Those words made my blood run cold. They made me panic. Instead of listening to my teacher I was figuring out how I could avoid going near where I had to walk, just to get home from school. I had been “Chosen” to fight after school by a bully named “Brian.”
My name is Leslie, and I am a transgender woman. The memories of being bullied in school have never left my mind. While I don’t live in fear of “Brian,” I do recall the gut wrenching terror of not wanting to be beaten by a boy much bigger and stronger than I was.
Today I don’t live in fear but am very well aware that being a transgender woman carries with it it’s own set of dangers. There are those who would do us great harm just for being who we are. The Transgender Day Of Remembrance stands as a reminder of the potential peril of living authentic lives.
Bullying is a social phenomenon marked by a disparity of force; the strong picking on the weak. There is nothing acceptable about that.
I survived my bully. Sadly, many children don’t, all too often taking their own lives. A boy in my high school who was bullied, Mike, took his life. I wish I had done something to protect him, to comfort him or even just to befriend him. Mike was a gentle soul, he never lashed out at his tormentor. I’m sure Mike had hopes and dreams. What if Mike would have found a cure for cancer? Maybe he would have created a new energy source, or maybe he would have married his high school sweetheart and had a couple of kids and not had his mom and dad have to arrange a funeral for their son and wonder forever “why?”
Please don’t make the mistake I did and not step up. Please don’t let there be any more “Mike’s” dying as teenagers.
As a member of the LGBT community I urge you to celebrate our diversity! A stew with only one kind of ingredient is not worth enjoying. It is when all the wonderful and different ingredients intermingle, that culinary magic takes place. So it is with us. Bon Appetit’!
This is a guest post written by Leslie McMurray for the Diversity Foundation.