Imagine being 10 years old and being bullied for your sexual orientation. You like the opposite gender of what the society considers acceptable. You may be thinking this is not new - homosexuals are bullied everyday. But what if you live in a world where being homosexual is the norm and you are bullied for being heterosexual?
I recently watched a short movie on YouTube called “Love is All You Need”. The story is narrated from a 10 year old girl’s lens living in a world in which being heterosexual means being “different”. People in her school make fun of her and call her names such as “breeder” and “faggot” for liking boys. She is raised by her two moms with one of them having strong negative opinions against heterosexuals. However, as much as she wants to agree with the majority of the society’s preferences, she knows being heterosexual is who she is. One day, she is seen kissing a boy and she is chased by other students who write “hetero” in her forehead. She gets home late at night and when her moms find out what happened they argue about how to keep her safe. She locks herself in her bathroom feeling excruciating pain from hearing what they say while still being insulted by her peers via text messages. She reaches her threshold, cuts herself with a razor and bleeds to death.
Several lessons and thought provoking questions can be drawn from this 20 minute movie.
1) Heterosexuality is the current society’s preference, but what if it was the opposite? What if homosexuals treated heterosexuals in a derogatory way? What if the heterosexuals reading this blog were homosexuals instead? How would they cope with all the society pressures? Could they handle being rejected for being true to who they are?
2) Judging someone for being “different” is not the answer. Your beliefs on someone’s sexual orientation is ultimately yours and nobody can force you to change them. However, bullying including calling someone’s names and treating them differently can lead to lethal consequences such as suicide like in this movie. If you don’t know how to help, use the QPR model - Question, persuade, and refer. Ask questions to assess the situation and show that you care, persuade a person to seek help, and refer them to the community resources such as your local Crisis Center and Suicidal Hotline (1-800-273-8255). Be aware that you can call the Crisis line and ask counselors on the phone to call someone in need while remaining anonymous.
3) As depicted in this movie, sometimes people don’t want to differ with the society but they have no choice. They would be lying to themselves if they would agree to others’ preferences. If someone is “different”, they are unique and we should learn to love and accept them for who they are. Nonetheless, as said in the movie, “loves comes from within”. Self-love is the biggest acceptance that you can receive.
Watching this movie was powerful for me. It invited me to question society’s ideals and question its norms. Nowadays, we are expected to have certain preferences and look certain ways but sometimes these are out of our hands or they are just not who we are - and this is ok. Knowing that you are different makes you unique in this world. Love and be yourself!
Alejandra Delgado is a counselor-in-training at the University of Florida. She volunteers as a Crisis Line Counselor and works as the School-Based Program Specialist at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Florida.