Children First: Growing up gay, coping with bullying - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Growing up gay, coping with bullying

Posted:

"From the time I was in kindergarten until I graduated from high school, I was bullied on a daily basis," Joe Geyer said.
 
"The actual hallways used to split whenever I was walking down them," Dathan Rappana added.
 
Every day, GLBT middle and high school students nationwide deal with relentless bullying.
One study by Mental Health America found they hear anti-gay slurs such as "homo" and "sissy" about 26 times a day or once every 14 minutes.  Even more troubling, a study found that 31 percent of gay youth were threatened or injured at school just last year.
 
"I was to the point where I was ready to commit suicide," Geyer said.  Fortunately Geyer, now 23, made it through. But, there are many gay youth who don't.


Geyer and Rappana are part of the Black Hills State University Campus Pride Club.  They say trying to understand your sexuality at that age is tough enough without the bullying.  "It was really hard for me to accept because I was raised that you weren't supposed to be that way," group member Dustie Clements said.  "You're told you're supposed to be one way, but your brain is telling you, you are a different way," Geyer added.


For those who don't have support at home, and face bullying at school, it can be almost too much to bear.  Rappana grew up in a small South Dakota town and says he was the only gay person he knew. I didn't feel like I had a support system at all," He said.


Dustie Clements, who grew up in Sturgis, was fortunate to have a supportive mom. "My mom told me she knew and I told her I wish she would have told me- it would've been easier," She said.


While growing up was anything but easy for these three, they say it gets better. "It gets better, you have to hold on, you have to stay strong," Rappana said.  "Things seem horrible and terrible right now but they will get better," He continued.
 

Mental Health Counselor Tracey Lehman, says parents, whether they are happy their child is gay or not, should encourage their child or teen to share their feelings, report bullying and reassure them that they're loved.


If you're a parent who is having a difficult time dealing with news that your child is gay, Lehman says to find someone to talk to and realize that acceptance doesn't always happen over night.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Rapid City council unanimously approves city-wide texting while driving ban

    Rapid City council unanimously approves city-wide texting while driving ban

    This approval makes texting behind the wheel a primary offense, meaning officers do not have to have another reason to pull you over.
    This approval makes texting behind the wheel a primary offense, meaning officers do not have to have another reason to pull you over.
  • Gillette man killed in one-vehicle rollover accident

    Gillette man killed in one-vehicle rollover accident

    A Gillette man is dead after a one vehicle accident near Buffalo, Wyoming. For unknown reasons, 77-year-old Raymond Schwindt lost control of his Jeep Wrangler on Interstate 90 east of Buffalo, smashing into a guard-rail causing it to cartwheel one and a half times before landing in the opposite lane. The accident remains under investigation.
    A Gillette man is dead after a one vehicle accident near Buffalo, Wyoming. For unknown reasons, 77-year-old Raymond Schwindt lost control of his Jeep Wrangler on Interstate 90 east of Buffalo, smashing into a guard-rail causing it to cartwheel one and a half times before landing in the opposite lane. The accident remains under investigation.
  • Chronic illness has Rapid City woman in need of 2nd kidney transplant

    Chronic illness has Rapid City woman in need of 2nd kidney transplant

    Chronic illness has Rapid City woman in need of 2nd kidney transplant

    A chronic illness has a Rapid City woman in need of a second kidney transplant. Woope Claymore has a disease called lupus. It's a chronic inflammatory disease that affects various parts of the body. The disease is attacking the kidney she received in a transplant several years ago from Rapid City resident Jim White. Now she needs a second kidney transplant.
    A chronic illness has a Rapid City woman in need of a second kidney transplant. Woope Claymore has a disease called lupus. It's a chronic inflammatory disease that affects various parts of the body. The disease is attacking the kidney she received in a transplant several years ago from Rapid City resident Jim White. Now she needs a second kidney transplant.
Powered by WorldNow

518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

Telephone: 605.342.2000
Fax: 605.342.7305

Couldn't find what you were looking for?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - WorldNow and KOTA. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.