As part of #BeYourself campaign, we have highlighted some of the amazing people from the LGBT community who have shared their journeys to self love and acceptance and how they have thrust forward and opened the door to new chapters in their life. Read Jamie’s powerful and inspirational blog below:
Hello There All,
My name is Jamie, I am 18 years old (soon to be 19) and I have decided to take part in the #BeYourself campaign as it’s extremely important to be yourself in a world that tells you to be someone else – BUT only if you let it!.
I am from Dublin but grew up in the west of Ireland from the age of 8.
Actually, writing this article is a huge thing for me to do because I am probably the quietest person you would come across!
So, I knew I was gay from a very young age, as early as age 7 actually! – Anyways, as the years went on it began to get more and more obvious , I felt more attracted to guys than I did to girls, I was into girly stuff and got on way better with girls as well! So that’s when I kind of thought “okay, this it it, this is who I am and there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it”.
The first person that I came out to was my mum and she surprisingly already knew that I was Gay. I was quite shocked that she already knew but also relieved at the same time! In fact , everybody that I came out to already had an idea bar a few people, but those that didn’t already know reacted just fine.
At the age of 8, I moved to the West of Ireland after living in Dublin for 8 years! This was a massive change in the sense that nothing was the same, the area I moved to was rural, the people were a little different for example – certain views that they had on things, it just felt like a different part of the world being totally honest.
So now I move on to another part of my life and that was secondary school, and my secondary school days are days that I don’t really look back on positively.
So there I was, 13 year old Jamie starting first year in the new uniform as nervous as anything wondering what this whole new experience was going to bring and then BOOM, I walked through those doors for the first time, secondary school was an absolute daily struggle until maybe my final year because that’s when I started to make proper friends – but let’s rewind it back to first year, as soon as secondary school started, I just wanted it to end and fast forward to where I am today, I was bullied every single day during my first few years, I was called names on a daily basis, pushed in the hallway, had stuff thrown at me and all because of ONE thing – I AM GAY!
During the first few years, I didn’t have any proper friends , I would always be on my own at break and lunch times so I was quite isolated and had to deal with a lot of stuff on my own until I actually made real friends in sixth year who I am still friends with today!
In a way though, I was lucky because I had an extremely supportive deputy principal, he is the nicest person that you would meet and he did absolutely everything he could to help me with the bullying up until I met my real friends and I really credit him on that.
The bullying that I experienced for the first few years kind of changed me as a person during that time, sometimes, I used to believe some of the stuff the bullies were saying and I began to try and hide who I really was but realistically, I couldn’t, it was way too obvious and so, I kept going while also trying to be careful at the same time that I wasn’t being “too gay”, I still had the remarks “faggot” and words even worse than that which I won’t repeat but it was tough having to walk into school dealing with crap while also trying to learn at the same time, it wasn’t easy.
But then sixth year came, and that’s when I started to feel more confident in myself and began to take pride in who I really was and still am, I wasn’t alone anymore, I didn’t have to go through any more crap bar the odd remarks which I brushed off, it was like a different life, a different place altogether and that for me, was perfect timing considering I had to complete my Leaving Certificate – the most important exam of all! (or so they say)
Today, at present, I am back in Dublin, I stay in contact with my friends, I successfully completed a course which I am very proud of, I am also working hard to get into a career that I have always wanted to be in and I am incredibly lucky that I have parents, family and friends who accept me for who I am.
Bottom line, it took me some time to finally come to terms with who I was and then being fully open about it, don’t ever be afraid to be yourself no matter how hard it gets, you will always get people who won’t particularly support you just for being LGBT but if you look at Ireland now rather than ten years ago, it has come a long away, look at the marriage referendum and the amazing support groups out there such as BelongTo and of course LGBT Helpline Ireland.
I really hope that this article on my experience with homophobic bullying helps some people out there and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read this.
Head up high and with pride,