Comment in response to the editorial “A young woman’s fight for individuality”

As someone who grew up in rural, southwest Virginia, I witnessed firsthand the relentless bullying of one of my lifelong best friends (who is gay) and so many other kids during middle school and high school. 

It breaks my heart that so many teenagers – who are already having a tough enough time figuring out who they are – not only have to tolerate being teased by their peers, but are also made to feel ashamed of who they are by adults and figures of authority. This further validates the bullying, and it must stop! 

Good for Belinda Sanchez for being strong enough to remain true to who she is.  That is nothing to be ashamed of!  I would expect this to happen in the southern Baptist town in which I grew up, but not in a place that is a stone’s throw away from a large and diverse city like Chicago.

As for my childhood friend, he is married to the man of his dreams and is living and thriving in New York City, and doing far better than those who treated him as a second-class citizen years ago.

There is still a long way to go and a lot of ignorance to overcome, but it gets better! Thanks to the Review for calling out the school system on this one. It needed to be said.

– Claire Manor