How do you deal with harassment and discrimination as a LGBTQ?
How do you deal with harassment and discrimination as a LGBTQ?
window-rain-discimination

In my very first blog I talk about what it’s like to come out of the closet. But once you have come out of that closet, it is unfortunately still not all fun and games. Dealing with any form of discrimination is never easy. The impact and how you deal with discrimination is different for everyone. I noticed that the harassment as well as the discrimination have shaped me to who I am today. But that doesn’t mean it gets any easier. What do I encounter? And how do I deal with that?

Bullied in high school

The harassment started when I went to high school. Fortunately, thanks to good student counseling, the worst part of the harassment stopped after the first year at high school. However, I was constantly called gay, faggot etc. In the second year of high school I realized that I am gay. However, I tried to belong; by looking more at girls, and I tried to have relationships with girls. I made it extra difficult for myself because at that moment I already knew that I don’t like girls. So it would never work with them. I hurt myself. Almost every day after school I went to bed with a big teddy bear in my arms and started crying: why am I not just normal?

Discrimination at home and outdoors

At home it was not always easy, when we were talking with family about boyfriends, girlfriends and sex, my father always said: “you can do anything you want but if you become gay, I’ll kick you out of the house”. My father discriminates gays people and that is hard to handle. His statement evokes sadness and in my puberty I cried for countless hours in my room. Crying helps for me, because in this way I can let go of my emotions.

Unfortunately, discrimination also occurs on the street or in cafes. A while ago I went dancing with a couple of girlfriends and a friend in a large club in Antwerp during a gay-friendly evening. We were there until early in the morning. On the way home I walked hand in hand with a friend on the street. A group walked past us and they shouted at us. “Faggots.” “Gays.” “Anal knights.” I was half drunk but I understood what was happening. “Less competition with the ladies for you“, I shouted back. At home I realized what the risk of shouting back was. Also an event like this causes me to feel hurt.

Sometimes there are even situations in which I actually feel unsafe. A few weeks ago I was in a cafe in Bergen op Zoom with a friend. I was talking about that new waiter whom I found extremely attractive. I also had to catch up with her about what had happened in my previous relationship. In the meantime, two boys had sat down at the table next to us. The two boys stared at me intensively. They had a threatening look on their face. Later that evening I went to the toilet and one of the boys followed me. He deliberately walked into me and said: “oh sorry, dirty little faggot”. I was too scared to walk alone to my car and asked my friend to walk with me. Weird right? That someone has to walk you to your car?

My advice

Be aware that being gay is not a disease or a choice. Try to be strong; stronger than your bullies or the people who discriminate. Are you in a situation where you feel unsafe? Then call in the help of friends / bystanders, as I did when I didn’t dare going to the car alone. Talk about it with friends, parents, your student counselor. My experience shows that, as soon as you make your coming out, you scare off many of your bullies and they will stop bullying you.

I myself also tried to go against my bullies. For me it often had the opposite effect. The best thing you can do in such a situation is to ignore it and not show that you are hurt (because that is common!). Bullies find pleasure in your reaction.

Search for outlet

Talking helps to release a strong emotions, but there are also other ways to deal with your emotions and feelings. For me this is photography. I can express a lot of my feelings through photography. There are also plenty of other hobbies that can help you to let go of certain things. I hope you have more clarity about how I deal with discrimination and harassment now. Hopefully you have more insights to deal with these things now.

Have you ever been discriminated for who you are? How was that? What did you do to deal with it? Maybe you can write a story about it.

Love!

Bert

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Bert

24 years, always cheerful and enthusiastic. Service technician in heart and soul with a passion for photography and likes to have a drink with friends!

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