Experiences from Jamaica
“Thankfully, people are paying more attention to homophobic bullying and its consequences. But it is too late for those who have committed suicide and those of us who have been the victims of bullying. I’m not the most masculine person and I was teased a lot in primary school – an age when words hurt most. When I went to an inner city high school I promised myself it would be different and for the first few months I tried my best to be ‘manly’. It didn’t work.
The teasing started again. Rumours started to circulate. I had a hard time. My grades fell dramatically. I started skipping classes and skipping school. I often stayed in bed and cried. I blamed myself for the hostility and prayed to God to change who I am. I tried to emulate the boys who were teasing me. I changed the way I looked and started disrespecting the teachers and getting suspensions every week. In Grade 8 I decided that I couldn’t let the situation steer me in the wrong direction. I have friends and a loving family. It doesn’t go away completely – there are still some who say hurtful things – but it does get better.”