By Harold Pollack
When I was 16, I moved to a new high school My first day in gym class, a big bruiser tackled me and ripped my shirt. When he was done marking his territory and lumbered off, I turned to the guy next to me and commented that it was going to be a long two years. He reassured me: “Don’t worry. Everyone picks on Michael the fag.” (His name isn't really Michael.) I met Michael soon after. A slight, effeminate boy, he was the butt of ridicule and bullying pretty much every day. He would get body-checked in the hallway, have dodgeballs whipped at him in gym. I think the teachers expected him to be a man about things and to stand up for himself. How he was expected to defend himself, I’m not sure. He greeted the mistreatment with a sweet smile. It’s lucky he didn’t show up one day with a gun....
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