GLAAD has declared today, October 20, as Spirit Day, a day for people of all sexual orientations to show support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth and to show support against bullying. I’m heterosexual, but I have many people in my life of various orientations who I love dearly. And know people who have been bullied because of their sexuality and people who have lost their lives because of their sexuality. So I’m wearing purple today, as a sign of my support for Spirit Day.
I also have a very personal reason to support Spirit Day. Like a lot of nerds and geeks, I was bullied when I was younger. But I wasn’t bullied for loving Doctor Who or playing RPGs. I was bullied for dressing and acting differently than most of the people around me, generally with accusations of being a “fag.” I’m lucky in that I was never physically abused, but I still have bad flashbacks to being verbally and emotionally mocked and threatened because I didn’t look or act like a “typical guy.” It didn’t bother me that my bullies thought I might be gay. What bothered me was why they thought that and that they thought it deserved jeers and threats.
The absolute worst was one night when I was in college. I was walking to a bar to meet some friends and ended up walking side by side with three rather large guys. One of them said hi to me, so I said hi back. Then he said, “Hey, you’re not a butt bandit, are you?”
“You know, a rump ranger. A fag.”
Not really knowing what to say, I simply said, “No.”
“That’s good,” he said cheerfully. “If you were, we’d have to take you into that alley over there and beat the shit out of you.” Being short and not at all athletic (and having never been in a physical fight in my life), I knew that if they chose to beat me up, there was little I could do but put up the best fight I could and get my ass severely kicked. I felt a cold terror course through me. But the guys walked on and left me alone.
No bullying is acceptable, and I will never, ever understand wanting to harm someone because of their gender or skin color or religious beliefs…or their sexuality. It’s monstrous and inhuman. We’re better than this.
Even if you’re not wearing purple today, please do something to show your support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in your life. Please do what you can to create a world where love is the norm and bullying is not tolerated. Let’s all show some spirit.