A gay man has described the moment a school bully attempted to apologise – on a gay hook up app.
John Paul Brammer – who lives in Washington DC – was on a trip home to Oklahoma when he received an unexpected blast from the past.
Using his free time to chat to guys on Scruff, he was shocked when he got a message from a very familiar face.
The mystery man had a blank profile, but told the writer that they “went to school together”.
‘“We did?” John Paul replied, curious to find out who it was. “Who are you?”
‘“You probably don’t like me… haha. I was a little mean to you.”’
John Paul recalls the horrific experiences he faced at school as a gay teenager. Although he points out that the man who messaged him was not the worst of the bullies, John Paul said he represented the many pupils who stood by and did nothing.
“I think it was the casual way he joined in on the harassment that made me hate him,” he wrote on BuzzFeed.
“The way after someone called me ‘faggot’ he would parrot them, ally himself with them, use me to form solidarity with others,” he said.
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Although he was initially angry at the man, John Paul said he soon calmed down when he came to the realisation that the bully was obviously struggling too,
“This person wasn’t the one-dimensional villain I’d made him out to be,” he wrote.
“All this time, he’d been closeted. Just like me. Yes, he had hurt me. Yes, he was wrong to hurt me.
“But I realized he was a victim too. In the town he and I had grown up in, being gay was seen as one of the worst things you could be. You might as well not even be human.”
“When he saw me getting pushed or getting my books smacked out of my hands or getting slurs thrown my way, he must have been relieved it wasn’t him.”
“And I can’t forgive that. But I can understand it.”
And as for whether the two eventually met up?
‘”Want to fool around?”, another message sent to John Paul said.
“No,” John Paul responded. “Have a good life, man.”