Dan Savage, with whom I do not often agree, and his partner Terry have created a video aimed at LGBTQI youth called “It Gets Better.” The point of the video is that no matter how hellish things are, they get better once you get out of high school, but to get to that better you have to keep living. No matter how hard that seems, you have to do it.
The reason I’m posting this here is that “faggot” and “dyke” are insults that get hurled at geeks a lot. Boys who would rather read or study than play sports are frequently accused of being gay, whether or not they are. At least one of most publicized suicides of the last year was a young man who was not gay, but the continued homophobic bullying of his peers pushed him to suicide anyway. Girls who are into geeky things or who blow the grading curve are frequently accused of being lesbians, among other things (my favorite was how I was a prude and a slut all at the same time).
I guess my message to you is that regardless of whether you’re being bullied because you’re gay, or because you’re a geek, or because you’re both, it doesn’t matter: It Gets Better.
Once you escape middle and high school it gets so much better. For starters, even at community colleges you can take a wider range of classes. And, because you get to choose your classes (apart from basic and breadth), odds are good you’ll wind up with groups of people who are at least marginally interested in what you’re interested in. If you’re lucky, you can afford to go to school AWAY or at a school that focuses on your interests (like MIT or CalArts). Gods, I remember one day my Mom told me that high school would be the best years of my life. I nearly killed myself that day, because I couldn’t imagine wanting to live in a world where that daily torture was the best I had to hope for.
Anyone who tells you high school will be the best years of your life is full of shit. Huge stinky loads of it. Toxic, radioactive loads of it.
As Dan Savage says in the video, and this attitude got me through some really hellish years of torture at the hands of my peers, if you kill yourself, the bullies win: Don’t let them win. EVER.
Keep living. Keep being smarter than them. Keep blowing the grading curve. Use your smarts and get the hell out of there. A lot of school districts have “Running Start” programs where you can simultaneously earn high school and college credits, usually by taking most of your classes at a local community college, which will get you off campus and away from your tormentors. Do it. Take Running Start. Do whatever you have to to survive and get the fuck away.
Just don’t let them take away your chance at Better.
You will find friends who love and understand you. Gay, straight or whatever, you’ll find them. But to find them, you have to keep living.
It does get better. I promise.