College students share advice to bullied LGBTQ youth

the voice and vision of a new generation

College students share advice to bullied LGBTQ youth

October 31, 2017

This Spirit Day, our GLAAD Campus Ambassadors were asked to share words of advice with LGBTQ youth who are experiencing bullying. Because LGBTQ youth disproportionately face bullying and harassment, many of our Campus Ambassadors have had their own personal experiences with bullying. Read their heartful words of advice, encouragement, inspiration, and love to their fellow LGBTQ youth below.

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Daniel Segobiano – He/Him – University of California Santa Cruz

"If you're being bullied, it's not your fault. When I was younger and someone didn't like what I did or what I acted like, I would actively change aspects of my personality in order to fit their definition of "normal." Being bullied doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. There's nothing for you to change and absolutely no one worth the torture of feeling less than. Don't be afraid to seek help, because your health and well being come first. Stay strong, bounce back, and remember that at the very, very least, hundreds of other people just like you, support and love you."

Benjamin Webster – He/Him – University of Maryland Eastern Shore

"You are not alone, you are loved, you are not at fault, and you are not alone in this battle."

Corinne Beverly – She/Her – Virginia Commonwealth University

"To the LGBTQ youth who are experiencing bullying, I know you hear this all the time, but it gets better. Truly. When I was a kid I had the hardest time feeling like I fit in and it didn't help when someone would point out how much I didn't, so I can understand what you're going through. But the hardship only exists to make you stronger. Take it one day at a time and know that there are always people you can talk to. You're not alone."

Teagan Rabuano – They/Them – New York University

"I want LGBTQ youth to know that there will always be people who are trying to dull your sparkle. Hateful people exist everywhere -- at school, at home, even in the White House. Sparkle anyway. Don’t let anybody dictate the way you live your life. It’s not always easy to be yourself, but it is always worth it. First and foremost, be safe and take care of yourself. But know that the same people who will try to bring you down are the ones who wish they could sparkle just like you."

X Rance – They/Them – Ithaca College

"You are strong, brave, and resilient. Merely existing and being your authentic self is revolutionary. Talk to anyone you feel comfortable with, seek out resources, and practice self-care. Be the bigger and better person and do not let the bully win. Advocate for yourself when you can and walk away when you feel endangered. Finding your people can help a lot with strategy and fighting back."

Briannah Hill – They/Them – University of Colorado at Boulder

"As someone who has been bullied in the past, and even continues to be bullied now, I want you all to know you are NOT alone! This is only one wrongfully edited page in one chapter in your life. Do not back down and do not give up your power to others who will use it against you, even though you feel as if there is no way to make things better.  Remind yourself that it is okay to ask for help, whether that means attending counseling, or if you can't afford it talking with someone who loves you truly for who you are and won't be afraid to throw hands for you, both figuratively and literally. You are extravagant, you belong in this world, and you matter. Each day is your victory."

Tony Hernandez – He/Him – University of Texas at Austin

"If you’re experiencing bullying because you’re LGBTQIA+, this is for you. Others might call you a bunch of nasty words because of who you are. You might be wishing that it all goes away. I know this because I was there, too. If you can, however, share with your closest friends who you are. It’s rewarding, it’s liberating, and it’ll get you through the worst. Accept and love yourself because you deserve it! First and foremost, do it for you because your life matters. In the words of Sylvester James, “you’re mighty real.” And you’re beautiful. It sucks right now and you might think that no one cares for you. But although I don’t know you yet, I care for you so much. I, and thousands of people, think of you every day. You are a true star. So keep shining for yourself and the world."

Eva Reign Thomas – She/Her – University of Missouri

"To all of the beautiful LGBTQ youth out there simply trying to survive, please breathe. Take a moment and attempt to relax any tense muscles. You have been fighting to survive. You probably walk with hunched shoulders, a tight jaw, and a stern face. I would know. I was there. I was pushed into lockers, called racial and gendered slurs and received horrible messages digitally and in person. To my younger self, I would say a few things: you are beautiful, you are resilient, and you must be tired. It is okay to be tired. Surviving in the toxic microcosm of adolescence is no easy feat. So I commend you all. To my trans sisters, brothers and nonbinary siblings, I commend you. Even if you are unsure how to articulate your gender, I commend you. Look how far you’ve come. You will get through this. To that, I congratulate you."

