activism, advocacy, out, bullying, friends, high school, homophobia, intervention, rejection, teachers, out
Karleen: At one point, all the girls um… they just turned on her, she had a girl group of friends and they turned on her. And she was very much out about us being lesbians. So that was part of her campaign about just being out and letting people know, and finding it unacceptable for them to say otherwise, and letting them know that. And I think she was fairly strong with that. And what I found was that she was okay until if, if an adult didn't, if an adult let her down.
Karleen: Like if a teacher or a principal, if they didn't back her. If they turned or, then it was devastating, right.
Karleen: And when all the kids, kind of her girl group, as you know, they were going to find something, so it could have been anything, and they chose this. Um, they all turned against her. I have to say, they had a really fantastic principal there. And she just, she is very strategic, and she brought like one of, like the leader that was, had been Katie’s best friend and just said “Hey you gotta knock this off...“
Karleen: “And this is your friend,” and she just, helped her get through that.
Tara: It was direct intervention.
Karleen: Yeah, now when she went to junior high it got much worse.
Tara: It did.
Karleen: Because she had been working all those years on all those people, telling them it wasn't okay to say gay, it wasn't you know, and just being out, and you know, she’s quite feminine but even at one point she’s like, “Okay I’m going to have a tomboy kind of phase and that's gotta to be okay,” you know, she’s just... and uh, anyway but then in junior high it was a whole new collection of kids.
Karleen: So I think that felt overwhelming, because all of that work and having the principal on side, and the teachers kind of take it up, and you know, us coming in and then, and then having this whole new group of teachers, and not being there for very long.
Karleen: And there was just… daily, you know…
Karleen: Bitch, fag, gay stuff in the hallways. And it was really upsetting for her. And we told her about that um, thing that some of the kids do where they just research it and they document it and they put a check mark every time they hear these words. So she went and did that, um when she figured out she couldn't tell them to stop it. And I think it was really hard too, because even people that, you know, were, were close to her, “Oh you just take things too seriously, you’re just too emotional.” I think there was a lot of that, so even people that were potential allies like “Oh you know, why are you taking this, God you know why do you have to be the drag,” kind of thing. And um, um, anyway yeah, she ended up uh… uh…I can’t, I don't think I’m allowed to go into too much detail...
Karleen: But taking it up in a legal… in a legal way.