If there is one thing this world needs right now, it is more love, understanding, compassion, and a bit of reaching across the table in effort to squash ill feelings. Nearly everyone is guilty at some point in their lives of hurting fellow human beings. To err is human. No one person is ever right about everything and there is nothing wrong with admitting you were wrong, even if you were the bully of LGBT people in the past. If you know someone who is gay that you bullied, here are the six ways you can take to correct your wrongdoings and end up with both of you feeling better about the situation in the end.
Do some soul searching. Why are you coming clean about your past bullying? Is it guilt? A reflection of yourself in your victim? A new understanding of the consequences of your actions? Know why you are apologizing to truly grasp the magnitude of your bullying. Realizing you were the problem is the first step.
Do your research. LGBT people are 30% more likely to commit suicide and 50% more likely to suffer from depression. You mightn’t really get the picture of the mental PTSD you inflicted upon someone without realizing that queer people are disproportionately more likely to get bullied and suffer the psychological aftermath.
Own up to your past mistakes. Possibly the best way to approach a situation like this one is to face it head on. You fucked up, and now is no better time than to make amends. Start out on the right foot by owning up to your mal behavior and apologizing.
Don’t make any excuses for your actions. Even if all the kids were doing it, that is still no excuse for your negative feedback you vomited onto your victim. There is no justification for taking your shit out on another human being just because they are smaller, weaker, or different than you. There is no such thing as normal, so technically everyone is not normal.
Say you are sorry and mean it. Once you realize how badly you hurt someone and are ready to ask their forgiveness, apologize and mean it with your whole being. Don’t be surprised if the person is unwilling to forgive you.
Try and seek a resolution, but don’t demand it. Ask if there is anything that you could do to better the situation. Sometimes, your former victim just wants an apology or hug. Other times, they wrote your sorry ass off long ago and currently want nothing to do with you. Actions speak louder than words, so read their body language and decide whether or not you want to push something onto them like trying to make amends or progressing forward with an understanding.
This is about them healing, not you. It’s good to own up to your past life as a bully of LGBT people or person, but you should be wanting to do it for the sake of your victim and to right a wrong. Not just to clear your own conscience.