The following blog post was written by Q42 member Chloe. The views and experiences expressed here are Chloe’s own.
In schools, being “different” can be extremely hard. It doesn’t matter whether it’s because of sexuality, disability, or appearance. The other students can make it very hard.
In my school, very few people are “out” publicly. Some will tell you their pronouns or sexuality in confidence, but nobody mentions around. Even in Citizenship Class, or R.E, it is a very silenced topic with the students. Teachers try to be open-minded, however, they don’t understand the problems we face within the school.
In my year group for example, there is only two people who are out, including myself. When I first told people they were extremely confused, which is understandable. However, soon came the nasty comments, like: “Are you sure you’re not straight, only pretty girls are bi” or “Don’t crack the mirror, bi b****”. One of my friends received worse comments, like “homos go to hell” or “rot gay boy”. At first, neither of us asked for help. We didn’t need it, the situation was all under control. We both knew that we had to ignore the comments and hold our heads up high. One girl called me stupid simply because I told her that identifying with any sexuality or gender wasn’t binary. After this, I began to realise that the students in my school weren’t going to change unless I did.
At first, I thought that changing myself meant changing my sexuality. But it didn’t. It meant sticking up for myself, learning to love myself, and learning to understand myself. I began to tell teachers when something was said, when any rumours came back to me. And now, yeah, school’s hard. I still get the odd “You sure you’re not 100% gay” or “You sure you couldn’t change” but to those people, I say don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t underestimate the power of words. But by simply admitting to myself that I am who I am and I’m not afraid, as I once was, I can know say that things are better. And they’re going to keep getting better until people begin to realise that homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and any hate towards anyone at all is not okay.
I love myself. My bi, non-binary self. And if anybody doesn’t like that. Well, they know where the door is.