While growing up, I remember feeling like I did not belong.
Somehow, I never seemed to meet the expectations that society had planned for me. And because I was different, I was constantly bullied. This happened from first grade to the end of High School (from 6 to 18 years old). The bullying I experienced was so traumatic at times, I’m still feeling the effects today. But I chose not to be a victim! I learned patience, perseverance, and dedication. Now I really know myself, and I know my voice. It is a voice of pain, but each pain has made me stronger, each betrayal more intelligent, and each experience wiser. I finally realised that being different makes me unique and that is my power!
“I finally realised that being different makes me unique and that is my power!”
It is true that a lot has changed since I was bullied, but I am afraid that it is still not enough. In recent years, a series of bullying-related suicides across the globe have drawn attention to the connection between bullying and suicide. Though many adults still see bullying as part of being a child, it is a serious problem that leads to many negative consequences, including suicide. And this needs to change! My hope is that by raising awareness to this issue one more kid will get help, so he won’t get discriminated or bullied.
But more than addressing the discrimination from the outside world, I deem it necessary to also raise awareness to the increasing discrimination within the LGBT community. “No Asians, no black people, no femmes, no fatties, no oldies…”: This kind of language can easily be spotted on gay dating apps. Our community has been oppressed by the outside world for so many generations. Why do we insist on doing it to ourselves now?
Are apps doing enough to respond to user discrimination?
I cannot answer that, but I am hoping that by talking about these issues we can raise awareness and hopefully encourage people to be kind to each other. We already have the outside world against us.
Miguel Martins (www.facebook.com/MyOwnFado)
– Mister Senior Netherlands 2018 3rd Runner-Up
Mister Senior Netherlands 2018 3rd runner-up
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