A reader writes:
I hope it's ok to write to you - I wanted to say something about my brother, Jack. He was the smartest, kindest, most decent person I've ever known, and he was gay. He was subjected to the type of bullying described above through his first two years of high school (1960s). I always tried to help him; I was a freshman and the boys picking on him were usually junior and senior jocks, but that didn't stop me from trying to pound them or kick them in the shins.
Instead of being helped by school authorities, who always took the side of the bullies, he was made an example of. We were all called into the auditorium one day, and when I looked up at the stage, I saw my brother standing there. The principal proceeded to lecture us on the evils of being a homosexual, using Jack as an example. He was 14 years old.
Within a few days he was sent away to Auberle (in Pittsburgh), which was a place for troubled kids. I begged my mother not to allow that to happen - to send him to live with relatives in Michigan instead. She said she was too afraid of the cops and school authorities, which may have been true, but I think secretly she wanted him to be 'cured' too.
I visited him the next day and found him sitting crouched down in a corner of his dormitory crying. He had been beaten up and told me that he had been repeatedly raped the night before by the so-called 'straight kids' in his dormitory. I will never forget how I felt that day. Thinking about the things that were done 'for his own good' still makes me cry.
He died in 1993, and I miss him every day. He was such a good guy and the one person in the world I could absolutely count on no matter what. And he gave me Patrick, my brother-in-law, who I'm great friends with and love very much. They were partners for over 25 years.