12/07/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
It gets better. . .that is what we are hearing a lot late. It gets better. The bullies grow up. I was labeled as pre-suicidal for saying that, you know. I was eleven at the time and in sixth grade. I said to the school psychologist ‘it will get better, eventually the bullies grow up.’ Well, a quarter century later, I have to say that I was wrong. Oh, some of the bullies grow up, certainly. Some of them learn to respect others. Many more do not. Instead, they turn into men and women like Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher who demean us at every turn and tell us what horrible people we are.
The thing is, it does get better. You grow up, and what’s more, you have the ability to walk away from them. It does not always work. It is not always easy, but you can tell these people to bugger themselves with extreme prejudice and walk away. Eventually you learn that their voices are but chatter in the wind and that what they say is not important any more. Eventually, you learn that you can choose who you draw your strength from.
Eventually, you grow up.
In seventh grade, I was suspended from school for hitting another student. The principle actually apologized to my mother for suspending me. The rules were to be followed, and I had broken them, but he felt that I was justified in my hitting the other student. I am not advocating that you do that, but know that even at school, you are not alone. There are teachers who will stand up for you, and who will help you.
Know, also, that just because these people demean you as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender that their voices really are chatter. Take a deep breath and let it go. Know that they are the ones who are the wounded ones who should be seen with pity. Know that they are the ones who are hurt.
I have been bullied almost my entire life- as a boy and as a woman. I was bullied growing up because I was too effeminate to fit within that male standard- and quite frankly that was because I was really a girl inside. I dressed as feminine as I could get away with, and latched on to female role models. I collected stuffed animals and dolls. I was lucky. My parents did not want to push on me any gender construct, so I grew up a girl, more or less.
As a woman coming out in transformation, I was often harassed and bullied by the transgender community both online and in person because, to them, I was not ‘real’ enough. I am not sure what they meant. I still don’t. I never had a transgender identity and have since walked away from that.
In the end, I am me. While I am still suffering, like so many of the women in my family, from an anxiety disorder, I am still me. I am still growing up. The thing is, I now have a voice from which I can strike back at the bullies.
My best advice is to find a safe space and make it your own. Make some space inside of you where the bullies can never touch, and remember, it does get better.