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Meet the Amplify Your Voice! Youth

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In partnership with New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, GLAAD's Amplify Your Voice! PSA campaign features four young people who have experienced bullying while at school because of their perceived or lived sexual orientation or gender expression/identity. Read more about their stories below.

Name: Antonio
Age: 18

1. Describe a time when you were bullied in school. How did it make you feel?

There was one time in 9th grade: It was a normal day in school and our science teacher announced that we would be staring a new group project. She allowed the class to pick our own groups, and before I could say, "Can I join your group," everyone was already in groups. The teacher asked a few students if they didn't mind me joining them, and everyone said they did mind. I ended up doing the project on my own. It made me feel like it doesn't matter if I am smart or not because no one wanted to work with me.

2. Was there a person (e.g. parent, teacher, mentor) who helped you overcome the bullying?

I feel my friends are the sole reason that I was able to overcome any bullying and teasing from other people. They taught me to be strong and that the only opinion that matters is my own. Over time, I became a strong, independent man.

3. What message would you share with young people facing bullying today?

Don't ever hold your head down in shame. Time goes by so fast when we're having fun, and we need to do things that we will laugh at later. Ask that person out, go to that school dance, start a conversation with someone new. You need to love yourself, then everyone else will love you too.

Name: Dillon
Age: 20

1. Describe a time when you were bullied in school. How did it make you feel?

I was outside in the school yard in junior high. It was the morning that everyone had to come to school to pick up their report card. I had just finished getting mine, and I was leaving the yard when this boy left his circle of friends as I passed them and just started pushing me. Everyone was looking at me, and I felt so embarrassed and humiliated and then a girl came and stopped him and told me to leave.

2. Was there a person (e.g. parent, teacher, mentor) who helped you overcome the bullying?

There is no one specifically that I can remember helping me overcome bullying. I'm sure if I had looked for help there would have been someone to help me, but I was too embarrassed to ask.

3. What message would you share with young people facing bullying today?

I would say to stand up to their bullies. I would tell them to never act scared, although every particle in their body might be telling them to shake with fear. Bullies feed off of and seek out people who seem weak. I taught myself how to not be a victim, especially growing up in New York. It's a good quality to hold.

Name: DeEbonie
Age: 22

1. Describe a time when you were bullied in school. How did it make you feel?

In junior high school there was always something about me that people seemed to want to make fun of. I was depressed and didn't even understand what being depressed was. I believed no one liked me and I was sad a lot; I kept to myself. I had no confidence at all.

 

2. Was there a person (e.g. parent, teacher, mentor) who helped you overcome the bullying?

I got lucky when it came to teachers. Some of my teachers would reprimand bullies almost instantly or before it happened. My mother was the most helpful. No matter how intense my feelings were, she always made me feel like she had my back. That made all the difference.

3. What message would you share with young people facing bullying today?

Kill them with kindness. People hate when they're trying to insult you and you just smile or say something positive. They have this "Huh?" type of reaction. So, just smile.

Name: Devin
Age: 22

1. Describe a time when you were bullied in school. How did it make you feel?

I remember being bullied in grade school and feeling alone. I was made fun of for just being myself and it hurt. I didn't understand why kids would want to pick on me for no reason. 

2. Was there a person (e.g. parent, teacher, mentor) who helped you overcome the bullying?

My parents have always been my biggest supporters. They would tell me every day that they love me just as I am and to not let what anyone else says bring me down. They are the reason I made it through those hard times. 

3. What message would you share with young people facing bullying today?

I would say that you are perfect the way you are and no one can take what makes you special away. You will always have someone out there who is willing to help and support you. I am your friend.

 

 

About New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Program:

The Center's Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Program is open to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) people between the ages of 13 and 22 to provide them with community support to foster healthy development in a safe, affirming and drug-free environment. All YES programs and services place a priority on Positive Youth Development principles, including: building on the strengths and assets of LGBT young people and their support communities; viewing young people as valuable resources, contributors and leaders; creating and fostering youth and adults in partnership to achieve program goals; providing young people with meaningful decision-making roles; collaborating with all segments of our community to contribute to the well-being of LGBT young people; and recognizing the importance of ongoing, positive opportunities and relationships to help young people succeed as adults.