Content warning: rape & homophobia.
I thought the word “lesbian” was a swear word until I was 10.
I’m now 17 and have just survived high school. Coming out was tough for me aged 12. I first came out to my best friend (at the time) who responded by physically assaulting me in the corridor, spitting on me. I was then outed and for the next 5 years. I put up with a huge amount of abuse- from cigarettes being put out in my food, to rape and death threats being sent to me online anonymously, to rocks and bags of dog faeces thrown at me and, of course, “you’re a dyke” being shouted in my face. Thanks. Tell me something I don’t know already…
The abuse continued throughout school and didn’t even stop on my prom night. I got used to the bullying. It became part of my daily routine; getting changed for PE in a toilet on my own was something I’ve become far too familiar with.
Last year I was asked,
“if someone offered you a tablet which could turn you straight, would you take it?”
I would have jumped at the chance then, but not now.
Now I’m completely comfortable with my sexuality and it’s not really a big deal to me now. I am used to coming out and each time I do, it gets easier. I get the same response when I tell people that I’m a lesbian as I would if I had just told them I’m an aquarius. Just another fact that makes me, me! When I look back to my school days now, I realise how much of a bigger person I am than the people who tormented me; those who only had five words for me, all homophobic. I came out the winner. I’ve found my true friends and I was elected to represent a fantastic group of young people in the LGBT National Youth Council. We have just released our ‘Shh Silence Helps Homophobia’ campaign
Even though bullying has had a massive impact on my mental health and self-esteem it has made me want to fight for all the young people still in education who are experiencing homophobia. With the help and support of volunteers and staff at LGBT Youth Scotland I have learned to love my inner lesbian and one day, hopefully, I will support others who have been stuck down the same path as I have.
Caitlyn is studying politics and social sciences full time at Edinburgh college. In her spare time she likes to go walking, busking and taking photographs. She enjoys baking and spending time with her family and friends. You can follow her personal twitter: @queeriosandmilk