As a gay teenager, I haven’t been dreadfully conscious of the truth concerning my sexuality at school. It was something I thought that people should be mature enough to handle, and if they weren’t, then they weren’t worth my time. In hindsight, this approach was probably really really stupid.
Within a few weeks of coming out, I got asked so, so many times about my body, my sexual attraction, everything. F*cking classmates asked me in the middle of maths lessons whether I really liked ‘sticking my fingers up other girls’; whether I was sure about my orientation, if I just hadn’t had a good dicking yet and that was why I was so ‘perverted’. A person I’d known for 3 years asked me if I was a boy now – because, in his mind, lesbians were transgender boys. A concept of girls liking girls seemed impossible to him, and he had the gall to ask me if my breasts were real (‘do lesbians have tits?’). These were fourteen-year-old boys asking me these questions. I was absolutely disgusted – and hurt. That hurts, it hurts so much, when people see you – a classmate that they should respect and just leave alone – as some false-nails porn fantasy, as some ‘bent queer’ who just hasn’t had the right cock in her yet. Couldn’t they just leave me alone? Every other day people would ask me about my sexuality like they had a right to be invested in who I was and wasn’t kissing.
In other instances, people told me that feminism was all about female domination and that feminists were just trying to take over the world and subdue men. The notion that feminism was still necessary didn’t strike them despite the harassment and rape rates, the workplace discrimination statistics, all the other glaringly obvious things. Another time I got told that the only reason women were in lower job positions than men and there were fewer female executives/women in positions of power, was because women were naturally better at tending to children, and that it couldn’t be asked of the father to look after them as it would be too much of a burden on his manly, manly soul. Societal and ingrained prejudices and normalized discrimination did not seem a real and actual thing to him.
Every time I confront someone on the way they treat women or LGBT+ people, they tell me I’m making a fuss over nothing, that women and men are equal now, that ‘societal prejudice’ is just made up. And every time I think about this, I feel angrier and angrier. Because I feel as if there’s nothing I can do. Some people will change their minds, but many never will and will die full of hate, racism, sexism, and homophobia. I cannot change the way they think. I cannot pick a fight with every other builder on a street corner who tells me – a fourteen-year-old – that I have nice tits, I cannot argue with every classmate who tells me ‘rape is just rough sex’ and that ‘it feels good after a while’. I, a schoolgirl, am utterly powerless against the people who would objectify me. I have this raging, hot anger inside me, I want people to apologise, to see that gender equality is more than the right to vote and equal pay (which, by the way? Still not a thing). I want rapists to go to jail, I want sexism to be explained clearly and explicitly to every primary school child so that they know that sexism is still real, I want boys (and girls!!) to understand from a young age that doing anything without your partner’s consent is wrong. I want this bullsh*t attitude of ‘female dominance’ to be discarded and for people to realize that they are scared of being emasculated. I want men to know that they can be raped too and that they shouldn’t buckle down and shut up about it. I want prostitutes and sex workers to be treated equally – working in the sex industry does NOT equal lesser rights as a human being. I want slut-shaming to not be a thing, I want lesbians to stop being seen as either a fetish or a warped thing of nature, I want gay men to stop being seen as either creepy ass-rapist pedophiles or feminine sluts. I want transgender people to stop being seen as perverts who are trying to spy on you in the bathroom, I want women of color to stop being fetishized.
If I read this out to the boys at my school, there would be a divided reaction: many boys would leave laughing and joking about my hair, or how I shake when I’m nervous or snicker as they leave abusive notes in my locker, but secretly feeling ashamed and angry about themselves. A positively minuscule number would openly agree, and I can almost guarantee that they would have female friends or be part of the LGBT+ community, and would know either first-hand what it’s like to experience gender discrimination or have heard it from people they care about. And I know that most of the boys would leave, rolling their eyes at another feminist propaganda rant.

Maybe this is a rant, and it definitely is feminist. But it’s not propaganda. I’m not trying to win over the gays and build an army of women. I’m asking men to take me seriously. I’m asking for more men to step in when girls get harassed, for more male classmates to stand up and defend gender equality, for more boys to stop being so scared of the word ‘gay’ being used as an insult and get a damn grip on their bullsh*t masculinity, and realise that most people will love them regardless of how they come dressed into school, how they talk, who they kiss, what they do in their spare time. And if they’ve found themselves friends that criticise them because of that – then they’re pretty sh*tty friends, if I do say so myself. People who put down their own friends in order to feel validated about what they do with their reproductive organs are assholes.

I really diverged in the end… but I hope some of you can relate. This website is wonderful and brings so many women together.