting them know that it gets better."
I took the pledge.. Have you?
Some of the NGOs in India that do amazing work and function as gay/lesbian support groups can be found here, some queer support groups can be found here.
This is a list of helplines.
The Humsafar Trust has been working for the LGBTQ community since 1994 with their various projects spanning health care, support, project management, community work, counseling, etc.
'Labians' = Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action is an autonomous and non funded, queer feminist collective of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women since 1995. They can be mailed at : firstname.lastname@example.org , and their helpline 09833278171 is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 5pm-8pm.
Blog about any social cause you are passionate about, and its potential solution. If there are any inspiring people or organizations working towards solving it, blog about them as well. INR 30000 goes towards an NGO of your choosing!
Disclaimer : The post is liberal dramatization based on a quote of actual events. It is a work of fiction.