High school student makes a powerful statement after being called a ‘f****t’ one too many times
In the hallways of an Indiana, US, high school, a gay teen was taunted by homophobic students until it got too much. He had to fight back.
Donning an LGBT+ Pride flag as a cape and a pair of his mother’s tights, Jake Steiner soared from study halls to the cafeteria, encouraging classmates to embrace people for their differences while telling his bullies he refuses to succumb to them.
But afterwards, an Eastern Hancock High School threatened to break his neck “if it were legal,” he told PinkNews.
Student called ‘stupid f****t’ by classmate refuses to submit to bullying.
“That Friday [December 6] started out as a good day,” Steiner said, who is a senior at the school.
“As the day progressed, normal acts of hate hit me with my peers calling words: ‘queer’, ‘f****t’ and just about any words you can think of.
“I tried to not let it get to me.
“As time passed, the usual stress of school life came over me and my anxiety and depression led to me getting to my last class in a bad mood which is unusual, because it is Spanish class, and I love Spanish.”
After the bell dinged and students spilled out onto hallways, Steiner walked to his locker and heard someone call him a “stupid f****t” on their way past.
“I instantly wanted to cry,” he said, “and it pushed my mood further south than I wanted.
“I ranted to my best friend about how it is every day. How everyday I feel as if I’m being attacked and how I feel as if I don’t belong.
“Many teachers saw my frustration and tried to calm me down, but I just wanted to go home.
“That night I had a realisation of why am I even upset. I deal with it daily and I decided that I was over the hate.
“I am proud of who I am.”
‘Walking into school felt nerve racking yet still powerful’.
Steiner began drawing up blueprints for his battle. Polling pals on Instagram about whether he should wear a Pride-themed outfit, who overwhelmingly voted in favour.
Grabbing his mother’s leggings and a rainbow jacket, Steiner preened with rainbow eyeshadow, hot pink lip and strung a Pride flag around himself as a cape.
Underneath the bars of colour, he wore a T-shirt that read: ‘Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you can just shut up’.
“Walking into school felt nerve racking yet still powerful,” he explained.
“Some students showed up with rainbow shirts, socks, and pins to show their support.
“I also had some negative experiences as in people posting negative things about me stating: ‘We get it, your [sic] gay. You don’t need a wear a flag to show it… it’s dumb” and ‘You want to know why everyone is mad.
‘”It’s not because you’re gay, it’s because you are going around flaunting it. Keep your sexuality in the bedroom where it belongs’,” another piece of abuse said, Steiner claimed.
For three days, Steiner said his Instagram and Snapchat were flooded with a laundry bag of supportive messages but also malicious abuse. One student threatened to break his neck “if it were legal”, he alleged.
His Spanish teacher Nicole Connors – one of the leaders of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance club – took the threat to the principal and councillor.
“I am unsure of what punishment was given to my attacker but I did receive an apology letter and a message on Instagram again apologising.”
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The letter, seen by PinkNews, was scribbled on a piece of red margin A4 paper, with the attacker detailing their apology.
“I think it is cool how troy stand up for what you believe in and how you are,” they wrote.
“I am sorry for always being so mean to you even though I have never actually talked to you, you seem so nice and funny and I truly am sorry for what I have done to bring you down.”
Weeks have past since the incident, and Steiner and his fellow members of the GSA are continuing their fight against homophobia. They refuse to back down anytime soon.
“I want people to know that there can be a change if you speak up for yourself,” he added.
“It’s okay to be yourself and don’t let anyone dim your sparkle or your light.”