Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



by Mubarak Dahir

This article shared 811 times since Wed May 16, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

I lived in fear of Mike.

He had long hair that hung below his neck, was wide-shouldered, foul-mouthed and smoked cigarettes. He even boasted that he'd already had sex with several girls...older girls, from junior high school. That alone was enough to impress most of Mike's sixth grade peers.

I, on the other hand, wore geeky clothes picked out for me by my overprotective mother, played the violin, and got good grades. I couldn't play baseball or football to save my life. The boys said I ran "like a girl."

I was the teacher's pet. In short, I was the perfect target for a boy like Mike.

Mike made himself out to be tough and cool. And just about everyone in school agreed he was.

One way Mike won his braggadocio was by bullying the less popular kids. I was one of them.

Though Mike's bullying tactics sometimes included beating me up on the playground, that wasn't his main diet of intimidation. After all, that was too easy. Even the girls could beat me up back then, so delivering me a swipe didn't earn any of the boys that much respect, really. Besides, the price was too high. Usually, a teacher would find out and some sort of punishment was meted out.

No, Mike's bullying was much more clever than that. It was a menu of less physically threatening misdeeds. But while they generally left few physical bruises, his tactics were frighteningly effective at the time.

There were the wedgies in the boy's room. And the times I'd open my locker, only to have everything in it stacked to spill out on the floor. Or the derisive names that trailed me down the hall whenever he and his friends shadowed me, giggling words that I only vaguely understood, like "fag" and "homo" and "cocksucker." Sometimes they'd surround me, either in gym or on the playground or in the cafeteria, and "jostle" me. Usually, there wasn't enough punching to draw blood or make me puff up in pain. It was more shoving and name-calling and tossing my bookbag around like a ball that terrified me.

I didn't usually report the incidents, because I didn't want to be any more of a sissy or crybaby than everyone thought I already was. Looking back, I think some teachers had to have known at least some of what was going on. But they probably turned a blind eye because they thought it was just kids do, or maybe they thought I need to "toughen up," as one teacher would tell me years later after I was beaten up for being a sissy.

As many of us know first-hand, bullying is nothing new. It is as ancient as childhood itself. But that doesn't make it OK. It never has.

And today, bullying has reached potentially dangerous proportions in American schools. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health lists bullying as a major problem to the well-being of thousands and thousands of American kids.

Another study, this one from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, found that more than half of kids will at one time be harassed for everything from the way they look to the way they talk to the God they believe in. More than half of kids who are bullied are attacked with sexual comments.

As previous research has shown, gay and lesbian kids are at even higher risk than the average student for falling victim to this kind of abuse at school.

Some conscientious adults of all persuasions are making moves to crack down on bullying. In several states...including California, New Jersey, Washington, and Georgia...laws are being drafted that would outlaw bullying. In other places, individual schools or even entire school districts are drafting codes of behavior for their students as one attempt to get to the problem.

But the measures often run into problems when they specifically mention protecting gay and lesbian kids. The religious right has mounted a national campaign to defeat these school initiatives, claiming they would infringe on religious beliefs to condemn homosexuality in schools. And conservative politicians are beating the "freedom of speech" drum to defeat such measures in state legislatures.

Of course, any such law or school policy would have to make sure not to trample anyone's freedom of speech. As gay and lesbian people, we would do well to remember that, historically, when a group's free speech was cut short, it was frequently our own. So protecting and preserving the right to unpopular speech...even if we find it critical.

But that doesn't mean that gay and lesbian school kids, who remain some of the biggest targets of school yard bullies, should be left unprotected. Laws and policies can, and often do, draw clear distinctions between acceptable expression of opinion, and unacceptable bullying. The religious right and their and conservative political allies are saying it's OK to carve out an exception against bullying gay and lesbian kids...the very students who, in many cases, are most vulnerable and need the protection most.

Maybe as children there was little we could do about the Mike's of our own school days. But as adult members of the gay and lesbian community, we mustn't allow bigots to get away with leaving gay and lesbian kids in the lurch. It's time we stood up to the bullies.

Mubarak Dahir receives email at

This article shared 811 times since Wed May 16, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

On Spirit Day, celebrities and others reach LGBTQ+ youth around the world
--From a press release. Video below - New York, NY, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 - Yesterday, GLAAD celebrated Spirit Day, when participants around the world wear purple or go purple online in a united stand against bullying and show of support for LGBTQ ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Foster-parent case, stars speak out, Texas youth, 'Queer Eye,' HIV
Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Lambda Legal, together with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along ...

Gay News

Donations needed for LGBTQ+-affirming spiritual leader's recovery
In July, Sofia G. Sarabia—an activist and community leader who provided spiritual counseling to LGBTQ+ youth and undocumented immigrants—suffered an unexpected stroke that injured her brain and left her immobile and unable to speak or eat. ...

Gay News

HRC marks National Coming Out Day with new resource for youth
On Oct. 11, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is commemorating the 33rd annual National Coming Out Day (NCOD) by announcing the release of a new resource, "Online Communities and LGBTQ+ Youth." "National Coming Out Day exists ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Victory Institute, LGBTQ books, youth items, NASA, LGBTQ Nation
LGBTQ Victory Institute and nine additional candidate-training organizations announced a partnership with Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, to provide a native-to-mobile tool to encourage young people to run for office, a press release noted. ...

Gay News

Texans protest anti-trans youth measures at capitol in Austin
GLAAD and Equality Texas issued a release highlighting a week of protest at the Texas state capitol in Austin—where measures targeting transgender children are being considered during the legislature's third special session of the year. Three ...

Gay News

Crystal Lake's Raue Center for the Arts opens new school
On its 20th anniversary, the Crystal Lake, Illinois-based nonprofit organization Raue Center for the Arts has launched a new school. Raue Center School for the Arts (RCSA) will provide youth and adult classes in a wide ...

Gay News

Indiana students sue over gay-straight club's alleged treatment
In Pendleton, Indiana, a group of Pendleton Heights High School students has filed a lawsuit against the school and South Madison Community School Corporation over allegations that the school has been treating its Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) ...

Gay News

OPALGA+ Scholarship Gala taking place Oct. 23
The 2021 OPALGA+ (Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Association+) Scholarship Gala will take place Saturday, Oct. 23, at Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Cocktails will begin at 6 p.m., with the program/dinner ...

Gay News

[UPDATE] Lisle school offers job to lacrosse coach in same-sex marriage
The administration at Lisle’s Benet Academy, a west suburban Catholic school, has reversed course and offered a job to a woman in a same-sex marriage after initially rescinding the offer, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...

Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards
Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...

Gay News

Virginia school district settles with Gavin Grimm
A Virginia school district that discriminated against a transgender individual by making him go to the bathroom in a converted supply closet will have to pay $1.3 million in attorney's fees and other costs accrued over ...

Gay News

Report features eight Illinois child-welfare agencies working with HRC Foundation
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a new report ...

Gay News

Campus Pride names one Illinois school to 'Best of the Best' list
Campus Pride chose 30 schools this year for the 2021 Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities List. This list is based on the campuses overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive ...

Gay News

Indiana school district wrestles with Pride flag issue
A Pride flag hanging in a middle-school classroom has caused an issue that could give rise to a new policy in Indiana's Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District, reported. District Superintendent Dr. Brad Yates wrote in a ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.