Participants: Catherine & Nazbah; Bullying; Queer; Support; Advocacy
Nazbah: I think um, I mean growing up as someone who actually was a bully in school, like I was bully in grade school. Um, you know I bullied actually another girl, um, and I called her a lesbian, because I was queer, right, and I didn’t know to put the two together. But what did make sense later on was, you know, my dad was very violent in the household so of course I came out bullying other people, that was just what I learned to do. Um, but what the principal actually ended up doing which was not a way to also handle it, was they brought me in, they brought the mom and the kid in, and they basically were like “you either apologize here and quit this, or we bring your dad in”. And they didn’t know my dad. Like, they didn’t know how violent he is –he was. So in my mind I’m like “Oh, you’re threatening me with a bigger bully, so I’m definitely stopping. Right? So then I totally went into like a shell and I just quit contact with a lot of kids ‘cause I’m like, “Oh, whatever contact I make, um, it’s gonna be hurtful”, ‘cause that’s what I know how to do, right, that’s what I was conditioned to do. Um, and what I wish had happened was that they would have brought us in, you know, in different ways. Definitely given me the message that, you know, you’re a good person but this behaviour needs to stop. And all of us together are gonna support you and then anyone else who’s doing this. Right? And then also what’s happening at home, right? Um, if there’s stuff happening at home how can we support your parents, right? Because one of my older siblings ended going into foster care because my dad hit her. So there was intervention on that level. And you know, I’m actually against state intervention because they bust up a lot of homes anyway, most particularly people of colour homes. If you have enough money you can buy your way out of jail, you can buy your way out of public service, right? So with a therapist, or a public therapist or even the system. You can get yourself a private therapist and keep it hidden if you have enough money. But if you don’t, then you’re in the system and your shit out of luck. That sort of your life from then on.
Tara: It’s public.
Nazbah: Yah, it’s public. Yah, and you’re shamed for it. All sorts of different things, right, and of course there’s reification of “native parents can’t take care of their kids, so white families should take them”. And so there’s a whole thing with ICWA down south Indian Child Welfare Act now. Um, so anyway, I wish they would’ve sort of, you know, done a lot of checks and balances and basically given me the message that I am okay, behaviour’s not okay, let’s get you to learn something else and then also, let’s let the adults take care of it, this is not your job, right? And then what are we doing as adults to allow this to happen, right? Because I was getting lots of permission, indirectly, from everywhere that it was okay to do this, right? And that was the culture. And how old am I, like 37, you know, 20-plus years ago. Um, you know, we were –I was playing games called Smear the Queer, King of the Hill, right? So that was just the culture, to be dominant –to dominate other kids, right?