Effects of Bullying Linger Into Adulthood
It wasn’t enough that many of us had to endure incessant bullying as children and teenagers. Now we are told that the bullying may have led to medical ailments later in life such as depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
This is according to researchers who have focused their work on the effects of bullying on a person’s psyche. But I don’t need studies: As a victim of bullying during my teenage years in middle school, I cannot forget that time.
Unfortunately, bullying has not lessened but has increased with the advent of "cyberbullying." The estimates that each day, 160,000 American students "refuse to go to school because they dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers. Many more attend school in a chronic state of anxiety and depression."
That childhood and adolescent depression often stays with us even after we grow into seemingly confident adults, mainly because of the strong feelings of inadequacy and poor self esteem bullying engenders in us. Gay men and lesbians still face bullying whenever someone calls us as a "faggot" or "dyke," words meant to demean us and place us less than the abuser or beneath his contempt.
Like the "n word," "faggot" has taken on meaning when we appropriate it. When Larry Kramer wrote the book "Faggots," it was not his intention to be abusive to the gay community but to paint a clear and provocative image of the promiscuous and self- serving lifestyle as he saw it in the gay urban culture of the late 1970s.
We empower the word "faggot" when we respond to those who use it to demean us with a retort like, "Yeah, I am a faggot but then what are you?"