By Tracie Aylmer
Bullying is one hell of an art form. For me, being bullied was a way of life. Every day I was the kid most picked on. I was called names, ridiculed for what I wore, ridiculed for my facial features, ridiculed for the fact that I was very short and skinny, pushed around by the two boys that I was forced to sit in between during 5th and 6th classes, tripped over, had food thrown at me and punched numerous times. These are the incidences that I actually remember from that time. I would need help remembering all the other incidences.
I remember after my appendectomy in 5th grade the teacher moved me to a safer spot in the classroom. The boys complained bitterly that I received special treatment, even though I was recovering from an operation for which my appendix nearly burst and then nearly died from an infection.
I remember many of the teachers in primary school and junior high school also got in the act. I wasn’t given any kind of safety at school, apart from the several weeks of reprieve from my 5th grade teacher. It was a very hard battle simply to survive the day.
Years later, I got back in touch with several from school that I now claim as Facebook friends. One of them told me several years ago that I was the kid most likely to commit suicide. That’s how bad it was.
I got no reprieve from it, either, until long after the damage was done. There were a couple of casual teachers that tried to take me under their wing. They were women. They did their best, and helped lessen the total isolation that I had felt. However, they didn’t stay long and left at the end of semester. Permanent teachers – including the teacher representing the year – thought it was a joke when I kept asking for protection from bullying.
It is so utterly isolating to be bullied as badly as this. It can cause lifelong damage, too.
I can’t imagine how much worse it would feel for those that are questioning their sexual orientation. For me, I’m straight and always have been, yet was a target anyway. Those not knowing whether they fit into the body they were born into must go through an even greater nightmare. The isolation would be much worse, I am guessing, than anything even I had to put up with.
The Safe Schools program is so incredibly crucial. While it helps those that do not fit into the body they are born into, there would be a reverberating effect for those that are bullied simply because they are a target. Respect would ensure that bullying would reduce for all students, simply by taking care of a minority.
The Safe Schools program is needed and funding should continue. It is the one thing that helps students, rather than hinders them. School is hard enough with learning without having to deal with bullying due to figuring out one’s sexuality. The isolationism of bullying means that added protections are definitely needed. I can’t say enough how much I believe in it.
A few weeks ago I decided on a whim to complete a survey by the Marriage Alliance, to tell them how much marriage equality means to me. I also told them in the survey that they were wrong about judging others, and they should give it all a rest. That put me on their mailing list. Since then, I have been receiving emails from them. The last few, I emailed back saying that many people had completed the survey trying to tell them that they were wrong and the vast majority of people wanted marriage equality. Since they only quoted Miranda Devine (I don’t believe they read anything that I replied with).
Today I received another email from Sophie York from the Marriage Alliance. She is the one that Miranda Devine loves to quote. They appear to be the best of friends.
This is what the email says:
Even with this week’s victories in New South Wales and Tasmania over Safe Schools, we cannot be any less vigilant. (If you missed the news, read more below!)
Children are still being encouraged to consider their gender as fluid, and are even convinced that being transgender is the newest trend, presenting themselves to gender clinics to appear fashionable. These are dangerous ideas – evidence that we still have serious work to do. But as we saw in NSW and Tasmania, victory is certainly possible!
Thank you for your dedication to protecting our children and the institution of marriage.
Marriage Alliance Spokesperson
I can’t say enough how offensive this email is to me. I have no wish to unsubscribe, as I want it known to all that the Marriage Alliance is full of crackpots like Sophie York who wants to put those being bullied at risk. If only there were laws against this, rather than the protection this hypocritical ‘government’ gives her. It appears they are protected even from child abuse laws.
The Marriage Alliance puts all children at risk. They must be stopped.
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