Tuesday, February 5, 2013


A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from a friend. Well, a Facebook friend, an acquaintance; someone I knew in college, was never particularly close with, but I always had a great friendly relationship with him. 
In one of our psych classes, I repeatedly called you gay in a derogatory fashion. I honestly don't remember what prompted it, but I kept annoyingly saying it to you for an entire class period. I know it seriously upset you, and in hindsight, it was probably one of the most insensitive things I could have done.
I sincerely appreciate his sensitivity and thoughtfulness, and really appreciate the message. I appreciate seeing his growth as a person, particularly to this plight, and his apology. But if I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember the incident in question, and, I don’t remember having any negative feelings towards this person at all. That doesn't mean he didn’t say those things to me or call me names, but instead, I think, because it simply didn’t matter to me.

When people have asked me to tell my story or, once or twice, to speak publicly, it hasn't been easy for me. I don’t have these “backpocket stories” of being called names or treated inappropriately. Only a few times in my life did I truly feel I was a victim of “bullying”, but in no way can I recount those memories clearly. By moving past these challenges and incidents, by making peace and keeping on my own path, I gave myself the power to overcome the difficulties and ignore any negativity that so many others seem to struggle with, like being called gay in a derogatory fashion. I have no list to avenge, no book of stories to describe the pain and suffering or any hurt that I’ve been caused by others.

It’s too easy, especially in a marginalized community such as the LGBT community, to victimize ones self. I find it a waste of time and horrifyingly self-absorbed (says the man writing a blog about himself) to run around pointing fingers at everyone who may have caused you pain. I find all too often, people will victimize themselves to get what they want, or to further an “agenda” (for lack of a better term).
The way I see it, the way to get somewhere in life is not by playing the victim, but instead by showing strength and growth in the face of adversity. 


  1. Welcome back!

    Hey; I get your point but I humbly suggest that we need to stop judging people by the standards we set for ourselves.

    The vibe I get from your post is somewhat subjective to your own experience.

    Others were bullied and remember it vividly. It sometimes scars them for life. Again in my humble opinion they have a right to victimize themselves without our judgment.

  2. "victims" aka people who made the decision to not let what happened to them happen to others shouldn't be judged by their decision to pursue justice while also trying to make this world a better more tolerant place for all of us.

    No one is asking you to play the role of devil's advocate and judge the one who's pointing fingers but no one's asking you to do the dirty and tedious work that takes time, energy, blood and sweat. Your judgment of those who choose to pursue justice is really unfair and seems more like you're projecting your own negative sentiments for not standing up to those who bullied you or caused you harm.

    Everyone has the right to fight for justice and fairness, you should encourage it not the opposite.

  3. Hmmm... This is a really interesting and important discussion. I honestly agree with Ely, though I think he's referring to a specific kind of unhelpful self-victimization, one that makes a person's rhetoric too aggressive or martyrish precisely because it is too self-absorbed. I think victims (like everyone else) should consider how best to reach their audience before speaking or writing. It may be difficult, but it will produce a more mature and effective tone.

    Either way, Eli, I'm glad you're doing this again. Looking forward to more!


  4. This is an eloquent piece of writing that acts as a finely crafted culmination of certain thoughts you've implicitly explored through this blog. To victimize oneself is to belittle oneself - a person is so much more than the pain he/she has suffered. I think, by far, this is my favorite of all your posts because it shows such unique maturity and insight. It is easy to fall prey to the allure of drama but much braver, I think, to walk past it without giving it a second glance. I think that is what you do here and I hope Gd grants you the conviction to keep steadily along the path you are forging for yourself.


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