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Hi, my name is Ruben. I’m 14 years old and a freshman in high school. I made it on the baseball team at school, and I get made fun of for being gay. No one knows, but they all suspect I go home sad and depressed, not wanting to go to school the next day. I’ve been bullied since 3rd grade and called every name in the book. If I could change who I am, I would. But it’s something I can’t change. Please, if you can, I need help. I don’t know if I can live through this for another three and a half years. – Ruben
Letter submitted by:
First, let me say that I’m sorry you’re experiencing this bullying, especially when you’re part of a team that is supposed to work together.
I’m glad you reached out because it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Many of us have experienced the same things and can provide you with the support you need. From what you wrote in your letter, I can tell that you are a very strong person. I’m sure there are people in your life who love and support you no matter what. Knowing this can provide you with the strength to make it through the next three and a half years.
I think it’s important for you to find a peer group – other people your age – outside of the baseball team, who can help you when you’re feeling down. Also finding teachers or other staff at your school who are supportive and willing to listen; people you can look up to and go to with problems your friends may not be able to help with. Maybe you can start by talking to your baseball coach about the bullying, if he’s someone you trust. It’s the job of your coach, the teachers and administrators to create a safe learning environment for you.
There are some really great resources available to help prevent and stop bullying in schools. There’s an organization called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which works to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
One of GLSEN’s programs is No Name-Calling Week. This is an annual week of activities aimed at ending name-calling and other forms of bullying. You can find more information about GLSEN and its programs at http://www.glsen.org. If you go to the Web site and click on the “What We Do” tab, you’ll find links that include more information about the programs, how to get involved, and educational resources to share.
It’s also important to know that there’s no need to change who you are; you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s the people who bully and make you feel like an outsider that are doing the wrong thing. As you said, you can’t change who you are, and there’s no reason to change.
No matter what happens, you can always contact the Trevor Project here through Ask Trevor. We also have Trevorchat, which is a forum in which you can chat with trained volunteers about anything that’s troubling you. The Trevor Lifeline, which you can reach by calling 1-866-488-7386, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the United States. There will always be someone there to help you.
The Trevor Project also has an online social network at http://www.trevorspace.org. It’s an online community where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) and straight youth ages 13 to 24 can talk with each other, provide support, and find resources in their communities.
I hope this information has been helpful. Again, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and there are people who care about you.