Last year, I was leafing through a magazine and I pointed to a girl wearing an incredibly cute bathing suit and said, “That is such a hot swimsuit.” This popular girl walked by and screamed, “OMG! You’re gay!” and then people started calling me Gay Girl. Later I turned Goth, and people called me Gay Goth Girl. How do I get people to start calling me something I like?
Dear Not Gay,
That’s so lame! Fortunately, time is on your side and with any luck, once
middle school is behind you, name-calling will no longer be a sport and “gay”
will no longer an epithet or bad word. For now, the more comfortable you can be
(or pretend to be), the better. When someone calls you a name, rather than
retreat or retaliate, can you meet her eyes with a confident Mona Lisa smile
and say, “My name’s ____.” If it’s a group of mean kids, walk on by. But if
it’s one girl, look at her human being to human being and I bet you’ll ignite a
spark of shame. Before you know it, these queen bees will lose their crowns --
especially if their one big talent is cruelty.
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