What can I say, except, the high school food chain was, and is, very hierarchical. There was always someone above you, and if you were me, you were desperate to also have someone under you. I thought that hazing and bullying were a weird societal right of passage. In fact, because I played sports, I expected to be hazed as part of the ritualistic team bonding experience. Older students would talk about getting kidnapped in the middle of the night by the upper classmen and laugh with glee over the shared tomfoolery. I saw those teammates who were all so close, and longed to be part of the group. I *longed* to be bullied. This misguided impression also made me think that as I got older, it was my job to haze those who were younger than me- so that they could also share in the misery.
I didn't know until after graduation that the actions I initiated and participated in were bullying. My mother conveyed to me that those same underclassmen, would cross the street if they saw me coming, and had been so afraid of me, that they needed to warn their parents about me.
I was shocked. I was horrified. I had become that person. To add further insult, I was under the dubious perception that those people were my friends and that we were sharing in an experience that was fun and funny.
I am an adult now. I am a fully functioning member of society. And in my pursuit of my manhood, I have faced obstacles and oppression and real, real hatred. As a transman, I know what it means to be afraid: afraid of the world around you, of not fitting in, and always being the outcast. And as proud as I am now of the man I am, I am still deeply embarrassed about the actions that I participated in as a teenager.
I am no longer in touch with those that I bullied in high school. And as much as I would like to apologize to them, I can't assume that they want to communicate with me. I want to believe that they are all doing well, having grown past the awkward years and are now confident and stable adults. So instead of burdening them with my guilt, I shall toss my apology into the sea of the internet, and hope it does some good.
I am sorry for being a bully.
We're Queer. And we stand against Bullying.