It’s so hard and unfair to have people laugh at you just because you are “different”: Matthew’s* story

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My name is Matthew. I am 17. My story is simple: I am gay. I have always been comfortable with that, but lately I have been getting a lot of negative messages from people trying to bully me and making me feel like who I am is wrong.

At first it didn’t bother me and I ignored them, but they kept on. I decided to answer a couple of those messages, but it only got worse. I was starting to feel really sad. It’s so hard and unfair to have people laugh at you just because you are “different”.

I started to bring home bad grades. When I told my mother about what I was going through, she encouraged me to call Kids Help Phone.

They told me to remember that I had nothing to be ashamed of. That being gay can be difficult because not everyone understands when you explain what’s going on for you.

The counsellor pointed out that a lot of people are not aware of different sexual orientations among people, and may be afraid of what they don’t understand. It is that form of fear that motivates people to bully, abuse, ridicule, humiliate and shame.

Still, they reminded me that my safety was important. And that I needed to think about ways to stay safe and people I can turn to for help in case I faced certain challenges.

Now I know better than to respond to their posts and messages. Instead I take screenshots and then I block them.

I am lucky to have two loving and supportive parents, but I am glad Kids Help Phone is around too. They gave me the perspective I needed to see things clearly. They also helped identify support groups and associations right in my community.

Thank you, Kids Help Phone!

*Name has been changed to respect anonymity