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Terra's Past Letters

 

Bullying:
"They said I was gay."

Hey Terra,

You might not remember me, but you once gave a workshop at my school and I was wondering if you could help me. All the girls at my school can be real jerks. They tease me and call me names. Once two girls and one guy really crossed the line and said I was gay, which most people know is not true. How can I ever get to know any of the girls I sorta like if the others girls tease me and spread lies?

Desperate

 

Dear Desperate,

There's nothing wrong with being gay, though I realize that some ignorant people think it's the worst insult you can throw at someone. More important than what these people are saying is the fact that they are using words to hurt you and destroy your reputation. What's with these girls and guy that they get pleasure out of hurting other people? Is there anything you've done (or they believe you've done) that would make them angry at you? Most of the time people who get teased haven't done anything and they put up with other people making their lives miserable. You don't have to put up with this and you shouldn't.

What they're doing is called "harassment" and it's definitely not okay. Your parents ought to know about it. The school ought to know about it. The only way people like that get the message and stop this kind of behavior is when people in power come down hard on them. Every student has the right to feel safe at school. (And safety includes being free from verbal abuse as well as physical abuse.)

By remaining silent you send the message that you are powerless and that it's okay for them to pick on you and anyone else they want to. You're not powerless and what they're doing is not okay.

Are you willing to speak up and get the support you need from adults? I sure hope so.

In the meantime, don't let the lies keep you from reaching out to the girls you "sorta like." If they are friends worth having then they'll be willing to get to know you and not listen to lies spread by others.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Terra

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