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I’m getting teased at school a lot. Kids have called me gay and queer and other things in the meanest way, I try to act brave and pretend it doesn’t bother me, but it really hurts ‘cause they never let up. I just want people to like me, and I want to be cool and have friends to joke around with and be happy with, but even my friends join in sometimes on the teasing and say “aw, we’re just kidding around” when it makes me upset. I don’t think I dress or act any different from anyone else, but I’m small and I guess people pick on me ‘cause of that. I try to laugh with them but sometimes I just want to run away and cry instead. I’m only in 9th grade, so I have so many years of school left, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to deal with this for 3 more years.
-Bobby, Philadelphia

Dear Bobby

Thank you for writing to us, you truly are brave for reaching out! No one deserves to be bullied or made fun of, even if it is being called “kidding around.” Have you spoken to your parents or a teacher about what’s going on? It may be helpful to get to know some people who have had similar experiences and who are sensitive to these kinds of issues. The William Way Center offers Peer counseling at 215-732-8255, and if ever feel you need to talk to someone 24/7, you can call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 (you can text, instant message or call). Here is a good resource on how to address bullying in Philadelphia.–truancy/bullying-prevention.

If you have any other questions or need help finding additional resources, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us again! You are not alone, there are many people who care and want to help!