Dear Auntie, I am a Lesbian. What do I do when kids at my high school tell me I am goin to hell and keep pickin on me?
Well, first off, I have to applaud you for living as your authentic self. It’s no small thing to ‘be out’, especially during high school, which is a time notorious for relentless peer pressure and raging hormones.
The first thing I’m going to recommend is for you to find a support network, especially from others who are part of the LGBTQ2S community. This is important because connecting with others who have similar experiences can be comforting, uplifting, and empowering.
Many people don’t know that people who are GLBTQ2S held important roles in traditional Native American communities. These roles were a sacred, spiritual and ceremonial roles that are recognized and confirmed by the Elders of the Two Spirit’s ceremonial community. For more information about traditional roles of GLBTQ2S watch this video called Two Spirits in American Indian Culture.
Find a safe haven with:
- Online – check out
- It Gets Better Project– they have a YouTube channel full of youth and celebrities who share their personal stories
- The Trevor Project – has a live chat, text, and hotline that gives you a judgment-free place to talk. Check out their website, or call 866-488-7386
- We R Native – check out our website to find more about being Indigenous and LGBTQ2S
- School – check to see if you school has a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) club. If not, check out how you can start one on We R Native’s website. We know that safe students are more successful. So, it you think your teachers could use a little help in making the school a better place for you and other LGBTQ2S youth, have them check out the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Resources for Your School page. They can even request a training.
Now, on to how to handle your bullies…
The majority of bullying in schools is called bias-based bullying.
- Over 75 percent of students who are harassed are targeted based upon race, gender, actual or perceived sexual orientation, national origin, religion or ability.
- 74.1 percent of students who identify as LGBTQ reported being bullied in the last year.
Here’s what you can do about it…First, know You Are Not Alone
- Find an Ally…like a bunch of Allies! Look to adults, friends, teachers, counselors, anyone who get off the sidelines and stand up for what is right; that everyone is treated with kindness and respect.
- When possible, ignore the bully. Ignoring can be helpful, particularly for one-time cases. Bullies are looking for a reaction from you and often lose interest if they aren’t given the satisfaction of making you upset.
- SPEAK UP: If you feel comfortable standing up for yourself, talk to a trusted adult about things you might say, or do, to get the bullying to stop.
- Be confident. Bullies usually pick on people that they think are weaker than they are, so it might help if you stand up to them. Often looking a person straight in the eyes, speaking in a calm, clear voice and asking them to stop, can catch a bully off guard. If joking is your forte, laugh it off as you walk away. However, if you feel like it might be unsafe to do either, walk away with your head held high and find a friend or trusted adult.
- Hang around other people. You might be safer if you stay in groups. Being honest with your friends and trusted adults takes a lot of strength and courage. They’ll be able to see this and do what they can to have your back. If it’s not enough, tell them what you need from them. For example, you could tell your friend, “Hey, would you mind walking with me. So and so is always together and they’re always talking s***t”. Or you could tell a teacher what you’ve told me.
- Know Your rights. Remember that everyone has the right to live, work, study and play in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. No one deserves or asks to be bullied.
- If you feel like you are at risk of harming yourself or others get help now!
I hope this helps. Remember there’s an even bigger world of people out there who are rooting for you and wishes you the best as you create the world you want to live in.
You’re in my thoughts and prayers.