How often have you made a comment about someone and never really thought of the impact it would have on that person? Words hurt – I know.
I remember a difficult time in my life where I realized that I was not quite the same as everyone else, I knew there was something different. I was gay. The way society, family and religion viewed homosexuality made it very difficult for me to live my true and authentic life. Why would I publicly admit to being a homosexual when all I heard of the topic was negativity and things like; your family will turn your back on you, your friends will hate you, you will be beaten, you will die of AIDS and that God didn’t accept gays. So I decided to live a lie based on what society and religion dictated.
During my life in hiding and not choosing to live my authentic life – I began to hate myself and others who were able to live their authentic lives all because I could not. I remember being called ‘faggot’, ‘homo’, ‘cocksucker’ and ‘fairy’, I would fiercely deny this and re-assure the people who called me these names that I would never belong to such a deviant group.
Years passed and in order to save myself from a life of depression and possible suicide – I decided that I needed to live my life as my true and authentic self. I couldn’t change who I was – I know, I’ve tried for 21 years. I finally allowed myself to feel, live and be the person I was born as. It was so relieving finally being honest with myself. But the name-calling didn’t stop. I heard people use the words faggot, homo, cocksucker, fairy and so many other names that were meant to hurt and demean but, I decided that I needed to start standing up for myself and for other people who were being called these names.
I am not perfect – none of us are…what we need to do is really think about the impact of the words we use and how they affect others. We are not BITCHES, NIGGERS, FAGGOTS, WHORES, FAIRIES, PAKIS, SAND MONKEYS, DYKES, SPICS, FROGS, FRESH OF THE BOAT, SLUTS, FATSO, LAZY and whatever else we are called. Those who call us these names are insecure and can’t face their insecurities, that is why they bully and feed off the weakness of those who can’t stand up for themselves. NO MORE!
It is our responsibility to ensure we stop those who use these hateful and degrading words to demoralize another group. Imagine a time when you were the topic of bullying/name-calling. Remember how you felt and let that be your guide to speak out against people doing the same to others. The easiest way of doing this is to imagine someone calling your mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, friend, niece, nephew or anyone you love – these hateful words. Empathy is powerful.
Together, we can make the world a more positive one!