I’m From Honolulu, HI.

by Rei H.

Satellite overhead image of Hawaiian islands from Google Earth 2022

From the time I started school, the divide between me and the other students was unbearable: I would dress like a boy, I couldn’t relate or hang out with other girls, and boys thought girls were icky. In first grade, I demanded a boys’ haircut, to be called “George” and that my mother refer to me as her son. I was labeled a “freak,” and constantly bullied, both verbally and physically. The teachers didn’t do much, and when they did, in only made it worse.

My high school life was very tame. No one bullied me, and everyone I came out to was very accepting. In fact, a lot of girls were grateful to have a “girl” who had it in with guys! But that was just it: they only liked me when I was wearing my “girl” face. When I dressed like the boy I felt like, people looked at me funny and things between me and my friends suddenly became very awkward.

I was beyond upset that no one wanted to know my true face. I began repressing my wishes to appear male, and I started hating myself, going so far as to indulge in self-harm. The people who I tried to get closest to would tell me how important I was to them, and that they’d accept me no matter who I was… until I confided in them who I really was. They would either distance themselves from me, insist that I keep hiding it, never to mention it again. The worst thing is, I let them encourage me to hide.

Eventually, I found just a few people that did not care one way or the other. I felt the same. Why should it be such a big deal that I’m not part of their traditional categorizations? After that, I refused to hide. Things were awkward, but people got over it. Those that couldn’t get past it remained “friends,” but we stopped hanging out as much.

Now that I’m out of high school, people are excited to embrace the real me. I have LGBT friends, and straight friends that are allies. I want everyone else who’s struggled with LGBT bullying to know: I don’t have to hide, I don’t want to, and neither should you. After some struggles, I like who I am, and I’m out and proud!

Sharing your story can change someone's life. Interested in learning more?