Just recently there has been numerous public service announcements (PSA) from America about the teenage suicides of kids being bullied in schools and fellow peers. I cannot help but reflect on my personal experience about this subject matter because I, myself, was a victim of this when I was still in grade school.
I guess I was one of the lucky ones who survived this pressure and torture way back and I felt the need to blog this in the hope that someone out there would read this and probably understand that it happens everywhere, not only in America. Here is my story.
During grade school, I was very timid and very aloof to my classmates. I was not sure why at that time that I decide to be that way but probably because I felt different and it was difficult to find someone to talk to about my deepest thoughts. Yes my tendencies to become a gay person started here. Though I have my so-called friends, it was not those type that you couldn’t really share who you are. Probably because, at that time, it’s taboo to mention the word “gay”, not that I knew I was one at that time but definitely I felt different, with no one to share this with. Because I chose to be quite in class and shy away from any activities that would engage me to interact with other classmates, the bullying didn’t really start there. I recalled when it was Sportsfest in our school and each class is considered as a team and each student has to participate in a sport. Since I was quiet, my classmates decided to assign me to track and field. At that time, I was not into sports so I couldn’t care less but still I participated being part of the team. When it was our turn to do the track and field activity, it was a relay course. When my classmate was running towards me with the baton, I grabbed it started running. As stressed, I was not into sports so in other words I was not that fast and probably caused our team to loose the activity. Since my class was very competitive, they felt that they needed to blame someone. So for the track and field activity, I was blamed for our loss. At first I was called “loser” then eventually evolved being called “gay”. That was the first time I was called as such and I was very worrisome. I was embarrassed and couldn’t defend myself since the bullies in the class were overpowering me and the others were laughing, so I felt helpless. I was really stressed and troubled, especially I couldn’t talk to anyone about this. I kept this inside to the point that even my family doesn’t know that something like this happened in school. It was a no-brainer for me not to tell my family because I, myself, am still figuring out who I was.
That experience has kept me from sharing anything to anyone to the point that I was in college already, despite that I felt I was gay already by that time. So the endurance and silence was something I had to bear all these years.
How did I survive this? It’s not easy but I went through my education by being quiet about this issue, still having no one to share my tendencies and inclinations with. I focused on studying and writing short stories, which was good therapy for me. Those short stories were not even close to my issues but other topics like an escape of some sort, a safe, productive escape.
Despite my rocky journey, we are a close-knit family (except for my father which is another issue for me). I remember I came out only 1996 when I invited all my siblings and mother in a coffee shop and told them about my true sexuality. I am truly blessed that this didn’t hinder my relationship with each one, in fact, they all took it well and supported me. If I had any regrets in telling them sooner? I don’t think so. By 1996 the maturity level of my siblings were intact and if I told them any sooner, the results might be different. From there, my life has changed for the better, knowing that my family still respects me for who I really am.
For those who are undergoing something similar to mine, do not loose hope. The anguish of words will pass and do not loose yourself in the torment. Know yourself and embrace yourself. We all have a place in this world and no once can take that away from us. The support system now is far better compared in the 80’s so there are ways and places where you can seek support. Be brave and know that this happens to a lot of people and you are not alone in this struggle. And I am not only referring to gay teasing and bullying but any inhumane form of degradation. All of us has the right to be who we are.
It really does get better… so hang it there…
PSA from Cris Colfer and cast of Modern Family:
A message from Ellen Degeneres:
A message from Neil Patrick Harris:
A message from Kathy Griffith:
PSA for The Trevor Project by various actors:
A very interesting discussion in Larry King Live from various actors:
It is unfortunate though that the PSAs are sourced from America but this is a global dilemma and for those who feel the need to say something about this, do your part in relaying the message of “No Hate” in your own respective countries.