Michaela Hook – She/Her – Chapman University

"Do not think, even for one second, that you are alone. We're all rooting for you. You can do this. We love you, we support you, and you are beautiful. Keep being authentically you."

Prin Luis – They/Them – University of South Florida

"You are not alone. I know this is so unbelievably hard and most people don't seem to understand or care, but it won't hurt like this forever. I know that doesn't seem possible, this seems like the end of the world. Just find one thing. One person you can talk to, one hobby you can lose yourself in. When things get bad, think about that. And focus on self-care, because you are SO important! You will find your people, the people that make you feel loved and normal. And it will be so worth it. Just don't give up on yourself."

Tyler LaCarrubba – They/Them – St. Joseph's College

"I want to tell you to keep fighting. To remember that you are not alone, that you are loved, and that you are valid. People can be cruel and do terrible things to others for no good reason at all. It hurts. I know it hurts. But it is not forever. There will be a day where you will be glad you held on. And I believe in your ability to hold on until the day maintaining that grip doesn’t feel impossible anymore."

Andre Menchavez – He/Him – University of Washington

"This part of your life is not easy. Getting bullied for who you are by the people around you will make you feel like there is no hope and no rainbow at the end of this storm. Although, in time you will see that it does get better. There are millions of people just like you. So, whenever you're feeling beaten down or ashamed of who you are, know that you are not alone and that there are people who know exactly how you feel. Embrace who you are and never hide from it. You are an amazing person and you should never shy away from radiating that beautiful light within you."

Dorothy McIntush – She/Her – Texas A&M University

"Your self-worth does not depend on their words. You are worth more than you can possibly understand and there is a whole world out there who love and support you."

Savannah Green – He/Him – Clark Atlanta University

"Keep going. You are stronger than you even imagine but you have to keep going. I wish someone had told me when I was younger to just keep pushing, I felt defeated very early on but slowly but surely I'm beginning to gain back the ground I lost. Some days are hard but some days are beautiful and so worth it all. Keep going and I promise you the beautiful days will begin to outweigh the hard ones."

Palmer Haasch – She/Her – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

"You are a part of a community that considers you one of its own. Being young and LGBTQ can be an isolating experience but know that there is space and support for you in the LGBTQ community and that you are not alone. And above all, you are valid and loved."

Serena Garnett – She/Her – Penn State University

"I want to let you know that you are seen, and you are heard. Being yourself is both the hardest and most rewarding thing, and being able to love genuinely and truthfully will open up your whole world, honey. People are scared of being their own true authentic selves so they try to stifle your light because they are scared of the power you hold. Allys will come, and you are home in our community. We see you, we hear you, we love you."

Elena Piech – She/Her – Ithaca College

"Although I study at one of the nation’s most LGBTQ friendly campuses, whenever I return home to Indiana, I hear a constant stream of microaggressive comments surrounding my queer identity. Instead of letting a slightly homophobic comment pass, I try to engage in dialogue with my friends and family members who make these comments. As cliché as it might sound, you are your best advocate. In terms of verbal bullying, ask people why they consciously or sub-consciously made their anti-LGBTQ comment. Take initiative and try to have these tough conversations. Find out what factors are influencing them to have a muddled worldview. Oftentimes, people antagonize simply because they don’t understand. Given today’s political climate and the executive branch’s anti-LGBTQ agenda, it is imperative to have these critical conversations. Change will only happen if someone is willing to talk about their experiences and be an advocate for themselves."

Federico Yñiguez – He/Him – California State University, Long Beach

"'It gets better.' Everyone usually begins with that phrase and from what I’ve been through, it is 100% true. The first step is accepting yourself and finding people who accept you. After that, life becomes much more enjoyable. As time passes, people will understand you more and realize that your uniqueness is a strength. Your friends are there for the long haul whereas bullies become a distant memory - another trial you had to face to thrive. Trust me when I say, in the future, people will be cheering your name for staying strong and true to yourself. And at that point, nothing but you matters."

