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Jennifer Tyrrell: Rebel Who Found Her Cause

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Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents
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January 2, 2013

When thinking about what to write for this blog, I was faced with a decision. Do I really want people to know the “real” me?? I so often use humor and sarcasm to keep people at a “safe distance”, emotionally speaking. Do I really wanna let people “in” or should I just amuse them with jokes and move on? What people fail to realize, is the people that make you laugh the hardest, are quite often masking a deep sadness. Hmmm…………decisions, decisions. I finally decided on the latter, so here goes nothin’.

If you would’ve asked me at any point in my life if I thought I would be an anti-bullying/equality advocate, I would have laughed hysterically. In fact, a frequent victim of bullying as a child, I became full of rage and set on vengeance. I can tell you the exact point in my life when this transformation occurred. I was in 5th grade, my brother in 3rd. We had moved quite a bit during my childhood and this is extremely difficult under normal circumstances, but we also happened to be poor. My mother gave birth to me when she was 15 years old and just 17 when she had my brother. We struggled, we moved a lot (I went to 6 different elementary schools by 5th grade), my dad left us when I was 10. So, needless to say my brother and I were perfect targets for bullies. Making friends is difficult at that age, especially when you don’t have cool clothes or all the “in” toys, or couldn’t afford a telephone or cable. So my brother and I got a constant string of laughs, comments, teasing, and just plain ignorance.

GLAAD worked with Jennifer Tyrrell after she was ousted as her son's den leader. Read more about our work: http://www.glaad.org/tags/jennifer-tyrrell