Warning, Not a "fun" read...
My own story of school is not unlike the topic in which Simon in Montreal posts about on his blog and the post below this one.
I have mentioned a few times what happened to me as a teen in high school. It was pretty much hell a lot of the time. That's not to say I did not experience good times as well, I just wonder how many others were faced with having to hide behind pillars so bullies wouldn't see me, or wait for the bell to ring and the halls were empty to go to my locker. That made me a couple minutes late for class and often a lecture from the teacher.
As awful as being called out in front of the whole class for being late again, it was better than the likelihood of being caught out in the hall and called fag or dicksucker or worse by people that had no reason to think such things of me. I didn't even know I was gay myself.
I had excelled in high school early on, I was a good athlete in soccer and rugby despite being the smallest guy in school. I didn't like gym, climbing ropes, chin-ups etc. I did them but not without a great deal of fear of failing at them.
In grade ten I became more than someone that was "simply" the subject of name calling and being pushed around, tripped or pushed. I was attacked in an ambush.
Ten boys from my school stood and waited for me and my friend to walk down town for lunch through a church yard. As we approached the end of the church property they stepped out from behind the trees and blocked our path. They asked me where I was going. I told them and started to walk around them. They blocked us.
They were only interested in me, my friend was the high school basketball star. One guy grabbed me and started pushing me to the ground. I refused to be pushed and that is when he hit me. He swung his open hand and slapped me in the face, telling me I was a faggot. My nose was bleeding and my friend said cool it guys but was held back by two or three of them.
I kicked from behind. It was unexpected and caused me to fall. When I fell a guy jumped on me to keep me on the ground. He was slapping my face, demanding I admit I was a fag. Each time he would demand it, I kept my mouth shut. When I did not respond he started slapping me on my face, the back of my head, sometimes pulling my hair, raising my head off the ground.
This went on for several minutes and those around me started yelling insults. Some were not satisfied. They started kicking me in the side, on my legs. One guy kicked me in the jaw. They were laughing, demanding I tell them I was a fag. All this time they held my friend back.
I did not know I was a gay, I wondered what made them think I was. The attack kept up, until the lunch hour was almost over. They left us there, me bleeding from the nose, mouth and cuts on my head, arms and soon to be bruised all over.
We made it back to the school. I went to a washroom and cleaned up as best I could. I felt embarrassed that this happened to me. I needed to be tough. I knew that if I had admitted I was a Fag, these boys would never let up on me. I admitted nothing, said nothing. In the classroom after i was cleaned up, bruises started to appear and my face swelled up. My teacher was very concerned and asked what happened.
I refused to talk. I felt i was inferior for some reason, I could have avoided the beating some how. The teacher was persistent, I told him I was beat up by some guys. He wanted to know why, I said I didn't know.
No more attacks like that happened to me in school. It made me very weary of those around me. I was always watching out for those that had attacked me. I became very good at staying out of sight, out of the way. Nothing happened to these boys as a result of attacking me. Several of them turned out to be decent people when they became adults, three of them had problems with the law for years to come. Four of the attackers I know nothing more about.
I went to the library to look up Homosexual. I found it in a dictionary. It said something like "Homosexuals were sexual deviants, a psychological disorder." I don't recall exactly what it said today. The school had no place for me to go, no one to talk to about this. I certainly wasn't going to talk to a school counselor if he would think I was a pervert.
The word fag is used as a put down for anything bad. It is used to degrade, to hurt others gay and straight. Today some schools have GSA's. Gay Straight Alliances. Places youth can go for support. Not all schools have them. In fact most schools do not have them. Why no pressure from government to make it happen?
Homophobia is alive and thriving in our schools. As long as authorities and peers allow this behavior, all the rights in the world will not keep youth safe. More stories like mine will occur, and sadly, worse things will happen.
In the interim, the boys and girls that live through each assault lose a little more of themselves every time.