Hannah Oliver – She/Her, They/Them – Central Washington University

"Loving ourselves is key. Life can be tough especially when people don't understand us but it always gets better. Sometimes there are people in our lives who try and hurt us. They will say terrible things and drag us down. It will sting no matter what but if we believe in ourselves and if we know that those hateful People are wrong they won't be able to break us. They will one day leave our lives and their hate will go with them. It's hard to develop self-love especially when we grow up being taught to dislike certain things about ourselves but once we realize how amazing we really are, our true power comes out and nobody can stop us from living happy authentic lives."

Nicole Gemmiti – She/Her – Berklee College of Music

"Once in elementary school, a boy tried to make fun of me by calling me a lesbian. I think about that constantly, wondering what kind of person I would be today if I'd believed that gayness was something to be mocked. I will personally never understand why people continue to try and silence queer voices that are screaming until their lungs give out, choosing to hear them as nothing but a petulant whisper. While my sexuality doesn't solely define me, it's shaped me into a person of integrity. I love being gay because it's a part of me that's rooted in the deepest part of my soul. Don't ever let anyone tell you that your queerness is darkness. Your queerness shines, unimpeded, from the purest part of your being. You are light. Never let them put you out."

Taylor Dolniak – They/Them – Point Park University

"I want to tell anyone in the LGBTQ community that is experiencing bullying in any way, that you are valid. Do not let anyone tell you that what you feel is wrong or that you are crazy. Our lives are short and that means you should be surrounded by love and happiness. Don't waste your time trying to change someone's opinion -- you're the only person you need to make happy! Talk the loudest! Wear what you want, be who you want, love who you want! Just go out there and be your best self."

James Washburn – Him/Him – Cornish College of the Arts

"You are special. Most people--especially the ones who bully you--have no idea who they are at your age. But you have already started on the journey to discovering who you are, and how you love. You are part of a unique, vibrant, and loving community, and as a member of that community, you have a place in this world that no one can take away. Don't let someone who is afraid of your self-awareness or the strength of your love take that away."

Devin Outten – He/Him – University of Maryland Eastern Shore

"Don't give into the hate and don't listen to what people say. You are who you are for a reason. Be who you are unapologetically. You'll be much happier that way."

Harold Daniel – He/Him – Florida International University

"Keep your head held high and surround yourself with people who love and support you. Find distractions to keep you going! Join an organization or club at school. Speak up. Do not hide all the pain away. You are a superstar."

Brooklyn Riepma – She/Her – The College of Idaho

"As cliche as it sounds, my advice to LGBTQ youth is to never ever give up. Being a young LGBTQ person can be scary regardless of whether or not you have come out. If you are being bullied, one of the best things you can do is talk about it to someone you trust. As long as you feel safe to do so, some of the best people you can go to are your family, friends, school counselor, or teachers. They not only can be there as a support system, but they can help stop the bullying, too.  If you feel lost and alone, remember that you are loved and anything but alone. It can be a tough battle, but I know that it will get better as long as you don’t give up. You got this."

Brittany Van Pelt – She/Her – North Carolina A&T State University

"What I would tell youth is to stay strong and always speak out against bullying. Inform someone in authority of your situation. Don’t let the silence keep you in fear."

Dylan Mattimore – She/Her – University of California, Riverside

"Don't feel the need to have to prove yourself to anyone! Be who you want to be and be proud of it! There are so many supportive people out there who want you to thrive."

Delaney "Jenni" Perkins – They/Them – Lycoming College

"I would tell young LGBTQ individuals that they do matter. They have an important voice everywhere they go and the more you reach out, the more resources you’ll have when times get tough. Also, stick true with who you are each and every day."

Sorrel Rosin – They/Them, She/Her – University of Oregon

"It does get better! You have the right to be your true self and we are all right by your side."

Priyank Pillai – They/Them – University of Houston

"To LGBTQ youth who are experiencing bullying, first and foremost, know that we are here for you and that we love you; you are not alone. Find an adult who is willing to listen and file an appropriate report on your behalf, and if such a person doesn't exist, contact the Trevor Project (866) 488-7386 and/or a local LGBTQ organization in your community. Bullies use fear and intimidation to silence people, but our love is stronger than their hate. We have a voice, and the future is ours."

GLAAD Campus Ambassadors are a volunteer network of LGBTQ and ally college and university students who work with GLAAD and within their local communities to build an LGBTQ movement to accelerate acceptance and end hate and discrimination. Visit to learn more!

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