“Okay, so my mum made an appointment with my school’s principal to discuss the issue of LGBT bullying. Thing is I am super awkward and nervous and don’t want to go. I have no clue what to do.”
- Question submitted by Anonymous
If I were you, I would talk to momzie about how you’re legit feeling. You feel uncomfortable and nervous and if you’re feeling that way, you won’t say anything or be of any help.
The honest-to-cats truth is, your mom can talk to the principal without you. I do think you should be involved, but you don’t HAVE to be sitting with them, maybe they could call you on the phone while they’re meeting? That way you don’t have to face your principal, but you can say the things that need to be said. Bullying is a huge issue and if it’s going on in your school and happening specifically to you, you ABSOLUTELY should say something. You also shouldn’t feel pressured to talk about something that makes you uncomfortable and I want you to know that. Maybe sit down and write a letter to your principal, your mom can bring it with her and have the conversation on your behalf.
In a way, there may be folks at your school who are depending on you. People whose parents aren’t interested in defending their kids, or don’t know about what’s going on, or even worse, think their kid deserves to be bullied bc being gay is wrong… Being gay is not wrong, NO ONE deserves to be bullied and if we don’t stand up for ourselves, how can we expect others to stand up for us? This is your chance to have a voice. You don’t have to stand in front of your principal and name names and give a speech and tell your story, but if you write a letter, or participate in a phone call, you could potentially make your school a lot safer.
You can absolutely, positively tell your mom that you are feeling uncomfortable about this meeting, and it should be the very first thing on your list. You should talk to her about why you feel nervous and why you don’t want to go – be clear and trust the fact that those feelings are completely valid.
I encourage you to really think about the reasons you are feeling shitty about this meeting, so that you don’t wind up in a situation where your mom says, “Why don’t you want to go, Daughternonymous?” and you respond, “BECAUSE THE PRINCIPAL IS DUMB AND YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND AND EVERYTHING IS STUPID!”
The second part of this is, if you do decide to go – or if you have no choice and must go – you need to know that you are not responsible for saying anything perfectly, wonderfully or understandably. You just need to be you, period. Again, think about what you might want to say, and what you might want to keep to yourself. If you don’t want to name names, don’t. If you don’t want to talk about specific incidents, just say, “Listen, I have had several things happen to me in this school that have made me feel unsafe and scared, but I feel very uncomfortable talking about them. I think we can still talk about how to help make things better for myself and other people at this school without you needing to exactly what has been happening to me.”
Break it down into specific parts: Is name calling happening? Is physical violence happening? Are people ignorant to important issues? Are teachers ignoring discrimination? Is your school policy specific in its protection of students based on sexuality and gender identity?
If nothing else, just tell your mom and your principal that there are enormous amounts of resources out there to help them make your school a safer place. It sound like you may be overseas from your mum-dom, but going over to GLSEN’s website and offering some of those tools could be super useful – or you could tell them about our Safe Space Stickers and have teachers and administrators put them on their doors and then have a discussion about why they are there…
The most important thing is being honest about what you want and what you need when you talk to your mom, and not feeling pressure to do anything you don’t want to do while you are in that meeting. Good luck.