All this talk of bullying at schools in Australia and the reports about 1 in 4 school age children being bullied makes me furious.
As a kid at school I was bullied mercilessly, and the school did nothing or tacitly approved of the bullying because I was perceived as being gay and they thought that a bit of good bullying would help 'make me a man'.
There is never an excuse for bullying in the schoolyard or in life.
I have got on with my life and let go of the angst I felt at school and moved forward, years and years ago I started this site to help provide the answers for gay kids, these days the gay kids and the kids questioning their sexuality have so many outlets for anonymous self expression that in many ways the original concept of the site is irrelevant.
Schoolyard bullies grow up to be bullies in their older lives too.
They bully their friends, partners and work colleagues because it' the only way they know of acting.
There has always been a perception that kids being bullied bring it upon themselves and quite often the reaction of someone in a position of power is to tell the victim to stand up for themselves (which in itself is telling the person it's their own fault they are being bullied).
The fault is not with the victim it's with the bully and the system that does not address the bullies behavior.
The recent furore over the Footy Show Ski
t with the gay brother being taken to hospital because 'there is something wrong with him and we want a refund' just highlights the entrenched homophobia and bullying behavior.
One of my closest friends can't see the problem with this 'comedy skit' and doesn't understand why it is wrong.
But skits like this just perpetuate the perception that there is something wrong with someone if they are gay.
It's wrong for two reasons, 1) it tacitly approves the singling out and bullying of the gay kid (I saw it on the footy show being done by my idols therefore I can do it to).
And 2) it tells the kid in the suburbs watching the show who is struggling with his sexuality that it is wrong to be gay.
Yes it's subtle and yes we probably laughed at it, but it's still wrong and it does send the wrong message to the community at large.
Only a small amount of bullying is based on perceived sexual orientation, but until we address things like the footy show and the perception that it's the victim at fault we are never going to address bullying and the cycle of people growing up as bullies will not end.