A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from a friend. Well, a Facebook friend, an acquaintance; someone I knew in college, was never particularly close with, but I always had a great friendly relationship with him.
“In one of our psych classes, I repeatedly called you gay in a derogatory fashion. I honestly don't remember what prompted it, but I kept annoyingly saying it to you for an entire class period. I know it seriously upset you, and in hindsight, it was probably one of the most insensitive things I could have done.”
I sincerely appreciate his sensitivity and thoughtfulness, and really appreciate the message. I appreciate seeing his growth as a person, particularly to this plight, and his apology. But if I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember the incident in question, and, I don’t remember having any negative feelings towards this person at all. That doesn't mean he didn’t say those things to me or call me names, but instead, I think, because it simply didn’t matter to me.
When people have asked me to tell my story or, once or twice, to speak publicly, it hasn't been easy for me. I don’t have these “backpocket stories” of being called names or treated inappropriately. Only a few times in my life did I truly feel I was a victim of “bullying”, but in no way can I recount those memories clearly. By moving past these challenges and incidents, by making peace and keeping on my own path, I gave myself the power to overcome the difficulties and ignore any negativity that so many others seem to struggle with, like being called gay in a derogatory fashion. I have no list to avenge, no book of stories to describe the pain and suffering or any hurt that I’ve been caused by others.
It’s too easy, especially in a marginalized community such as the LGBT community, to victimize ones self. I find it a waste of time and horrifyingly self-absorbed (says the man writing a blog about himself) to run around pointing fingers at everyone who may have caused you pain. I find all too often, people will victimize themselves to get what they want, or to further an “agenda” (for lack of a better term).
The way I see it, the way to get somewhere in life is not by playing the victim, but instead by showing strength and growth in the face of adversity.