Dylan Marron & LGBTQ Youth Get Real About Bullying

– I feel like bullying is something we really need to keep talking about and it can’t just be shoved
under the rug into this box of like, well that’s
snowflake stuff, you know? If you were to visualize bullying, what does it look like to you? – I’ve experienced bullying
all throughout growing up, unfortunately, and it’s
taken many different forms. A boy, who I was trying to
hide my sexuality behind, asked me for nude photos at age 14 and would not stop
asking me for over a year until I finally sent him the photos. And then he posted the photos online in retaliation for me
coming out as being queer. For me, bullying has taken so many shapes in the fact that it’s meant to silence me. It’s meant to harm me and humiliate me and shame me into submission. And even though that
happened to me when I was 14, it still lives with me today. – I do think that is
important to acknowledge that bullying doesn’t necessarily look like it does in movies. It’s not always physical. – I can definitely say
that in middle school, my grades were like trash. After transitioning, there were a lot of micro aggressions that students said but it was just seen
as bullying, you know. And since I didn’t feel
that it was a safe space to go to teachers and that I
didn’t feel safe from my peers, I began to retract in class. I didn’t want to be a part
of the school community and I started doing really bad in class. – It’s irresponsible of
anyone to expect someone who is going through that much trauma to then be able to pick themselves up, wake up at seven a.m. and go
to school and be successful. – I believe the suicide
rate of trans teens is four times that of their
cis-gender counterparts and that’s because we’re, nope, bullying is just a part of growing up. Well, it’s not and that’s why
so many beautiful trans teens aren’t getting to grow up. And if you’re bullied
all through high school, all through middle
school, and you are just negativity’s being spoken into your mind and you are just
constantly being degraded, that is going to become your mindset. And I know that I’ve suffered from that. – We’re here at Hetrick-Martin Institute, which is also the home of
the Harvey Milk High School, which creates a safe space for LGBTQ teens who’ve experienced bullying. Did either of you ever
feel that you had to hide who you are to avoid bullying? – Growing up in a small town, I’ve always been ridiculed
for my appearance in some way whether that be wearing too much makeup or having hair extensions
and dying my hair and just wanting to express myself. But ever since I started to be open as a gender non-conforming person and truly feel good in my
appearance and in my body, it’s also subjected me to ridicule. – Bullying doesn’t just magically end when you leave school, right? Bullying lasts well into the world. I guess if I had to open this up to what I would say to LGBTQ
youth, it would be, do you. Do you on your own terms. Be yourself however safely you can. If you could speak to
your middle school self, what would you say? – Beyond your hair, beyond your clothes, you are all that you say you are. You are a girl. You are an artist. And that all this
nonsense in the hallways, all these whispers at the table, one day they won’t have
power over you anymore. – I swear, my younger self
inspires me more than anyone else and so I want to thank
them for staying alive and for staying loud and
for staying unapologetic and for staying here. – Well thank you so much both of you for sharing all of this with me today. And if you would like to take
a stand against bullying, join GLAAD this Spirit Day on October 19th. – All you have to do is go purple and visit glaad.org/spiritday
to take the pledge. (light music)