Bensonhurst native writes away bullying
He was nearly bullied to death.
That’s the reason Bensonhurst native Christopher Rosalie pennedan autobiographical memoir of the same name this year, explainingwhat he went through growing up as a gay child in the 1970s.
I was beaten up for being gay. I was called a faggot’ and aqueer,’ which was a demeaning word back then, Rosalie explained,noting that he attended P.S. 212, Cavallaro Junior High andLafayette High School. When you hear those things enough, youbegin to believe them.
Rosalie said the bullying he endured was worst during juniorhigh, as it is for most kids. There is something about that age, Iguess it’s puberty, that makes kids really mean, he said. Boysexperience physical bullying, like getting beat up, while girlsexperience emotional bullying, like isolation and exclusion.
Rosalie was even bullied by his manager at one job. He sufferedso much that he contemplated suicide, but found solace in a closefamily friend, whom the book is dedicated to.
My mom was not able to handle that I was gay, so I confided ina woman named Joan, he recalled. I told her that I had desiresfor men, and she said that there was nothing wrong with that. Shetold me that right now I was confused, but that everything would beokay.
Everything did turn out okay. Rosalie married his partner of 20years on September 8 and urges teens who may be going through whathe went through to hang in there.
I wish I would have had a chance to talk to Tyler Clementi, hesaid of the Rutgers College student who committed suicide last yearafter his roommates made a secret sex tape of him. My advice isnot even to contemplate suicide. Find someone you trust who cansupport you. It’s not going to be easy overnight, but it will getbetter.
Rosalie said that kids being bullied should speak up. I nevertold anyone I was bullied, he said. He noted that while it maysound extreme, bullying and rape victims have a lot in common.
Too many kids are afraid to talk about it because they feelashamed, he explained. Something is being done to you againstyour will. You are being made to feel demoralized anddemeaned.
He said he feels for kids even more today because they are alsogetting bullied over the Internet. Nowadays, you get beat up inyour very own home, he said. It has gotten worse and that’s whykids are committing suicide. I can’t ignore it anymore and feel asa person I had to give a voice to those coming out.
Rosalie also gave some advice to parents. I think you wouldrather have a kid who is gay and alive rather than dead, he said.I want parents and kids to know that whoever you are, you wereborn this way. You are unique and beautiful. There is only one ofyou in the world and that makes you special.
The book, Bullied to Death can be purchased atwww.bulliedtodeathbook.com. The website also offers resources forparents and teens on how to deal with bullying.
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