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LGBT Bias and a Dead Goose

By Liam Metin

My name is Liam Metin. I have recently graduated from Pequannock High School and I am here to tell you about the years of harassment and repulsive behavior I have been at the receiving end of since childhood. When you read these first hand experiences, I do not want you to think of me, but rather these things happening to a family member. Think of your child experiencing what I have to say and ask yourself how you would react if I were them. Some will really try to say this is just “boys playing harmless pranks” but it is not! It is harassment and bullying.

Growing up in Pequannock has shown me the multi-faceted bias that seriously mars what many consider the perfect town. Since 1st grade, I have been targeted and subject to years of harassment from countless classmates who excused their mistreatment towards me as harmless and “not serious” because of my “flamboyant personality.” It was socially acceptable and almost popular to make fun of the way I talk, walk, or act. It started with the simple cold shoulder in elementary school and exclusion from any sort of group activities, then grew to the consistent “fa**ot” slur I heard daily in middle school until graduating high school.

My anger is not towards school administrators, but rather the parents who fail to teach their children the deep anxiety, depression, and loneliness that these words impose upon someone of the LGBT community or any marginalized people. In the short time I’ve been away from Pequannock High School, I’ve gained a much more centered perspective on some of my experiences and I must say there were many more situations I look back on now and realize how messed up they were.

In my junior year, I worked a part time job at a local shop near my house. On my way to work I began to notice very large pick-up trucks following me.. sometimes it was black, sometimes it was red, but it was always the same people (classmates at Pequannock High School).

Each night they would get very close to my car and attempt to run me off the road. There were also times when I’d be walking down the street and they would pretend to try to hit me, or they would blow black smoke (aka “Rolling coal”) at me and my friends out of their car after yelling racial and homophobic slurs . Midway through junior year I started my morning like any other just to find my car had been egged and a dead goose placed on the hood. It’s moments like these that some may see as a “prank” but for someone who has endured years of this harassment, it is frightening to know these people now know where I live. Since then my family and I have had to file multiple police reports in efforts to get these people to leave me alone.

Now that you’ve gotten this far, how do you feel? When looking back at your youth, were you the one inflicting this abuse? Do you feel comfortable knowing that many others act and feel similarly to the individuals described here? How would you feel if your child were one of the individuals inflicting this abuse... would you even know if they had and what would you tell them?

Oftentimes we look at this deplorable behavior and assume these actions are a result of teachings from their parents, however It is much deeper than that. It is the deep conditioning that everyone must be like you in order to be “complete” or “normal”... This is a poisonous thought to plant in any person's head much less children. A selfish ideology such as this creates a small world in the brain, a world where we believe we are complete of knowledge // understanding of others shuts off the endless possibilities and lessons to be learned from our peers. The actions of my former classmates are simply a result of the small and close minded world they live in. We all view our world through a different lense. These lenses are forged from the conditioning and experiences prior to what we are experiencing right now. I’m summing up this message with one last question. Do you see this world through a lense full of questions and empathy for those around you, or have you chosen selfishness.. and to think that all others must exist as you do?

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