By Donny Winter
© 2012 Diversity Rules Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
Donny Winter is a gay rights activist on YouTube and recently graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in English and Anthropology. He’s aiming to publish a manuscript of LGBTQ-themed poetry and write a memoir of his high school days where he was a victim of frequent bullying.
Recently another bullying story hit close to home, this time in the form of my dear friend Whitney Kropp being publicly humiliated at the high school I once went to – Ogemaw Heights here in West Branch, Michigan. Since this story has reached national attention I’m sure everyone has heard about it at one point or another so I will spare the synopsis.
After being confronted with a slew full of memories recalling my own bullying experiences at Ogemaw Heights, I couldn’t help but to realize how far I’ve come and how much Whitney reminds me of the person I was in high school. Not only that but this situation has reminded me that there are thousands of other children out there who feel that they don’t have anybody to support them, or even listen to them.
The LGBTQ community for example suffers the greatest suicide rate of any community that’s strongly victimized by bullying. The primary issue is that LGBTQ bullying is only recognized when a tragic suicide takes place, not when the actual complaint against bullying takes place. The question is: What needs to be done in order to bring further awareness to LGBTQ bullying in order to prevent people from taking their lives?
The answer is simple, and the Whitney Kropp story provides the inspiration: If you’re bullied, tell your story.
Bullying is a significantly hot topic. Further attention has been brought to the subject not only by these tragic losses, but by many popular stars like Lady Gaga and Demi Lovato. Of course on the flipside there are many people who believe that being bullied is necessary in childhood as some sort of preparation for adulthood, which I completely disagree with.
Nobody should have to go to school every day and face losing their own sense of self-integrity to individuals who likely don’t know them. Nobody should have to fear having to speak, or express themselves in front of people who can’t accept differences. Awareness can only be spread through people sharing their stories and creating a sense of support for other bully victims who are afraid of voicing their stories. And ultimately awareness starts at home with parents and their children.
Lets use Whitney’s story as an example of the positive results received after being fearless and honest.