LGBTQ Tormentors: Then & Now
Allow me to step out of my ego for a moment and be upfront. As a mid 20s, self-identifying Fem-Gay, I’ve received my fair share of bruised confidence due to extreme bullying because of my sexuality. I’ve previously stated myself and plenty of others I know were never in the closet. We were in a glass closet, completely visible to society. While it made coming out of the closet effortless, those in surrounded by glass are more likely to have suffered playground torture from other children who were instilled a fear of flamboyancy and freedom.
I’ve recently been inspired by a post from The Shade Room. In their article, they inform us an African American athlete was sent an apology letter from a former, high school teammate from the 60s. The letter was full of heartfelt regret over racism within their team. I paused for a while after reading.
What about my bullies? What about those hurtful words that sliced through me from those awful children. Were they still terrible? Are they still homophobes? Or were kids just being cruel?
Currently, almost everyone has social media. If you are tech savvy, it’s easy to find anyone from your past with their name and connections. I’ve taken some time to dig up those from my past on social media. Usually, I succeed in finding out as much as they are willing to reveal online. As you know, there are a handful who will reveal every detail about themselves. It makes one’s sleuthing come easy.
Through the years, I’ve moved around my hometown with my family from place to place. I’ve lost track or forgotten names of many, but those former tormentors still stick with me a little bit. It’s odd when they’ll request my “friendship” on social media. To boast, I’ve since moved to the West Coast and am self-assured in my life. Funny enough, I often will see them “liking” photographs of mine. But, you won't ever acknowledge me in another way?
Yet, I do have one story. A confession from a former bully who might as well have been one of the aggressors in the Hostel film franchise. He was ruthless, unapologetic, and straight up ridiculous. He was my only high school bully. He was relentless with his antics day in and day out for the three years we were in school with one another. While I had moved on, I still never forgot his name.
About four years ago, he decided to befriend me on social media. Immediately, my fingers couldn’t punch in my best girlfriend’s telephone number sooner. Why would he come out of the woodwork now?! My friend played devil’s advocate, so I accepted the friend request and awaited a response. Within mere minutes, I had gotten a reaction from him. Once arch-nemesis in my life, he’d come at me whimpering and sobbing…virtually, anyway. He was completely apologetic and repeated his repentance.
I’m never one to shy around from drama, I mean, I am a writer. We chatted on and off for a few days. I almost believed we could be friends at some point before I recalled just how scorned his hurtful words made me. He’d explained to me his logic behind his homophobia, including his crummy home life. He believed if he hadn’t apologized, he couldn’t move forward in his life. A United States Marine, my former high school bully, told me he’d thought about me during his deployment. He had to apologize and wished me to forgive him. I did.
Will I be connecting with said bully for coffee or a lunch to Panda Express if I’m ever back in town? Absolutely not. Do I firmly believe in second chances if someone is promising effort and you’re witnessing it? You’re damn right. What kind of world would this be if we were not allowed to accept an apology of someone who is admitting fault? It feels much better to forgive than hold it in.
How about you? Have you ever had a former tormentor apologize to you? Did your instinct tell you to forgive them?